So exhibiting artifacts found at the surface is okay but anything from the wreck is ghoulish HOW

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Tarn Stephanos

Member
I have noticed that some who oppose the recovery and exhibition of objects from the Titanic wreck feel such is ghoulish and grave robbery-
Yet some of those same critics have no problems with the exhibition of items that were found floating on the surface amidst the bodies, such as wreckwood, or items such as menues or paperwork found in the pockets of corpses.

If anything, the latter is even more ghoulish than the former.....

Personally, i favor the exhibition of anything from the wreck, whether it be from the wreck, or the surface- as long as it gets people talking about Titanic.....

How would the exhibition of a menu, from the pocket of a Titanic victim be acceptable, yet the exhibition of lets say a lantern from the wrecksite be 'ghoulish'?

i never understood the double standard....


regards


Tarn Stephnaos
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>i never understood the double standard.... <<

It's not that difficult to understand when the wrecksite itself is seen as a massive graveyard. The notion that graveyards are sacred is pretty well entrenched in human cultures everywhere.

Mind you, I'm not saying that I agree with it. Only that I understand it.
 
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Tarn Stephanos

Member
The wreckwood (now on exhibition and in private collections) recovered by the Minia was found amidst corpses floating in the water..Some paper items that were recovered (and now on exhibition), such as a menu were found in the pocket of a body- HOW is the exhibition of material found on the surface so close to the actual victims (and sometimes on their person) acceptable to those who decry the exhibition of things from the wreck ghoulish?
I just find the double standard illogical..
Now I personally favor the exhibition of both types of items- i even own a small piece of wood from the grand staircase...

But if one is to regard items recovered from the wreck as having been stolen from a grave, then how could items recovered from the waters above the site,( in April 1912) not be concidered items from a grave?

Its seems to me if one is going to oppose the exhibition of items recovered from the wreck, they must be equally opposed to the exhibition of wreckage picked from the waters in the weeks that followed the sinking- Otherwise it's a total double standard..


regards

Tarn Stephanos
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>I just find the double standard illogical..<<

People at large are not noted for always being logical or even clear thinking. The sentimentality at work may or may not be logical (Your milage as always, will vary) but it's there and won't go away any time soon.
 
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Richard Stover

Member
By that token, you can add the artifacts from land based tombs and such as they are in fact gravesites also. The same people who decry about grave robbing on Titanic usually won't give a second thought about going to a museum and viewing these artifacts.
The main reason people get up in arms on this subject is that it's the Titanic and she is very popular atm. You don't get this much debate (You do get some tho) on slightly less famous but equally tragic wrecks such as the Doria, empress of ireland,ect.
My own personal opinion is that these sites should be treated with respect and reverence but items that are irreplaceable or are of historical value should try to be saved. (Marconi room, Glass divider in First class suite, ect, are a few examples on titanic that could be of interest).
The whole ocean is a gravesite if you think about the countless wrecks there over the millenia.
The sea is an equal-opportunity destroyer if you don't treat it with respect.
 
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Matt Pereira

Guest
I agree. I was on a myspace group dedicated to the Titanic, and I was having to put up with kids that was saying that what they read in the news paper about this couple wanting to get married above the wreck in a submarine was not right that it was wrong and disrespecting the dead. I think what it is, is that the majority of people don`t know have any brains to understand that its not wrong to get married at the wreck. And the retrevial of artifacts, well I made the point that if they want to talk bad about grave sites being sacred and you shouldn`t taken nothing what about the egyptian tombs that was raided and had even the mummies taken from them and are on display now. I even brought up the fact that I know of 3 man made lakes that i go to that was created by flooding a valley and that valley had no fewer than 4 cemeterys, If its so wrong to retreive artifacts from the Titanic why not complain about the other things that we do also that to me would be disrespecting the dead.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>The sea is an equal-opportunity destroyer if you don't treat it with respect.<<

You got that right!

The Atlantic ocean is the grave of literally thousands...perhaps tens of thousands of vessels of all kinds from Viking Longboats to the largest liners. Some were casualties of war, but by and large, the Atlantic has killed more vessels without any help then all the military arms of the world managed to do on their best and bloodiest days!
 
Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

Staff member
Moderator
Member
quote:

I think what it is, is that the majority of people don`t know have any brains to understand that its not wrong to get married at the wreck.

What is your reason for believing that?​
 
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David Driscoll

Member
I've always been a bit on the fence about this. On the one hand, I think that we can and have learned quite a bit about Titanic and its historical context by studying what's left of her. I also think that artifact exhibitions can be very effective in getting people excited about history, and for that reason, I think it's a shame to see artifacts disappear into private collections or to never be recovered at all.

Having said that, I think it's important to show respect for the people who lost their lives and to not treat the wreck site like an amusement park.
 
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Steve Shortman

Member
It's a misnomer to look upon the sea as a graveyard. A grave is a "place of burial". The victims are not "buried" which is why when a ship goes down the first thing the authorities will try to do is recover the bodies.
This is done of course so that families can then bury their loved ones in the traditional manner.

When it's not possible to recover or locate bodies the wreck site becomes a non tangible, spiritual place for the families of those lost.

The reality is that bodies could end up anywhere and in time cease to exist anyway. However as Michael and David state; an understanding and respect should still be shown and that is normally displayed by not "looting" a site.

Thankfully that does not happen with the Titanic and in view of the time passed it's correctly treated as a place of great archeological interest and as such everything taken is recorded etc.

My only caveat would be that any personal effects recovered and positively identified should be returned, where possible, to the descendants.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>It's a misnomer to look upon the sea as a graveyard. A grave is a "place of burial". <<

For a lot of reasons, this is a matter of some substantial disagreement. Not the least of which is that the sea is frequently used as a burial place by deliberate design. Then there's the matter of wrecked military vessels which are legally designated as War Graves.

>>The victims are not "buried" which is why when a ship goes down the first thing the authorities will try to do is recover the bodies.<<

Not exactly. There is the matter of families being able to bury loved ones, but there are also legal matters to be concerned with, not the least of which is that some national laws require that there be a body which is recovered and identified so that the death can be certified and probate of the estate can begin. If I recall correctly...and I might not...this was a problem that Spanish citizens who traveled on the Titanic had to deal with.
 
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Steve Shortman

Member
Hi Michael

Yes the matter of "war graves" did cross my mind when I posted my comments. I believe the designation "war grave" by the military is more to do with preventing divers from snooping about their hardware than consideration for the human aspects.

My view is influenced by the fact that the military want to protect their wreck sites and keep divers away irrespective of whether there is a loss of life or not. For the military sentimentality comes below security in their list of priorities, understandably, so lets not be fooled.

Otherwise if ships are "graves" it could be argued that the Titanic should be designated a "peacetime grave" and given the same respect as the ships lost just 2 years later in the battle of Jutland that are now protected sites. After all why is it morally right to allow plunder of the titanic and not, for example, the HMS Invincible lost with over a thousand hands in 1916?

Of course Michael you are correct that by deliberate design people get what's called "buried at sea" but maybe the correct terminology that should be used by everyone is "committed to the sea".

There are no "graves" at sea no more than there is when a persons ashes are spread all over a football pitch. The pitch does not thereafter become a graveyard. The point I'm trying to make is that a "body" at sea does not remain in situ for too long - hence no grave.

Mount Everest has over 200 bodies spread about its summit. It is not looked upon as a graveyard with people encouraged to keep away. When bodies are stumbled upon enormous respect is given to them, as it should be. The same should apply to the issue of bodies at sea.

Thus, keeping half an eye on the original thread subject of accusations of "grave" robbery & being "ghoulish", it comes down to the same old contest faced in almost every issue that we face: emotions v practicality.

I always try to remain detached and look at issues from the practical viewpoint whilst respecting the emotions involved. Bit like a judge really. So lets carry on exploring whilst listening to and respecting the views of others, notably the two survivors and any first decendants.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>I believe the designation "war grave" by the military is more to do with preventing divers from snooping about their hardware than consideration for the human aspects.<<

Can you tell me what classified equipment remains on either the HMHS Britannic or the HMS Royal Oak? I'm not aware of any and after between 60 to 100 years, you'll find there are few if any military secrets to protect there.

There is the security and even safety aspect that you mentioned, especially if a warship is loaded down with ammunition. However, don't rule out sentimentality as a factor. The military can be and often is coldly calculating and has to be. It's all in the nature of the beast. However, the military arms of any nation are composed of people with all the cultural baggage that comes with the deal. In that sense, it's unwise to rule out the sentimentality factor. I lived in the military culture all my adult life and I understand all too well where the respect for sentimentality and tradition comes from, and it's very deeply rooted.
 
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Steve Shortman

Member
Hi Michael

Looking a bit closer I don't think "war grave" is the legal designation given to wrecks. The legal designation is one of either a controlled site or a protected place (irrespective of loss of life). The Royal Oak for example has controlled site status (according to the list as at June last year - see below)

"To date a total of 17 wrecked vessels, in military service when lost, have been designated under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. The places containing the remains of HMS A7, HMS Affray, HMS Bulwark, HMS Dasher, HMS Exmouth, HMS Formidable, HMS H5, HMS Hampshire, HMS Natal, HMS Royal Oak and HMS Vanguard are designated as controlled sites. The wrecks of HMS Gloucester, HMS Hood, HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Repulse, RFA Sir Galahad and the U-boat U-12 are designated as protected places." (source: hansard)

The wrecks of the fourteen British ships sunk at the Battle of Jutland have also been added. No sign of the Britannic having official protection though.

Survivor associations and other groups lobby the authorities to have their "war graves" designated protected places to prevent desecration of their vessels.

It begs the question why don't all military wrecks that incurred loss of life receive protected place status? If the authorities took the view that all such wrecks were "war graves" then surely they would take the necessary steps to protect them. After all, all lost military aircraft automatically receive protected place status irrespective of loss of life, even when they can't find the thing!!

This is what makes me suspect that maybe it's the machine involved (secrets or no secrets) and not necessarily the loss of life that holds sway.
 
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