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King Richard III

The University of Leicester could be part of a "historic moment" as they discover significant findings in the search for King Richard III.

At a press conference today, Richard Taylor from the University said that the search had entered a "new phase" with the discovery of a male skeleton.

The facts given at the conference show:

  • The male skeleton was in good condition
  • However it appeared to have signs of trauma consistent to battle injuries, in particular to the skull
  • The skeleton appears to have signs of scoliosis, which makes his right shoulder higher than his left – consistent to contemporary accounts of his appearance
  • It will now take 12 weeks to carry out extensive DNA tests

"We have all been witness to a powerful and history story unfolding before our eyes.

"This is potentially a historic moment for the University and the City of Leicester."

– Richard Taylor, the University of Leicester

18th Century shipping mapped using 21st Century technology

James Cheshire of Spatial Analysis has visualised British, Dutch and Spanish historical shipping records to produce maps of 18th Century shipping trade routes

Last month we looked at an example of an old mapping style being applied to modern data. This time it’s the other way round. James Cheshire, of Spatial Analysis, has taken historical records of shipping routes between 1750 and 1800 and plotted them using modern mapping tools.

The first map, above, shows journeys made by British ships. Cross-Atlantic shipping lanes were among the busiest, but the number of vessels traveling to what was than called the East Indies – now India and South-East Asia – also stands out when compared to Dutch and Spanish records (see below).

If you look carefully you can also make out Captain Cook‘s voyages, including his two global circumnavigations.

This second map shows the same data for Dutch boats. The routes are closely matched to the British ones, although the number of journeys is noticeably smaller.

You can also see the scattering of journeys made by Dutch ships to Svalbard, off the North coast of the Norwegian mainland.

The third map shows Spanish shipping routes, and immediately stands out from the other two. Spanish captains crossed the Atlantic further south than their British and Dutch counterparts, and a large number of journeys rounded Cape Horn before continuing up the West Coast of South America.

The data used to produce these maps was digitised by the Climatological Databse for the World’s Oceans and is available for public download here.

If these visualisations have piqued your interest, Ben Schmidt, of Sapping Attention has used the same data to create two animations of the journeys over time.

Who made these graphics? James Cheshire and Ben Schmidt respectively
Where can I find them? Spatial Analysis and Sapping Attention

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The Battle of Nibley Green

The Battle of Nibley Green was fought on March 20, 1469 (modern historians would date the battle in 1470 – prior to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in England the start of the new year was 25th March; the battle being fought on the 20th March meant it fell into the previous year), between the troops of Thomas Talbot, 2nd Viscount Lisle and William Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley. It is notable for being the last battle fought in England entirely between the private armies of feudal magnates.

The Battle of the Herrings

The Battle of the Herrings was a military action near the town of Rouvray in France, just north of Orléans, which took place on 12 February 1429 during the siege of Orléans. The immediate cause of the battle was an attempt by French forces, led by Charles of Bourbon, Count of Clermont, to intercept and divert a supply convoy headed for English forces. The English had been laying siege to the town of Orléans since the previous October. The French were assisted by a Scottish force led by the Constable of the Scottish army, Sir John Stewart of Darnley.

Derby Medieval Street Museum uncovers the subtle historical stories hidden in and around this evolving city …

This will also operate as a standalone app if you link to it on an iPhone

Link to Derby Medieval Street Museum

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Leeds lands vital grant to save its golden hoard


The National Heritage Memorial Fund gives £95,000 to keep Anglo Saxon jewellery in the city where it was found.

Good news for Leeds’ campaign to raise money for the outstanding Anglo-Saxon jewellery found by a metal detectorist, as the Northerner reported last week.

The city museum heard today, Tuesday 15 November, that the crucial element of its fund-raising package – target £171, 310 – has been secured.

Hats off to the generous people at the National Heritage Memorial Fund who have agreed to Leeds’ request for £95,000. This is expected to trigger a further generous grant from a national cultural trust which will bring the total within reach.

The museum’s curator of archaeology Kat Baxter, whose excellent talk on the ‘Leeds or West Yorkshire Hoard’, as the treasures are being called, says that the gap is now £15,000 and shrinking. Plenty of local groups and individuals have paid smaller amounts and the seven items – six gold plus a simple but intriguing lead circle – are currently on show at the City Museum to inspire more.

A small additional hand was given by coincidence: interest in this early bling was at its peak when that modern master of all things golden and jingly-jangly, Sir Jimmy Savile, went to his rest amid typically original obsequies last week. I’m sure he’d have slipped them something, if he hadn’t already, and prompted other too.

We’ll let you know as soon as success is assured.

All other details are in the earlier Northerner piece including information on how to donate, but here that is again via this link.

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