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Donkin's World: Digging For War Dead

Richard Donkin sees no point in disturbing the graves of soldiers who died in World War One.

Do visit Richard's popular Web site http://www.richarddonkin.com/

And to see details of his best-selling book Blood, Sweat and Tears visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2

Archaeologists have begun to uncover the remains of dead soldiers from mass graves at the Fromelles World War I battle site in France. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7430622.stm

Some of those involved want to identify individual soldiers. They’re talking about restoring the dignity of the dead. But I don’t see much dignity in digging up human remains from almost a century ago. There can be very few, if any, immediate relatives.

I don’t think we’re learning much from this exercise. This strikes me as faux archaeology. If these war dead do not lie in marked graves they are in the company of hundreds of thousands of others - 72,000 on the Somme alone who have no known grave.

Grave or no grave, they are not forgotten. Digging up these remains after so long serves no purpose than satisfying a curiosity for which I can find little justification. By all means raise a memorial; but the dead should be left in peace.

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