My buddy Hans asked,
Do you mean that no excavations are done on churchyards, even though they are from the Middle Ages? Why?
A Medieval Swedish churchyard abandoned more than about a century ago will be excavated with great care if threatened. For instance, this happened recently at the cathedral in Hans’s home town of Linköping.
But at a churchyard that’s been in constant use since the Middle Ages, as is true for most rural churchyards in Sweden, it is uncontroversial to dig new graves and destroy whatever’s there. Why? Well, it’s kind of like the farmer who’s allowed to continue ploughing sites on his land like he’s used to, even though this gradually erases the sites. Also, very few rural congregations could afford any archaeology.
I think this is bad and should stop.
By the way, I should point out that a Christian churchyard is the least safe place in the world to get buried. It’s because of the concept of hallowed ground. Once you’ve filled the hallowed space with burials, you have to start over again and destroy older graves. You can also cart loads of earth onto the churchyard, raise the ground surface and make a skeletal layer cake. But many burials will still be disturbed as the fills are rarely thick enough, and as the grave diggers don’t know where an individual grave is after the headstone’s been removed. As it always is sooner or later. Sorry, kids.