Monday, February 4, 2013

Richard III: Found at last
This is the amazing site at the University of Leicester, where the work was done to 1) uncover the site of the Grey Friars church, 2) find a burial within the church, 3) identify the skeleton as Richard III, killed in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last English monarch to die in battle, and he lost it, so his body was (apparently) mistreated after death and not buried with any pomp and/or circumstance. The University's site has something for everybody:
Geographers: see the maps of the town in different eras, and see the description of how they looked for the church. ("Archaeology" page)
Shakespeareans: see the "History" page for info on Richard himself, his travels, and sources for his life.
Swordsmen/Weapons buffs: see the "Science" page for pictures of Richard's body, bones, skull, etc., and of the damage to them--some of it fatal, like that giant piece sliced off the back of his head! Also speculation about which weapons caused which injuries. Also evidence for Richard's "hunchback," more like a severe scoliosis curvature.
Historians: see the "History" page and the "Science" page for information on how the project found a modern person (actually, they found 3) who might share Richard's DNA. It is a testament to the incredible completeness of public record-keeping in England that they were able to trace these descendants of the King through 15 generations. And they had to do an all-female line, to follow the mitochondrial DNA. Then they also found a descendant through a male line, for that other kind of DNA which I can't remember what to call.

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