Despite being one of the greatest dramatists of all time, very little is actually known about William Shakespeare, particularly his early life and education. Born into an age when written records were not properly kept, the Bard of Avon is credited with the authorship of as many as 38 plays and 154 sonnets. As part of a new research, a team of British documentary filmmakers has recently radar scanned the playwright’s grave, in the hope of uncovering more information about his life and family.
Whatever little we know about Shakespeare’s life comes from public documents, including vital records, records of payments, tax and real estate records as well as literary works with references to the poet. Born on April 26, 1564, in the tiny yet picturesque town of Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare went on to marry Anne Hathaway at the age of 18 and, eventually fathered three children.
Upon his death on April 23, 1616, he was buried in the Holy Trinity Church, which has now become a place of pilgrimage, attracting over 200,000 tourists each year from across the world. Guarding the Bard’s resting place is an inscription bearing a curse against anyone who dares to tamper with the grave. His famous epitaph reads as follows:
Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forebeare, To digg the dust enclosed heare; Bleste be the man that spares thes stones, And curst be he that moves my bones.
As Britain is gearing up to celebrate the playwright’s 400th death anniversary this April, a group of filmmakers from Channel 4 has already conducted a primary scan of Shakespeare’s grave using advanced radar surveying technology. The research is part of a bigger project, aimed at shedding more light on the Bard’s childhood and family life. With the help of radar technology, the researchers hope to identify previously unknown graves as well as items buried inside coffins belonging to other members of the poet’s family.
According to the team, the survey will also help confirm or deny the presence of a family vault that has been rumored to lie beneath the grave. It is believed that Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway and daughter Suzanna were buried beside his own grave. The researchers have already obtained permission from the Holy Trinity Church to examine the Bard’s resting place. Speaking about the research, which is somewhat similar to the successful 2013 study of Richard III’s grave, a spokesperson of the church said:
We can confirm a scan of the grave has been completed, any research or investigation within Holy Trinity Church can only take place with the express permission of the church. The results of the scan will be revealed as part of a Channel 4 documentary later in the spring.
On April 23, people from all over Britain will come together to celebrate Shakespeare’s life, through a series of performances, workshops and also a candlelit vigil within the premises of the Holy Trinity Church. Later on, in July this year, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust will re-open New Place, the house in which the Bard breathed his last in 1616.
Via: Russia Today