Tuesday, 5 February 2013

An Archaeologist's Dream


It truly is an archaeologist’s dream to find a complete skeleton in the first trench opened that turns out to be a missing King of England. Phillipa Langley, from the Richard III Society, personally raised over £10,000 to finance this dig. Many of the local archaeologists admit now that they thought it was a lost cause but they were wrong. The exact spot that Phillipa Langley had identified as having been where the choir of the Greyfriars Priory once stood, was THE spot.

Reconstructed head using scans of the skull.
We’ve had time to get used to the idea but even so, yesterday, with the confirmation of the DNA results, the whole City was buzzing. Everywhere we went people were saying, “Have you heard the news? It’s really him!” For those of you who want the finer details, they are well documented on the University of Leicester website so I won’t repeat them here.

The people of Leicester have long had a connection with Richard III. King Richard’s Road is a busy main street running along the West of the City. There are Richard III schools, Richard III pubs and Bosworth Field is only a few miles out of town. Now we learn that his body will be re-interred in Leicester Cathedral, beneath an inscribed stone that already bears his name and there will be a Richard III Visitors’ Centre opening very soon. We're really looking forward to welcoming lots of new visitors to the City. 

But there is one thing I must insist upon… when you come to visit, don’t forget to contact me [You can send me a tweet or mention it on this blog] and we’ll meet up for a coffee and cake. Now that IS a result!

40 comments:

  1. I was watching the documentary last night and it struck me that if this was a novel, there's no way the author would get away with the coincidence of pointing out the spot - a spot with the letter R on it - and being 100% accurate. I heard on the lunchtime news that York are staking a claim to him though - I hope he stays in the town where he was found, though.

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    1. I agree with you, Annalisa. It does sound so improbable. On the East Midlands news last night they were discussing th explains for the reinternment so I hope he's staying here!

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  2. What I keep wondering is, what would Richard have thought of the idea that in 500 years' time in some future world (our world) they would dig him up and have the means to discover reconstruct his face and tell what his diet consisted of, let alone the bloody details of his death and aftermath. What will they be doing with our bodies in 500 years' time?!
    And didn't you gasp when that Jane body expert admitted to whacking a hole in his skull by mistake? Woops!!
    I was with Philippa in her wish to give the man some small dignity as they stuffed the box of his bones into a rubbish-filled little white van!
    Oh, and I'm remebering that coffee and cake command, Ros!

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    1. I doubt if our bones will be of any interest to scientists living in 2513 and we'll definitely be having a coffee and cake together very soon!

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  3. I was waiting for you to post about him on your blog. An amazing story and I'm so glad I watched last night's documentary.
    Hope to take you up on that coffee one day!

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    1. I was going to post up late last night, Bob, but I was so overexcited about it all that I had to take a break from it, and yes, do let me know if you're coming to visit.

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  4. Ros, this is the very best news for Leicester. I love history, and there is more of this story to come I am sure...

    Exciting times ahead.

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    1. I'm sure there'll be lots more to report, Maria. :-)

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  5. I listened to the radio broadcast whilst driving to Leamington yesterday morning and I almost cried when it was announced! I felt so proud of all of the people involved in this, really having faith, against the odds. I particularly liked Philippa's determination to honour Richard and it's amazing to think that this find really will lead to history being re-written. I think that calls for coffee, cake and champagne too!

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    1. I thought Phillipa came across as a really lovely lady. She's put a lot of effort into this and put her reputation on the line too.

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  6. Hi Ros .. I too was waiting for your post - it is an amazing story and quite incredible they were able to identify him ... Professor Sue Black's reconstruction of his skull and face is amazing isn't it - I loved the ones she did for the BBC's cold cases.

    I rather hope Leicester gets to keep him - no-one from York has shown much interest in Richard to date until he was found to be the real thing ...

    I love these cold cases and what we can find out now-a-days ... from teeth, bone etc ... and whether the diet is a rich man's or not ...

    I hope you can get to see some of the presentations etc ... and yes I'll be up sometime to meet up with you for cake and coffee ... fascinating ... and it'll be lovely to have you show us around .. cheers Hilary

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    1. As cold cases go, Hilary, this is pretty frozen. It certainly has been an amazing find and yes, do let me know if you come up this way.

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  7. Ros, this is so thrilling and I've been looking forward to reading your post. The excitement is everywhere. I even have friends in the US and Italy who are buzzing about the news. Just wonderful! But I heard about it first here, so you will always be the bearer of the news to me. I'd love to come and visit the city and have coffee and...er...strawberry cheesecake I think...with you!

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    1. Sorry, I managed to publish the same comment twice! Must be my excitement :-)

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    2. You're forgiven! We're all excited. It's amazing how interest has spread across the world.

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  9. We're hoping to come back to the UK this year. That would be lovely if I could meet another bloggie. But Sweetman was recently diagnosed with stage 1, Seninoma, type cancer. Two weeks ago he lost 1 of his man parts. Last week's scan showed cancer in his lymph nodes.

    We also wanted to make it to Israel for my daughter's wedding. **shrugs**

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear that, Shelly. I hope things start to I prove for you.

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  10. There's too much Life going on for me to get to Leicester at the moment; can I eat cake anyway?

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    1. Would it make a difference if I said 'No'? I thought not. ;-)

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  11. I really enjoyed the program last night. Great to know that the poor king can rest in state now. I wrote a blog yesterday and today about it too on my other site:
    http://475035832790540880.weebly.com/blog.html

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    1. Thanks, Francene, I didn't know you had anther blog. I've been and visited :-)

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  12. I am so happy for you and your community. It's extremely interesting and all the excitement, I can feel it way over here. What a great opportunity for you to meet your bloggie friends too. Wish I lived closer.
    Manzanita

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    1. It would be lovely, Manzanita but if you did live closer you wouldn't be you with all your fascinating life experiences to tell. You see, normally nothing exciting ever happens here!

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  13. Was eagerly awaiting your post. It made the Dallas paper, but I felt like I was already "in the know" from your blog. Congrats to your city and the archaeologists. Indeed, if I get to visit the UK, I shall look you up and visit King Richard's site/museum. Very cool, Rosalind.

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    1. I find it all the more exciting hearing that it's in the news in so many countries around the world.

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  14. I saw that in the news! It's amazing what they can do with DNA and advanced science these days. Very, very cool!

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    1. Yes, Jemi it's even amazing that they managed to find living relatives 17 times removed!

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  15. the last few days have been simply wonderful, for the historians among us, for everyone....
    I managed to watch the documentary this morning....adn couldn't believed they used two pieces of my audio...plus pix of me at the press conference. if I'd have know I would have put some make up on...had been out since 4.30am

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    1. I know! I was almost as excited to hear your voice as I was by the news... almost!

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  16. How exciting! And as I've followed this story in the news... I thought about YOU.

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    1. You see how educational this blogging can be!

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  17. So it's all come to an exciting end! What great news and I'd love to join you but the travel arrangements are going to be a bit tricky :)
    Duncan In Kuantan

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    1. It's not easy travelling with kids but I'm sure your parents will be able to get along to the exhibition.

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  18. Considering how close we live, we rarely go into the centre of Leicester. But I'm going to have to make an exception now there's an exhibition (presumably down New Walk?) of the dig.

    We do Belgrave Road sometimes for curry supplies, and we visit the sculpture in the garden show every summer. We must get together sometime this year!

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    1. The exhibition isn't at New Walk museum. They're opening a brand new Visitors' Centre near The Guildhall and we always go to see the Sculptures in the Park so that could give us a date for our coffee and cake. They have a lovely tea room in the University Botanic Garden grounds.

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  19. I'd love to come to Leicester and maybe I will one day (I usually come to the UK to visit my Mum in Norwich). I am so happy about the discovery of Richard III and I hope they'll find out that he wasn't the mean b****** that history (or the Tudors) made him out to be.

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  20. I heard it was Richard III on the NBC Evening News on Monday and I let out a little scream of joy, much to the surprise of my husband, who can't quite understand what all the fuss is about. Thank you so much for letting us know about this so we could wait for the outcome in great suspense. While I won't come for tea, I appreciate the invitation and will go and check out the web site and post it on my blog as well.

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  21. This is an especially exciting story since you've been keeping us up-to-date from the beginning. I remember the very first photos you posted Rosalind. I'm so happy that they found King Richard III, and you'll have to let us know when you start meeting up with visiting bloggers.
    Julie

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  22. Such a great find! Though as the physical details of his life emerges, one cannot help but pity him. Scoliosis must have been excruciating. And who knows how he suffered in death. Yet he'd have to maintain an aura of power - he was God's annointed ruler. Fascinating.

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