State of New Hampshire bans sales of human remains

In October 2005, an auction house tried to make a sale that most would consider distasteful: the remains of Unionist Civil War soldier.

The skeleton had been excavated from Haxall's Landing in Virginia, US, along with the items he was buried with including bullets and other personal effects that could today be classed as war memorabilia.

But the sale of the body - which was unearthed on the estate of a Civil War memorabilia collector - was halted when it was discovered that it had been dug up illegally.

State of New Hampshire authorities decided to intervene in the sickening scenario, and have introduced new legislation.

It is now illegal to attempt to sell human remains in New Hampshire - with the exception of bodies donated to medical science.

"Human remains" does not only mean the body itself, but also any items that are deliberately buried with the body. This would include the Unionist soldier's jewellery and militaria.

The news will be welcomed by archaeologists and also Native American groups, whose burial sites have long been targeted by looters.

Meanwhile, the unnamed Unionist soldier will not be returned to the burial site where he was dug up.

He is thought to have been a member of a New York regiment who died in battle, and will now be returned to New York for burial.

Elsewhere, bones of a different kind have been selling at auction. Bonham's recently successfully held its first jurassic skeletons auction - including the bones of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.


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