One of the great things about history and archaeology is when things that are known in the historic record can be verified by actual physical evidence. But often the evidence simply cannot be found for historic events, even as historians and archaeologists have searched for years.
But sometimes, careful research (with a bit of luck) pays off.
Researchers in Britain have found the long-lost grave of King Richard III, the Plantagenet monarch long slandered by his Tudor successors (and by none other than William Shakespeare as well).
Circumstantial evidence, as well as DNA evidence, seems to strongly indicate that the skeleton found buried under a parking lot in Leicester is indeed that of the king, killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field. This is quite exciting, at least for a historian like me, even if I am more of a 19th century American historian than a medieval historian. Still, it is fascinating to think that a project like this one was even possible. It does make me wonder whether or not other similar mysteries here in the United States might eventually be solved as well.
Graveyard preservation is an important field in the study of the past. Far too many graves are lost due to the deterioration or deliberate destruction of grave markers. I bought a copy of one of the standard texts on the subject years ago, and apparently it is still widely used. I don’t imagine that too many people want to find human skeletons on their property by accident.
Anyway, yet another reason archaeology interests me.