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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Richard III: The King In The Car Park

I have just seen the repeat of the programme first shown on Channel 4 last night which told the story of the quest to find King Richard III in a car park of the Social Services Offices, formerly Grey Friars in Leicester. 
What a programme!
We followed an eye-witness account of the archaeology, of scanning the skeleton, of wounds sustained to the body, of DNA matching and a reconstruction of the face.
This was an archaeology programme at its very best.
Told with such pathos too. 
For a member of the Richard III Society it was an emotional journey.
It was a human story too.
... And it proved that the find on Day 1 of the excavation was, in fact, the body of Richard III (d. 1485).

What struck me was the comment that the medieval accounts were now being aligned to twenty-first science.

I am studying the history of Colchester at present.  There is a similar story of the town's Roman archaeology. In 1920 Mortimer Wheeler excavated some houses in the Castle Park. He found a burnt layer below houses built between 60AD to 100AD.  It accords with Roman historian's Tacitus' account of the Boudican revolt of 61AD in which the Roman colonia was razed to the ground by systematic fire. 

Did you see the Richard III programme?  Was it worth the licence fee?  Comments welcome!

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