A team of scientists has submitted a formal application to the Church of England for exhumation of William Shakespeare’s remains so that they can find out about his life and death, and if he smoked weed.
The team led by Francis Thackeray, an anthropologist and director of the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa hopes to dig up the bard’s grave in Stratford-upon-Avon.
“We have incredible techniques. We don’t intend to move the remains at all,” Fox News quoted Thackeray as saying about the “non-destructive analysis” the team has planned.
The team plans to perform the forensic analysis using state-of-the-art technology to scan the bones and create a groundbreaking reconstruction.
After confirming the playwright’s identity, Thackeray hopes to solve the longstanding mystery of Shakespeare’s final days and the life he had led.
The team also looks to address a controversial suggestion Thackeray made a decade ago, when he examined a collection of two dozen pipes found in the playwright’s garden and determined that Shakespeare was an avid marijuana smoker.
“If we find grooves between the canine and the incisor, that will tell us if he was chewing on a pipe as well as smoking,” Thackeray said while citing similar evidence found in Virginia.
Thackeray claimed the devices were used to smoke cannabis, a plant actively cultivated in Britain at the time. The allegation has provoked disbelief and anger among some fans of the bard.
“I would be happy if they did open it up because it could put an end to a lot of fruitless speculation,” Prof. Stanley Wells, honorary president of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, told the Daily Mail.
The exhumation of Shakespeare’s remains has never been attempted before, and it has partly been put down to the curse the bard had engraved on his tomb out of fear of his body being dug up.
“Good frend for Jesus sake forebeare,/ To digg the dust encloased heare;/ Bleste be the man that spares thes stones,/ And curst be he that moves my bones,” the curse read.
Now all that may change should the Church of England, which has so far denied knowledge of the project, give its consent for the bard’s remains to be dug up.
- Article from Times of India.