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 Alfred the Great, or is it grate?

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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Alfred the Great, or is it grate?   Sat 09 Feb 2013, 11:10

The Richard III hoohaa has kicked off the hunt for mouldy royals it seems, with many wanting to get their grubby hands on the money and fame that kingly remains can bring to a region. And not dissimilar to the saintly relic industries of the past, I might add.

Now we have the hunt for Alfred, but are these people clutching at straws?

"Katie Tucker, an archaeologist from the University of Winchester, who
will be leading the search, admitted their attempt to identify the
bones will be “a long shot”.
But she said: “If the bones are from
around the 10th century then that is proof they are Alfred and his
family, because Hyde Abbey was not built until the 12th Century, and
there is no reason for any other bones from the 10th Century to be
there.”

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/is-alfred-the-great-buried-in-unmarked-grave-1595083

Though, I'd beg to differ, there are a hundred reasons why bones from the 10th century could be there.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Alfred the Great, or is it grate?   Sat 09 Feb 2013, 12:31

I have no problem whatsoever with this new sport - as diversions go it at least has the dual benefit of exciting interest in history and even shedding some new light on the often complex historical processes whereby ancient artefacts arrived in our present era. So what if someone wants to make a few bob from the resultant tourism? At least it's tourism generated from the assumption that history is meaningful and interesting - a sentiment I concur with totally and am even an avid tourist often precisely for those reasons!

The down-side to me relates only to the suspicion of conclusions being jumped to which are unjustifiable under the normal rules of archaeological research. The DNA "evidence" in Richard III's case is riddled with circular reasoning that makes it laughable, for example, but then I have no doubt that if it proves to have been dodgily assembled this will also become public knowledge down the line. In the meantime I'm enjoying the circus as much as anyone.

What is emerging from all this however is a growing realisation on the part of the general public regarding just how devastating an impact Henry VIII's church reform had on English society, and indeed how much of a watershed the dissolution of the monasteries turned out to be, not just at the time but in terms of understanding our past. The disruption in continuity of such an important aspect to civil life, some would say a destruction of that continuity on a scale normally only associated with one culture's invasion and annihilation of another, drove a wedge between that which was and that which he had ordained would now be of such magnitude that it can now be measured in the archaeological record as a tangible thing in its own right. This is something which has been alluded to and hazily understood in the wider public domain, but is now sharpening in focus for even the most casual observer of these media events associated with archaeology.

Let's have more of them, I say. Maybe it's about time we dug up all the St Patricks in Ireland while we're at it!
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MadNan
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PostSubject: Re: Alfred the Great, or is it grate?   Sat 09 Feb 2013, 12:40

Oh I do miss Monty Python they could have made a great sketch from these events. Winchester already has King Cnut, William Rufus and St Swithin among others so a set of nefarious Alfred bones would not bring that many additional tourists I would have thought although all the press conferences and documentaries must be very tempting!
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PostSubject: Re: Alfred the Great, or is it grate?   Sat 09 Feb 2013, 14:13

Recently there was a programme in a series about wood carving which exemplified one aspect of the Reformation - the loss of an artistic tradition.

The video is here - how kosher this link is, I have no idea - but it's a nice film.
(link deleted)
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Alfred the Great, or is it grate?   Sat 09 Feb 2013, 14:56

That site isn't kosher at all. My McAfee Site Advisor software tells me it's riddled with spyware.
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PostSubject: Re: Alfred the Great, or is it grate?   Sat 09 Feb 2013, 14:59

Thanks for that, I won't open it then and please delete the link.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Alfred the Great, or is it grate?   Sat 09 Feb 2013, 22:58

It isn't just kings who go missing. This business over Richard III has reminded our news people that one of our PMs' bodies wasn't where it was supposed to be. Michael Joseph Savage died in 1940, while in office as Prime Minister of NZ. He was the founder of the Labour Party and its first PM and hugely popular, revered even, with working people. Most families had his picture on the wall. I don't think he would have ever been on our wall - my family were farmers and farmers are National supporters to the core.

Micky Savage was assumed to be buried in the sarcophagus underneath his memorial stone. But when it was thought to be deteriorating it was dug up in 2003 and there was no body in it. It took two years to find it, using fancy technology and is buried much deeper underneath the sarcophogus. One of the archaeologists said, ""One of the best things we found about Michael Savage was the prisoners who built the facility in which he was buried - they sketched him on the walls of the tunnels they worked in." His team were the first to see the unexpected artwork since the shaft was dug, the paper then said.

I don't recall this dig, so presume it wasn't given such coverage as Richard, though Michael Savage is still very well known here. (I never know when I say something like that whether it's the same for younger generations.)

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8283594/King-find-recalls-Savage-mystery
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: Alfred the Great, or is it grate?   Tue 12 Feb 2013, 10:52

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Alfred the Great, or is it grate?   Tue 12 Feb 2013, 11:33

I doubt if James ended up in Western Australia myself.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Alfred the Great, or is it grate?   Tue 12 Feb 2013, 16:09

@nordmann wrote:
I doubt if James ended up in Western Australia myself.

If they are looking for (yet another) person of the "royal" persuasion, the more unlikely the search is to actually locate them the better pleased I will be.

I incline to Ambrose Bierce's view, revealed in his definition

"Anoint : To grease a king or other great functionary already sufficiently slippery."
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