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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Richard III The King in the Car Park

I was a dullard at school, you know?
"Needs to pay more attention"
"Has the potential but doesn't apply himself"

I've not changed but sometimes I get an interest in something and I become very enthusiastic about it. I'm an Aquarian don't you know?

I was watching Channel 4's program last night about King Richard III and was totally engrossed. Some of my distant learnings came back to me. I remember hearing the story of the two princes in the Tower of London who seemed to disappear, the disfigured King and then I lost interest...

...but last night's program had me hooked so I thought I'd investigate further.

Insert [brief history of Richard III]
...It seems that in August 2012 a team of Leicester University archaeologists thought (not been able to discover why yet) that they would dig up part of a council car park and do what archaeologists do. They discovered buildings related to the church. They quickly found some bones and dug them up under forensic conditions. (They really must have had a GOOD inckling!)

There was a long way to go before anyone could confirm what would be an historically changing event (well, for us Brits anyhow) They had to perform many tests, any one of them could have easily proven that these bones belonged to someone else. Some of the tests included:

  • DNA Tests
  • Comparing DNA with an existing relative
  • Carbon dating tests
  • Visual facial reconstruction
  • MRI Scan
Well, they completed their tests, built up the face with computer generated software, dated their carbon and compared DNA.

On Monday 4th February 2013 The University of Leicester announced that they had discovered the remains of King Richard III

I say very well done to the team at Leicester University, well done to everyone involved!

I guess that a lot of people will be scribbling away to see if they can get the most recent information included within the school curriculum.

They have found out more about him also.    
  • They found that he had a high protein diet made up of meat and fish. Not your common old pleb who ate gruel.
  • They found that he did have a curvature of the spine and would probably have been around 5' 8" had it not been for this.
  • He is described as having a slender bone structure.
  • They have found many different types of wounds, some they are guessing were the fatal blows, some humiliation wounds like the sword wound in his buttocks
  • They found out that he looked surprisingly like one of the only paintings of him. There was also the feeling that some parts of the painting had been doctored. Withered finger, raised right shoulder, giving him the "hunch", cruel looking mouth etc

  • There was no evidence of a "withered arm"
Some say that he was misunderstood, some say he was a callous murderer. I think he was just very unlucky. He was followed on the throne by the Tudors, Henry the VII followed by #EveryonesFavorite King Henry VIII. The country was certainly changing a lot back in them days.

Leicester is in the East Midlands (my area) of the UK. Whilst I have enjoyed the story and am glad that we have been able to glance back into history using the very latest scientific methods, I wonder what will happen next. There is talk about the remains being sent to York. I think that may steal our thunder a little but can understand if that's what happens.

I do think that the we should use this as an opportunity to advertise the many great things that our area contributes to national and international culture and indeed commerce.

For my part, I own and domain names. I wonder if they'll bring me a King's Ransom?

Monday, 4 February 2013

The brief history of the humble Piggy Bank

Earthenware has been used for centuries to make make jars, which people sometimes stored money in. These were called ‘pig jars’ for obvious reasons. It wasn't until the 18th century that the term ‘pig bank’ was used.

Possibly the first use of a jar for storing money in came from 2nd century Greece, where jars were made with slits in to stop people stealing the money kept inside them. One discovered recently was box-shaped and had a drawing of a temple carved on the side.
What is thought to be the first pig-shaped money box was the one featured in the picture, a 15th century Javan piggy bank, now featured in the National Museum of Indonesia in Jakarta.
Now though, piggy banks come in all shapes and sizes, to ones so realistic as to give the impression of a small pig poking its nose out of a blanket, to one where a cat peeks out of a box and slides the money off a pressure pad.