Posts Tagged ‘Leicester Greyfriars Dig’

22
May

BREAKING NEWS

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News, Reinterment

The decision of the High Court on the Judicial Review whether the licence to exhume a skeleton in Leicester, which subsequently was found to be that of Richard III, was valid will be announced tomorrow (Friday, 23 May 2014) at 10 am.  10 am in the UK is 7 pm in Australia.

More information here and here.

 

Tags: , , ,

4
Feb

THE BATTLE FOR RICHARD III

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Greyfriars Dig, News

film_reel smOn Monday, 3 February 2014, BBC 1 broadcast a programme in the UK on what has gone wrong since it was revealed a year ago that the remains found in Leicester are indeed those of Richard III.  It investigates how a High Court hearing will affect the king’s final resting place.  Both parties, Leicester University and Plantagenet Alliance, were interviewed.  While we in Australia cannot watch the programme easily on the BBC iPlayer, some excerpts are available here.

Tags: , , ,

31
Dec

Congratulations, Richard Buckley OBE

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Greyfriars Dig, News

Archaeology

BBC News just announced that Richard Buckley, the lead archaeologist of the Greyfriars Project, has been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours for his contribution to archaeology.

Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition!

Tags: , ,

30
Dec

It’s all about archaeology

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Greyfriars Dig, News

ArchaeologyHeritage Daily recently published its ‘Top 10 archaeological discoveries for 2013’.  In first place is the archaeological discovery, which interested all of us the most:  The Grey Friars Dig in Leicester, where archaeologists found the remains of Richard III.  It is a great pity that the euphoria we all felt on 4 February 2013 has soured with all the controversies about his reburial.

Don’t stop reading after first place though, the other discoveries are also fascinating.  At No.9 there is a beautiful 1500 year-old Byzantine mosaic, and for me personally the discovery of a henge in Hertfordshire was also of great interest.

Current Archaeology magazine celebrates every year archaeological projects with awards, which are entirely voted for by the public.  The 2013 award for Research Excavation of the Year went to the Grey Friars Dig, after receiving a record number of votes from the public (including quite a few from the NSW Branch of the Richard III Society).  One of the nominees for the 2014 award of Archaeologist of the Year is Richard Buckley, who led the archaeological team who found Richard’s remains.  The vote is still open and you can make your voice count here.

Tags: , ,

17
Dec

Hear the scientists speak

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Greyfriars Dig, News

ArchaeologyThe University of Leicester Alumni Lecture 2013 – “The Search for Richard III” was given by Mathew Morris and Dr Turi King.  Both are graduates of the University of Leicester and of course leading members of the Greyfriars project, as Fieldwork Director and Project Geneticist respectively.

The lecture is available to listen to over the internet, which is for us at the other end of the world a fantastic opportunity to hear the scientists involved in the project actually speak about the archaeological search for the King and the process of identifying the skeleton.

Some of the content is also contained in the book published by the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, Richard III: The King under the Car Park.  However, hearing Mathew Morris and Turi King actually speak about the dig brings it much more to life.

An opportunity not to be missed!  Click here.

Tags: ,

11
Dec

Current Archaeology Awards

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Greyfriars Dig, News

Further to my review of Richard III:  The King under the Car Park, I just noticed that one of the authors, Richard Buckley, is one of the nominees for Archaeologist of the Year by the Current Archaeology magazine.  These awards are voted for entirely by the public – there are no panels of judges.  The vote is also open to non-UK residents, you can make your vote count here.

Tags: ,

10
Dec

Richard III – The King under the Car Park

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Bookworm

Richard III -  The King under the Car Park

Book Review:  Richard III – The King under the Car Park

Mathew Morris & Richard Buckley, Richard III – The King under the Car Park. University of Leicester Archaeological Services, 2013.  ISBN 978-0-9574792-2-7

Richard III –  The King under the Car Park tells the story of the Greyfriars Dig from the point of view of the scientists involved in the dig:  Mathew Morris supervised the field work and Richard Buckley was the lead archaeologist.  It is a slim book, only 64 pages, but it is amazing how much well-founded information it contains.  The many well-chosen illustrations, both historical ones as well as modern photographs, are a treat.

Before describing the dig and its outcome, the book covers the historical background that led to Richard III being buried in the church of the Greyfriars (ie. Franciscans) in the first place.  They acknowledge that “Shakespeare weaves a compelling portrait of the king, yet in real life he was a loyal brother and a fearless leader who inspired great loyalty amongst his followers, and a lawmaker whose legal reforms still affect us today.” [p.8]  They follow Richard to the Battle of Bosworth, also summarising the research that established the actual site of the action.

The section explaining Leicester’s history was particularly interesting and helps to visualise the historic sites in the modern city.  Part of their research was overlaying and comparing historical maps with modern maps of Leicester.

They explain their objectives in undertaking this dig.  They wanted to find the remains of the Franciscan Friary, identify clues and orientation of the buildings, locate the church within the friary, if they managed to locate the church, they wanted to find the choir, and the fifth objective, which seemed highly unlikely to achieve, was locating Richard’s remains.  It is well known by now that they managed to realise all five objectives.  The dig itself is chronologically explained and illustrated with diagrams.

The last pages cover the post-dig research which established that the remains which were found are indeed those of Richard III.  The issue of the DNA match, which can be rather confusing to the lay person, is well explained.

The book acknowledges the roles played by Philippa Langley, John Ashdown-Hill and the Richard III Society in general.

Richard III –  The King under the Car Park is highly recommended for anyone interested in the finding of Richard’s remains.

Note: I would like to thank my friend in Leicester, who attended the launch of this book and bought an extra copy and posted it to me.   This is particularly appreciated, as this book does not seem to be available yet to Australians through the usual channels.However, you can order it directly from the University of Leicester shop at http://shop.le.ac.uk/

Tags: , , ,

28
Oct

The King’s Grave

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Bookworm

The King's Grave

The King’s Grave

Book Review:  The King’s Grave

Philippa Langley, Michael Jones, The King’s Grave.  St. Martin’s Press, 2013

All of us in the Richard III Society and many others followed the discovery of what was later confirmed to be Richard III’s remains under the car park in Leicester with fascination and awe.  In several homes the champagne corks popped, when it was announced on 4 February 2013 that these remains were indeed those of Richard III.

The King’s Grave is written by Philippa Langley and Michael Jones.  It would be safe to say that without Philippa’s drive and determination the Greyfriars Dig would never have taken place.  Michael Jones is a well-known historian of the period.  Here the authors are telling two different but related tales in alternating chapters in one book about “a search for Richard’s remains – and also, accompanying it, the search for his real historical reputation.” [Preface]

Philippa recounts the story of the lead-up to the dig, the time of the dig itself and its fantastic result. While it gives a good day to day account of the dig, it is also a very personal story and the reader experiences with her all the frustrations, hiccups and anxieties she felt along the way, thus making it personal for the reader as well.  However, it has to be said that this very emotional style, the constant use of the word “I” and the frequent reminders of the strange sensation she first experienced in the car park in May 2004, might come across as if it was all about Philippa, though she does acknowledge John Ashdown-Hill and Annette Carson and others.

Michael on the other hand provides the historical background to Richard’s life – and death – in a sympathetic, but unsentimental way.  His aim is “Not to condemn him, nor to sanitize his actions, but to place him firmly back in the context of his times” [Preface] and he succeeded in doing so.  He emphasizes Richard’s keen sense of justice and religiousness.

The conclusion is that

“Richard III wasn’t a saint. He was a man, who played the hand he was dealt loyally and, as far as he could within the limitations of his time, humanely. Above all, whether on and off the battlefield, he never failed to display courage.” [Chapter 11:  The Man Behind the Myth]

The mystery of what happened to Edward IV’s sons, though not related to the archaeological search for Richard, but very much part of “the search for his real historical reputation”, is dealt with in an Appendix.  Here the two authors agree to disagree.  Philippa explaining convincingly why Richard should be innocent and Michael explaining equally convincingly why he probably had to do it.

A second appendix to The King’s Grave is about the psychological analysis of Richard III by Prof Mark Lansdale and Julian Booth, a more extensive version of this was included in the March 2013 Ricardian Bulletin.

The King’s Grave is illuminated by many examples, some of them well-known to a Ricardian, some maybe less so.  Thomas Barowe, and his generous gift to Cambridge University as a memorial of Richard III is mentioned.  The book also introduces the reader to Jane Sacheverell and the way she changed the law.

I found it interesting to find out that, while Henry had Richard’s body displayed in Leicester, he himself moved on to Coventry to celebrate his victory, before returning to Leicester and then continuing on to London.

The King’s Grave is a book that will resonate with any Ricardian who lived through this exciting period, but will also be of interest to readers, who might not have followed the events with so much enthusiasm while they unfolded.

You can watch a short interview with the author’s of The King’s Grave on YouTube.

This is a review of an advance ebook copy supplied by the publishers through NetGalley.com.  Quotes are therefore referenced by chapters rather than page numbers.

Tags: , , ,

15
Oct

Richard III: The King in the Car Park

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Greyfriars Dig, News

The documentary about finding the remains of Richard III is coming to Australia.  It will be screened this Sunday, 20 October, at 20h30 on SBS One.  If you have not yet watched the documentary, or would like to see it again, here is your chance.

The follow-up, Richard III:  The Unseen Story will be shown the following week, Sunday, 27 October, an hour earlier at 19h30 on SBS One.

Tags: , ,

11
Oct

CONGRATULATIONS TO DR JOHN ASHDOWN-HILL

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Greyfriars Dig, News

The NSW Branch of the Richard III Society wishes to congratulate Dr John Ashdown-Hill, a key member of the Looking for Richard project, to being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society recently.

This announcement takes a well-deserved front page spot of the website of the Richard III Society.

John’s research was instrumental in establishing where Richard was buried and that his remains had not been thrown into the river Soar during the Reformation, the probable lay-out of the Greyfriars in Leicester and of course in establishing Richard’s mtDNA.

John explained his research at the conference on 2 March 2013 in Leicester, an unforgettable experience for many of us.  If you could not be there in person, or would like to listen to John’s presentation again, you can do so here.

Tags: