Been working on this for a while, inspired by the baby burial from the Neolithic settlement of Catalhoyuk last year. I've always felt neutral about working with human remains, and the picture of the tiny skeleton being uncovered by Barbara Betz in 2013 was the first time it's given me a lump in the back of my throat. The scientist in me is all for studying human remains, but I wonder what these people would have felt about their infant being excavated. We're talking here about a culture that was fascinated with skull removal so who knows! Perhaps these new feelings are a result of being a parent (I almost said recently but it's getting close to 1 year!) - a good example of how our own personal situation influences the way we perceive the past.
Beneath the floors are hidden treasures,
In secret kept, the bones are sealed
Of those now gone who’ll dream forever,
They wait their time to be revealed.
The days they pass without perception
The nights in silent shadow fly,
Lost to time’s endless reflection,
The memory of the past may die
Eternal endless ages musing,
Encased within the silent earth.
But whereupon the time is chosen,
To grant these souls a new rebirth.
With trowel aside the softest brush
Brings slowly forth the ashen limbs
The soil removed with gentlest touch
Reveals the bones with deftest skill
Feelings can be strong as passions,
What did these long gone children dream?
Who felt grief upon their passing?
We craft our tales ‘round death it seems
Do they want to tell their story?
Or rather would they ask us why?
Would they say, memento mori
Remember that you too will die.