Ep 142: Scanning Shakespeare's Grave with Kevin Colls

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Famously, the grave of William Shakespeare is marked with an ominous entreaty carved on his stone that warns against disturbing his bones, declaring a curse on anyone that disturbs the dust enclosed here. Respecting Shakespeare’s wishes has meant that it was impossible to excavate the grave of the bard and explore questions like how he was buried, or even to confirm longstanding rumors about Shakespeare’s grave, including the idea that his skull was stolen by grave robbers in the 18th century. Impossible that is, until modern technology came up with a way to scan the graves digitally and explore the insides without disturbing any dust. That’s exactly the project a team of archaeologists from Staffordshire University embarked upon in 2016 when they went to Holy Trinity Church in Stratford Upon Avon, England, and applied a combination of radar technology and digital scans to take a look inside the grave of William Shakespeare, which was turned into a major documentary project for Channel 4 called Shakespeare’s Tomb. Our guest this week, Kevin Colls, was the lead archaeologist on that project, and he’s here to share with us what lies beneath the stones of Shakespeare’s final resting place.

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