Pressing Richard III archaeology appeal
As some of you may be aware, excavations were planned later this summer in Leicester, at a site thought to be the last resting place of English king Richard III. His body was said to have been buried by the Franciscan monks there (the Greyfriars), but the church was demolished centuries ago and its location built over repeatedly. It is presently a parking lot.
[sorry, picture deleted at Ms. Langley's request. Apparently the location is supposed to be a secret. Apologies to Ms. Langley and anyone else to whom I should apologize.]
The excavations, prepared for with various ultrasound and imaging technologies to locate an exact site, and undertaken under the supervision of scholars at the University of Leicester and elsewhere, were planned to start in August 2012. Unfortunately, one of the sponsors has pulled out at the last minute, leaving a shortfall of £10,000 that will end the excavations for this year. As the area is under commercial development, it’s of some urgency that the excavations, if they are to be conducted, be initiated and completed as soon as possible, before the site gets built over again.
The effort itself is of some cultural interest, as it is the first ever archaeological excavation in search of the remains of an anointed English monarch. (I’m no expert on English history, but I guess we either know for certain where all the other ones are buried, or are completely clueless as to their gravesites?). I can’t resist mentioning that it would be interesting to have a discussion here about the practice of archaeological excavations of gravesites in general. Should a body be found, DNA analysis will be performed to determine as closely as possible its identity, and should it be reasonably identified as Richard III, the remains will be laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral with appropriate obsequies.
Anyway, talk about burying the lede. The main point of this post:
In order to initiate the project this year, the unanticipated shortfall must be made up in pledges by July 20, 2012.
Phillippa Langley, the screenwriter of the Richard III project in which Richard Armitage is interested, has sent out a personal appeal asking for pledges to cover the sudden shortfall. Langley informs us that Armitage is aware of this project but not personally involved in it. I’m not posting the flyer she sent me here, as it includes her personal data, but if you are interested in pledging and would like to see a copy of her personal appeal, leave a note in the comments and I’ll email it to you.
More details about the project and Langley’s appeal, including a form that you can use to make a pledge to help support this project, can be found at the King Richard Armitage website here.
Want to express your support for Richard Armitage’s artistic interest in a Richard III project? Sign the petition.