Grave Robbing: Where do we draw the line?


27 June 2006 (Bangkok Post) – Here’s one for potential robust discussion: where is the line between archaeology and tomb raiding?

We often read of new discoveries of tombs or graves found by archaeologists. I would like to know just who gives these people the right to uncover the final resting place of anyone, be it kings, monarchs or any other individual? Where do we draw the line on illegal grave robbers, or opening thousand year old tombs?

If I, or any one today were to die and be buried with a $300,000 [11.5 million baht] ring on our finger, and someone were to dig up our grave and steal the ring, they would be subject to arrest, and a long prison term. So why then, is it okay to rob the graves or tombs of ancients, in the name of archaeology?

Every living being deserves the right to be buried after death, and expect his eternal resting place to be sacred, and not disturbed.

Soi Keow Noi