Sunday, May 24, 2015

Everybody needs a hobby, right?

Langley gazing at a reconstruction of
Richard III's head and making everyone
else in the room very uncomfortable.
We all have our fandoms, and that's cool. Some people like sports, some people like to dress up as anime characters and go to cons. And then some people, like historian Philippa Langley, are King Richard III super-fans who live out their fannish dreams by putting together archaeological digs to search for his remains. Then, after discovering said remains, such an R-III fan might then organize a state funeral for a guy who may or may not (but almost certainly did) have had his nephews murdered so he could usurp the throne. Should she for this be made the object of ridicule and derision?

Maybe, but then Langley along with a team from the University of Leicester in England did successfully locate, exhume and identify the long-lost bones of Richard III. Show of hands any one who's ever found a medieval English King buried under a parking lot? No? Nobody? That's what I thought.
Pictured: People who are not us discovering a dead
king under a parking lot. Advantage: them.
Delicious? Colorful? I don't know,
the metaphor doesn't really hold up...
Yes. You heard that right: under a parking lot. They tore up the asphalt and corpse one was Richard "My Kingdom for a Horse' III. Corpse one. Can you believe it? It was probably the most stunningly serendipitous archaeological find of 2012 and certainly a once in a lifetime find for Langley, so of course she's going to try again. This time she'll be digging up a different parking lot in hopes of finding the lost burial site of Richard III's ancestor, Henry I because apparently dead kings are to England what funfetti is to cake.

Now before you ask why the English keep paving over the remains of their rulers, I should explain that Henry I's was buried at Reading Abbey which was later destroyed in 1538 when Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church. Turns out the Pope wasn't cool with him divorcing his wife and marrying his younger, frencher mistress. Anyway, thanks to Chubs McFesterleg and his tantrum, no one knows for sure where Henry I's body is now.
Above: Henry VIII, King of England and proof that monarchy is,
objectively speaking, ridiculous. Sorry British people, but it's true.
"Decades of research and hard work?
Nonsense, all you need is a shovel."

-Philippa Langley*
No one that is except Philippa Langley, who's convinced that the remains of the Abbey and Henry I, now rest under a school (or possibly its parking lot) in modern day Reading, and is now backing a plan for a new dig. And I wish her well, I really do, but say they bring in the backhoe, start digging and immediately find Henry I, his jaw bone still clamped around the under-cooked lamprey that killed him (no really, that's how he died), will I be the only one who gets a little suspicious? I mean, career-making discoveries take decades of painstaking research and dedication, don't they? 

I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but I just have this feeling that we're going to read about her someday having been pulled over for a broken tail light with her trunk full of bones and a shovel on her way to plant Æthelred the Unready behind a Tesco. 
Welcome to Tesco. Get 30% your entire purchase
if you discover the remains of a pre-conquest monarch!

(15% for a Duke, some restrictions apply. Offer good through 
May 31st. Does not include sale items. See an associate for details)

*not a real quote. Although I suppose she might have said something like that at some point, who knows? So sure, let's say it's a quote. 

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