February
08th
  7:20:24 PM

The king in the carpark

Hi there,

It’s almost certainly him. Archaeologists leading the hunt for the long lost remains of the English king, Richard III, confirmed early this week that the bones found in a shallow grave in a ruined church under a Leicester carpark are his, as far as science and genealogy and history can ascertain.

For me, the location has a special resonance as, around the time that the excited academics were making their announcement, I and three friends were wandering from floor to floor in a parking building adjoining a cinema and shopping complex in suburban Auckland looking for the car we had arrived in three and a half hours earlier to see Les Miserables. (The film was great, by the way.) Exiting to the mall and trying to retrace our steps only made us more thoroughly disoriented.

There are few things more dismal and offensive to reason than being lost in a nearly empty carpark, but I have found it remarkably easy to do and I suppose others have as well. I daresay that in another 500 years it will be common for archaeologists to find in the ruins of these devilishly confusing buildings the skeletons of exhausted customers who gave up their search in despair.

But back to Richard III. I suppose there are some people who couldn’t care less about whether Richard III Plantagenet gets properly buried in a cathedral, or whether he really was the villainous usurper who contrived the deaths of the Two Little Princes who stood in his way to the throne, as he is generally believed to be, but Angela Shanahan is not one of them. A history enthusiast, she is fascinated by the resolution of this “cold case” and has some interesting reflections in her article on the way contemporary science aids historians in the search for truth, and both of them in helping us understand our identity.

Still in England, Peter Smith writes about this week’s vote (not final) in the House of Commons on a same-sex marriage bill and the rift it has caused among Conservative MPs. (Honestly, the kings of old might have done some Very Bad Things but they have nothing on today’s politicians.) Moving across the Atlantic, Dale O’Leary backgrounds developments in the related field of gender theory. In other new articles Brendan Malone reviews the controversial film Zero Dark Thirty -- about the Osama bin Laden assassination last year, and Nathaniel Peters reviews a book about the just war principle.

We have new posts on our Africa blog Harambee (please read and subscribe) Conjugality, Family Edge, Reading Matters and Demography.

Happy reading!  


Carolyn Moynihan,
Deputy Editor,
MercatorNet


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