5th 2013
Life, death, and early America

Posted under: American history, class, European history, students, the body, unhappy endings

Richard III’s skeleton, showing a massive skull fracture and evidence of corpse desecration.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I find the story about the discovery and identification of Richard III’s remains just about the coolest historical and biomedical discovery since Thomas Jefferson’s DNA was found in Hemings family descendants back in the last century.  It’s a terrific example as to how the historical and archaeological records are still viable and valuable in investigations like this.  I’m sure my students in Life and Death in Early America will want to talk about this when we meet for class this week!

Speaking of death and early America:  The Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture’s newsletter, Uncommon Sense, has published an online memorial to Alfred F. Young that includes links to reflections on his life and work from thirty different historians, including yours truly and several of this blog’s readers and commenters.  (Some people comment under their real names here, others don’t, so I’ll let you all guess who among the Early American luminaries in that list also read and contribute here!)

Gotta go–I’ve got a lecture about disease and death to deliver this morning!


5 Responses to “Life, death, and early America”

  1. arbitrista on 05 Feb 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Having been fascinated with the wars of the roses for years, I’m totally stoked about this discovery.

  2. Sweet Sue on 05 Feb 2013 at 11:38 am #

    I’m obsessed with this story.

  3. koshembos on 05 Feb 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    My work lies in three different disciplines. I saw many examples of interdisciplinary work; some of it brilliant.

    Welcome to the club (and I mean it).

  4. Notorious Ph.D. on 06 Feb 2013 at 10:26 am #

    I’ve been seeing notices of this on the internets. Is this all confirmed and stuff? If so: way cool.

  5. History Maven on 06 Feb 2013 at 7:20 pm #

    “Working from old maps of Leicester, about 100 miles northwest of London, archaeologists from the local university had less than a month to dig in a small municipal parking lot — one of the few spaces not built over in the crowded city center. The team stumbled on the ruins of the medieval priory where records say Richard was buried, then found the bones a few days later last September.”

    This story renewed my love of material culture studies and history. My kingdom for the survival of maps and other evidence to create such finds!

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