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Old 03-28-2012, 02:30 AM
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Titanic: when does personal become public?

I just got the new National Geographic today and they have a piece on the Titanic. I have just looked at the pictures but will read the article tomorrow if I have time.

They have some pictures of personal belongings that were brought up. There was a bowler hat, a pair of shoes owned by third class passenger William Henry Allen (presumably found in his cabin?) a diamond and platinum ring to name a few. I see this as a grave site.

I seem to recall Ballard made a comment when he first went down after the discovery. He said he saw pairs of shoes on the ocean floor. It stuck him as odd that shoes would fall in pairs like that and then it occurred to him that the reason they were in pairs is that came down attached to people.

I know that we as a species are curious. I know that the Titanic holds our attention. I remember being fascinated by this as a kid and I am still fascinated by it.

We have digs at pyramids and I do not have an issue with it. Same for native American sites and most other "ancient" sites. Is it just me or is this still to soon? Also, as far as the personal artifacts, there is no knowledge to be gain. Pieces of the ship can be justified perhaps. The ship hit an ice berg. Bad construction, cold water, arrogance, not enough life boats... we all know the story.

Bottom line, I don't like the personal artifacts being brought up, sold, looked at ... etc. People died a horrible and needless death. Let them rest in piece.

OK, I'm done.
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:24 AM
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I'm with you, david. The sale of the personal effects just doesn't sit well with me (I know, maritime salvage laws, salvage rights, etc., etc.). If they are able to make a connection to the deceased's family, those items ought to be returned to them.
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:46 AM
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You raise an interesting question.
If the real difference between Titanic effects and Pyramids is simply "time", I'd have to ask, "Why"?
What is the difference between a grave robber and an archeologist? Both do what they do for financial gain--one uses the cloak of "research" as a cover, but the archeologist still makes his living by robbing graves. What makes one acceptable, and the other detested?
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:48 AM
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I do not know much about archeology but I suspect most would take issue with your description of them as grave robbers.

The research done on the Egyptians has revealed a great deal about their society. The remains and artifacts are on display it seems more as a learning experience then a voyeuristic one. The Pharaohs are as much a part of the history as the pyramids them selves. The ancient Mayans are as much a part of their history as their pyramids are.

As I think about this perhaps it is not so much a matter of time but what is being done with the artifacts. As far as I am aware no one is holding auctions to sell artifacts from ancient Egyptian or Mayan culture. The remains from the Hunley were given a military burial. The artifacts were put on display so that people can learn more about the men who died.

With the Titanic, people are buying these artifacts. The Titanic is a grave site. We do not accept this type of behavior from the USS Arizona. As far as I am aware there have not been any expeditions to the Bismark to loot her. Why do we accept this from the Titanic?

As far as I am concerned, the only things that should have been removed were pats of the hull or what ever else may have shed some light on her sinking. Once the samples and research was done, the pieces should have been returned to the site and left there.

I would love to see an international law protect these sites.
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  #5  
Old 03-28-2012, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmash View Post
.... Let them rest in piece.

OK, I'm done.
They have an ongoing exhibit in Las Vegas. So much for resting in piece(s).

http://www.luxor.com/entertainment/titanic.aspx ... right next to the "Fantasy Girls"
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:35 PM
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Humans have an attraction to possess "old stuff." The older and rarer, the better, since that ascribes not only value, but status.
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:48 PM
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I took the tour through the Titanic artifact exhibit. In actuality there isn't really much. I guess what is there is considered "a lot". Many super enlarged photographs of various passengers, their cabin class status, a reproduced main staircase, cabin replicas, sound effects etc. Much like Universal Studios. Still entertaining at best.

Personal items are just a few to see. I think the main attraction is a piece of the outer ship wall, rather relative in size, that was pulled from the depth under enormous efforts, which is showing in an a video loop.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by MS Fowler View Post
You raise an interesting question.
If the real difference between Titanic effects and Pyramids is simply "time", I'd have to ask, "Why"?
What is the difference between a grave robber and an archeologist? Both do what they do for financial gain--one uses the cloak of "research" as a cover, but the archeologist still makes his living by robbing graves. What makes one acceptable, and the other detested?
Yeah, those archaeologists are really rolling in the dough.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:05 PM
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David,

I don't dislike archeologists. I was just asking what is the difference between these two events? We can use "learned a lot" to justify a great many things. perhaps the Germans even used it to justify some of their human experimentation. Simply saying we did something to learn something doesn't seem to me a very good reason, or distinction.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:06 PM
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Yeah, those archaeologists are really rolling in the dough.
Not the point. Would you care to tell me what is essentially different between them and the Titanic people?


In matters of principle, is the amount of money a significant factor?
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by MS Fowler View Post
Not the point. Would you care to tell me what is essentially different between them and the Titanic people?


In matters of principle, is the amount of money a significant factor?
I'm with you on this. When I lived in Palau there were significant sites which the Paluan people knew about and left alone- but when a white outsider "scientist" came they claimed they "discovered" the site and now they could take items for "study". But this is how they make their living- off the site. Looters make their living off the site. Intentions be damned it's still the site. I don't buy "scientists" have a right to disturb and others do not. It's either open for everyone or no one.
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS Fowler View Post
You raise an interesting question.
If the real difference between Titanic effects and Pyramids is simply "time", I'd have to ask, "Why"?
What is the difference between a grave robber and an archeologist? Both do what they do for financial gain--one uses the cloak of "research" as a cover, but the archeologist still makes his living by robbing graves. What makes one acceptable, and the other detested?
Well, a proper archeologist would stop immediately if human remains were found, and then follow whatever protocols are in place.

A "grave robber" doesn't care, destroys the site, and sells or collects the stuff.

What about Civil War battlefields? They're being dug up for artifacts, or being carved up and developed for housing developments. In the case of the the developers, they sure don't want an "archeologist" to discover something since that will hold up progress while it's reported; but they often let their workers take whatever they find. Unfortunately, this trend has even spawned a reality show: American Diggers Archaeologists Rise Up Against “Heavy Metal” American Anthropological Association

Marine archeologists recovered the Hunley and the Monitor. The remains on board were identified as much as possible and buried in national cemeteries. Should they have been left on the ocean floor?

There is a diffference between a looter and an archeologist.
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmash View Post
I just got the new National Geographic today and they have a piece on the Titanic. I have just looked at the pictures but will read the article tomorrow if I have time.

They have some pictures of personal belongings that were brought up. There was a bowler hat, a pair of shoes owned by third class passenger William Henry Allen (presumably found in his cabin?) a diamond and platinum ring to name a few. I see this as a grave site.

I seem to recall Ballard made a comment when he first went down after the discovery. He said he saw pairs of shoes on the ocean floor. It stuck him as odd that shoes would fall in pairs like that and then it occurred to him that the reason they were in pairs is that came down attached to people.

I know that we as a species are curious. I know that the Titanic holds our attention. I remember being fascinated by this as a kid and I am still fascinated by it.

We have digs at pyramids and I do not have an issue with it. Same for native American sites and most other "ancient" sites. Is it just me or is this still to soon? Also, as far as the personal artifacts, there is no knowledge to be gain. Pieces of the ship can be justified perhaps. The ship hit an ice berg. Bad construction, cold water, arrogance, not enough life boats... we all know the story.

Bottom line, I don't like the personal artifacts being brought up, sold, looked at ... etc. People died a horrible and needless death. Let them rest in piece.

OK, I'm done.
But the native Americans DO have an issue with it. That's why there's a federal law: NAGPRA. The Egyptians also have issues with it, they want their stuff back. The Peruvians sued Yale over artifacts.

Regarding how much is learned or not learned, that's debatable. Is excavating a newly discovered slave cemetery from the 1800's relevant if it provides insight into undocumented aspects of their history? You might think it's disrepectful; some of their descendants might feel the same; others might appreciate recapturing otherwise lost aspects of their culture. It's a tough call.

Knowingly violating cultural taboos by excavating graves when the culture forbids it is not something a modern professional archeologist would do. Was it done in the past? Yes. Does looting still occur? Yes.

Write to National G and tell them you think their article is disrepectful to the families of the dead. Then treat other stories where grave sites are explored the same, show respect for the deceased of cultures that you don't identify with.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:10 PM
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Not the point. Would you care to tell me what is essentially different between them and the Titanic people?


In matters of principle, is the amount of money a significant factor?
You dont sound like you know much about archaeological methods, at least modern ones. People don't just bulldoze wherever they feel like anymore (although you are free to do so on your own private property...) There are no Indiana Joneses IRL.

As Yak brought up earlier, does NAGPRA mean anything to you?
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS Fowler View Post
You raise an interesting question.
If the real difference between Titanic effects and Pyramids is simply "time", I'd have to ask, "Why"?
What is the difference between a grave robber and an archeologist? Both do what they do for financial gain--one uses the cloak of "research" as a cover, but the archeologist still makes his living by robbing graves. What makes one acceptable, and the other detested?
How about this question. If an archeologist is doing it for fame instead of fortune, IOW so that his name gets published and repeated for generations, is that counted because he is paid in a different coin?
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:18 PM
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