Life, death, and early America

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 thoughts on “Life, death, and early America

  1. 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).


  2. “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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