Remember ‘Seahenge’? I would have taken photographs of it from all angles, measured it so that a reproduction could be made and then let the sea take it back. Likewise, the Mary Rose would have stayed in her watery grave and all other wrecks, whether ships or planes and especially if they contained bodies, would rest on the sea bed suffering a sea-change. All mummies, bogmen, peatmen, icemen would stay in the quiet earth, not be exhumed and examined and exhibited to satisfy the morbid curiosity of the masses and the vanity of the professionals who extrapolate such fantastic theories from their discovery.
When you walk in the City of London you have 2,000 years of history under your feet but you don’t have to see it.
W H Auden wrote these wonderful lines:
‘Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.’
The past is ‘altogether elsewhere’ as much as a place may be. It is enough to know that it is there.