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Monday, September 19, 2011

Our World Tuesday: Remains through the Ages


When my sister and I went to the cemetery where our parents' remains are buried this weekend, I noticed a little area with a low stone wall around it.

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When I went to the entrance to the area I saw a plaque which led me to believe these were probably people who either died in or fought in the American Revolutionary War.
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None of the head stones in that part were readable and were clearly very old. The ones below weren't in the S.A.R. part and as I recall were 1800s or early 1900s.
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Our parents' remains are buried under the tree in the next shot.
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The next day when my sister and I were at the North Carolina Art Museum in the Egyptian section, I couldn't help but think about how odd it is in a way for someone's casket to end up in a museum.
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The shot above is the coffin of Amunred Date - Circa 714-524 B.C.E. Below is the inner coffin, in the front of the shot, of Djed Mut Date Circa 715-525 B.C.E.
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Below is a Roman Osteotheke (Bone Box) from the second half of the second century.
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The next shot shows another view of the Osteotheke. I would be fine having my remains scattered in the wind when the time comes, but it does seem odd that ancient coffins and bone boxes can wind up in a museum. My instinct is that if it means something to someone and to their family for their remains to be buried in a burial site, they probably should stay put and not end up in a museum. Of course contemporary coffins and urns are unlikely to be interesting enough for museums of the future but the ones in the NCMA were once contemporary for their times and intended to stay in a final spot. Just a thought.
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21 comments:

aka Penelope said...

I, too, have remains of loved ones buried under a tree in a graveyard. I love how the tree illustrates the circle of life with its changing seasons. And I agree it is somewhat odd to consider ones remains have been put in a museum to be gawked at by curious onlookers. But somehow I don’t think the people in question would mind that their existence will be remembered in this unique way for centuries to come.

ladyfi said...

What a peaceful place your parents are buried in.

Those ancient coffins are just lovely - such intricate workmanship.

Cezar and Léia said...

Second pic is really impressive and I love the ancient Egyptian and Greek stuff...
God bless you!
Cezar

Rajesh said...

The museum have very cool collections on display.

Sylvia K said...

What a lovely and peaceful place. Those very old coffins are indeed beautiful! Art of its own kind! Such an interesting post for the day, Carver! Hope you have a lovely week!

Sylvia

Ebie said...

Are they permanent fixtures at the Museum or just on loan? I think these ancient art are there to be preserved as part of history.

EG Wow said...

I agree with you that it IS strange to keep human remains in a museum. I guess a lot of First Nations people think so too as many remains have been returned to them.

ρομπερτ said...

Impressed !



daily athens

Starnitesky said...

Your parents are in a lovely place. I hadn't thought about Egyptian remains being in a museum, ubt I agree it is strange.

Life Ramblings said...

such a lovely cemetery and the coffins are impressive.

SandyCarlson said...

It is odd and strange the way mortal remains are sometimes paraded about. Sometimes it seems some caskets are designed with the intention of being seen again. We want to be remembered, to remain.

Gemma Wiseman said...

An interesting walk in worlds beyond! Adore those beautifully carved old coffins and love the serenity of the tree! Fascinating photos!

Kay L. Davies said...

When I saw the photo with the trees, I thought of my friend Penelope who commented here first. It's a wonderful place for a burial.
I agree with her about the ancients, however. Egyptians who received such elaborate burials were kings and queens and other people who thought themselves important. They would probably enjoy educating the world, and being remembered for such a long time. However, I don't think I would want my humble self on display in a museum at any time soon or in the distant future.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Arija said...

Carver, I feel the same way especially since I felt the forces guarding the tomb of Agamemnon in MIkine in Greece. This beautiful beehive tomb was empty but I could not pass the doorway, it was like hitting an invisible brick wall of guardians and a distinct impression that this was a sacred place not to be entered.
Once I am dead, I don't care if you put me out for the crows and jackals to feast on or throw me overboard as fish food as long as I am not buried somewhere where my children feel obliged to have to tend a grave. That which once I was will just be part ot Our World in a slightly different form.
A really nice and thoughtful post.

Indrani said...

Nice captures of your parents' resting place.
Your museum shots are superb.

J Bar said...

Interesting.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Gattina said...

Our cimetaries look completely different. There is always a whole grave with stone and flowers on them. In Germany when I was a child the cimetaries looked like parks and people used them for a walk and there was even a playground for children.

eileeninmd said...

What a lovely and peaceful spot for your parents. The museum looks like an interesting visit. I would agree that the coffins are sacred and should remain at their original burial place. Thanks for sharing, have a great day!

Larry D said...

I agree it is interesting how we view the remains of past cultures. Nice post, super photos.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

lt is the Civil Warm cemeteries that really bring tears to my eyes. Rows and rows of white tombstones -- so sad.

I'm glad your sister was with you when you went to visit your parents' place. That's so hard. And it is weird to think about that museum in that context. Sometimes we forget that they were people too just like us..

Jackie said...

1775 was when my husbands gr x 5 grandfather was born in Virginia, and we haven't a clue who his parents were!

The stone bone chests are beautifully carved, I'm sure they would be horrified to know they have been moved to museums, they would probably feel it was desecration.

Cremation and scattering of ashes to the wind is my personal choice, once I am gone, I am gone from this world!

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