Commercial aspects of dig disturb
I have been interested in Bosworth, Richard, Henry, et al for over 30 years, so the recent discovery of the real battle site and now the search for Richard's grave has been really exciting.
I am, however, surely not alone in being disturbed by the obvious commercial and other self interests apparently influencing this endeavour.
In my view the whole thing has been stage-managed to extract the maximum commercial value and kudos possible for all bodies concerned.
I am sure the individual field archaeologists are solely interested in the archeology itself and it is undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime event.
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I do not, however, share that feeling for the corporate people who have clearly managed this worldwide phenomenon.
It is reported there will be a Channel 4 documentary.
The film is being made by an independent production company which has been on site throughout the dig to capture every moment of drama.
If, as seems likely, the remains turn out to be Richard, the sale and syndication rights will almost certainly generate millions around the world.
Who will profit? I do not know, but I can guess, which may explain things I have witnessed during a number of visits I have made to view proceedings from the public highway.
At the start of the dig, I saw the way an elderly gentleman was dealt with when he wandered in to the small fenced-off New Street car park .
This is owned by the city council and as such is private land, but has remained in use.
The dig is fenced off from the car park so having a quick look from the area where car users have free access is surely no big deal and is certainly safe.
Although the field workers carried on regardless, a rather officious suit came over to him to say: "You're not supposed to be here and certainly not taking pictures." I wonder why?
How many people had to sign non-disclosure agreements and what controls are there on any images of the remains, etc?
There will undoubtedly be gagging orders and non-disclosure stuff about "commercially sensitive information".
These kind of projects are inevitably costly but in this instance will probably be a fraction of syndication revenues.
It has been shrouded in secrecy and controlled in a way that, with the exception of the brief opportunity to look for a couple of hours on September 8, has largely excluded the public.
Even the "open" day was heavily managed and marshalled by uniformed security guards.
I understand scientists do not generally jump to conclusions, so I for one would not have expected them to have shared premature results, but it would have been of real interest to know at least that some remains had been found.
On another day, every journalist under the sun was welcome to the actual dig, but the handful of the public looking from the street were in no uncertain terms kept out.
Why? He's our Richard, he was buried in our city by our people and, being on city council land, was, in a sense, buried in our land.
So why has it been so controlled? Why were office workers overlooking the site asked to screen their windows once remains were exhumed?
Surely not exclusivity rights in some contract which will undoubtedly make the respective parties millions?
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