Until earlier this fall, I was clearly the one in love with words, literature, classrooms, teachers’ lounges, theatre. Math and science not so much. OK, so my grade in Biology as a college freshman was D. Not so interested in photosynthesis. Still not the least bit interested in photosynthesis, but now I am crazily interested in archaeology and genetics. I still am in love with words, literature, theatre, and classrooms.
But my world has gotten a lot wider and more wonderful. And I have been brought to this place by the divinely cramped up and misshapen corpse of that devilish king, Richard III.
In August 2012, the University of Leicester (in central England) began one of the most ambitious archaeological projects ever attempted: a search for the lost grave of Richard III, the last English king to die in battle.
Here at the Folger, we have just had the great honor and huge pleasure of hosting Dr. Turi King and Dr. Mathew Morris, the geneticist and archaeologist who respectively made the DNA match and led the dig.
Their story is thrilling—intense, historical, modern, gut hunches, scientific data. It’s also a story about smart people doing smart, smart work against the odds. Turi says that at the beginning, it was a little like a missing person’s story: King Richard is missing and we’re putting together all that is known now, so we can go off to find him. She also says that, at the outset, they felt their chances of finding him were past slim. (more…)