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Saturday, March 26, 2016

William Shakespeare’s skull may be missing from his Stratford-upon-Avon tomb, scientists revealed Wednesday after the first ever archaeological study of his grave.

The grave’s famous inscription, which says, “Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones."

The famed gravedigger scene in Act V of Hamlet features the Danish prince talking about mortality while holding the skull of the late jester Yorick.

400 years after Shakespeare's interment in Stratford-upon-Avon, archaeological researchers scanned his grave with a ground-penetrating radar to confirm a legend that his skull was stolen by grave robbers.

The ground-penetrating radar showed an "odd disturbance" where Shakespeare's skull should be, researchers said.


 Under cover of night, three men crept toward the Holy Trinity Church with dimmed lanterns and an assortment of tools, according to an "anonymous author, who heard it from a guy, who heard it from his uncle Frank, who claimed to be the grave robber himself." 

The Washington Post reports this story, published in 1879 but believed to have occurred in 1794, now draws more credibility from the radar scan. 

  Ironically, the grave robbers was said to have been inspired by a British parliament member and phrenologist who'd promised 300 guineas for a chance to examine Shakespeare's skull, but who then reneged after learning it had been stolen from Shakespeare's grave. 

Shakespeare was buried in 1616 at his hometown church, according to records kept by Holy Trinity Church.

 The Royal Shakespeare Company performs his plays in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and adjacent Swan Theatre on the banks of the River Avon.

"Parting from this skull is such sweet sorrow."

Rumors also claimed that Shakespeare's skull might be hidden in a sealed crypt at another church nearby, but the team investigated and found the skull there was that of a woman in her 70s.

The team also discovered that Shakespeare was buried in a simple shroud, not a coffin, and that he and his wife were buried in shallow graves, not a deeper family vault as had been believed, Newsweek adds.

 Researchers, who ignored a curse in Shakespeare's epitaph in order to do their non-intrusive analysis, present the findings in a documentary airing in Britain tonight (3/26/2016).

 (Click to see Shakespeare's entreaty for refugees, in his own hand.)
Shakespeare's birth place, which visited during the 1980's.

I was surprised to see that such an old 16th-century house was still standing and in good condition.

Near by is the Stratford upon Avon Butterfly Farm.

Since I was visiting the United Kingdom in December I was told that had I been there in the spring I would have seen some beautiful big butterflies of all colors.

I can recall going for lunch, while visiting Stratford upon Avon, in an old 16th century horse stable that had been converted into a restaurant to serve us tourist, of which there were many present when I was there.

I found the horse stable restaurant to be rather novel if I don't say so myself dear chap...

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