thinking about archaeology

Our universities do wonderful things

Times Queen's Awards

Last night I watched a parade of robed chancellors, and listened to the achievements of researchers, and marvelled. Many at the event went on today to receive Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher & Further Education at Buckingham Palace. So much original work across such a wide range of topics is being conducted across the UK, with results that affect all of our lives.

Guildhall 1

We were at a banquet at Guildhall in the City of London. There was only one person, apart from the Queen, named in the speeches in more that one context: Richard III. The study of his remains featured in the citations for both the School of Archaeology & Ancient History at Leicester University, and the Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification at Dundee University. It was good to see Caroline Wilkinson, who created the reconstruction of Richard’s face, and Richard III Society Chairman Phil Stone, a guest of Dundee. Richard Buckley, Turi King, Kevin Schürer and Deirdre O’Sullivan represented the Leicester team researching Richard’s remains and Leicester Greyfriars; I was one of their guests. Good wine, good food, excellent company and a marvellous building (15th century in its origins, though much altered and repaired, with remains of the city’s Roman amphitheatre beneath), with operatic interludes and a fizz of intellectual prowess – a memorable occasion!

Guildhall 2

Clockwise from the left: Kevin Schürer (Pro-Vice Chancellor [Research and Enterprise] at Leicester University, responsible for genealogical research in the Richard III project); Graeme Barker (Disney Professor of Archaeology and  Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University, and formerly Professor of Archaeology at Leicester University); Michael Wood (broadcaster and historian, awarded an honorary doctorate by Leicester University after his Story of England, which featured the Leicester community of Kibworth); Sir John Chilcot (a member of the Awards Council, who chaired the inquiry into the Iraq War); Turi King (Lecturer in Genetics & Archaeology at Leicester University, responsible for the analysis of Richard III’s DNA); Michael Jephson (Secretary and Master of the Royal Household at Buckingham Palace); out of frame, The Right Reverend Tim Stevens (Bishop of Leicester); Lord Grocott (Labour MP and PPS to Tony Blair, and chancellor of Leicester University, where he was once a student). Other members and friends of Leicester University are on the table beyond (between Michael Wood and Sir John Chilcot, you can see David Mattingly, Professor of Roman Archaeology and Acting Head of School of Archaeology & Ancient History at Leicester University)

Clockwise from the left: Kevin Schürer (Pro-Vice Chancellor [Research and Enterprise] at Leicester University, responsible for genealogical research in the Richard III project); Graeme Barker (Disney Professor of Archaeology and Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University, and formerly Professor of Archaeology at Leicester University); Michael Wood (broadcaster and historian, awarded an honorary doctorate by Leicester University after his Story of England, which featured the Leicestershire community of Kibworth); Sir John Chilcot (a member of the Awards Council, who chaired the inquiry into the Iraq War); Turi King (Lecturer in Genetics & Archaeology at Leicester University, responsible for the analysis of Richard III’s DNA); Michael Jephson (Secretary and Master of the Royal Household at Buckingham Palace); out of frame, The Right Reverend Tim Stevens (Bishop of Leicester); and Lord Grocott (former Labour MP and PPS to Tony Blair, and chancellor of Leicester University, where he was once a student). Other members and friends of Leicester University are on the table beyond (between Michael Wood and Sir John Chilcot, you can see David Mattingly, Professor of Roman Archaeology and Acting Head of School of Archaeology & Ancient History at Leicester University). Imagine such groups multiplied across 40 tables!

Apparently at the ceremony today the Queen asked if it was really true that Richard III was found under a car park. So now she knows.

Guildhall 4

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