Remembering Mick Aston

It was with a very heavy heart that I heard the news of Mick Aston’s death the other day. As someone who grew up watching Time Team (don’t judge me, I’m not ashamed), I will freely admit that it was the work of Mick and his team that made me want to get into archaeology in the first place.

I was lucky enough to meet Professor Mick Aston whilst I was studying archaeology at University. It was during a two week excavation at a Roman villa deep in the Somerset countryside that Mick Aston came up to the site for the day. I had a lovely chat with him, he signed my trowel and allowed me to have a photograph with him. Just FYI, I’d spent the better part of 2 weeks knee deep in mud, living in a tent and getting drunk on a nightly basis…

Professor Aston really helped bring archaeology to the masses, and many households would sit down on a Sunday afternoon to watch the team conduct an archaeological excavation within three days. Whilst some of the methods have been questioned by archaeologists, you can’t fault them for making archaeology more popular with the public. Mick Aston was one of a kind, a very friendly man who really knew his stuff and someone who has always had my respect.

Rest in Peace, Mick Aston. You will be sorely missed.

It Really Is Richard III then.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the news…
This morning, the archaeological team at Leicester University announced the results from their testing of human remains found at the Greyfriars archaeological excavation.
They’ve found Richard III.
It’s all here on the BBC news website. Exciting hmm? At the very least from an archaeological perspective. The archaeologists have been able to look at skeletal evidence alongside DNA from one of his living relatives – the detailed analysis allowed the archaeological team at Leicester to conclude that yep, it was indeed Richard III. I have to say, I’d be very interested to see a facial reconstruction!
Anyway, have a bit of fun. Here’s Richard, trying to convince everyone he’s actually a nice guy…
There’s a documentary on at 9pm this evening, on channel 4 which I shall certainly be watching (bit obsessed with osteoarchaeology, so veeery excited to see the skeletal analysis and the facial reconstruction). I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not really all that excited over the whole Richard III thing, however as a (sort of) archaeologist, the implications of this are huge. What I would have given to be part of that excavation isn’t even worth listing, because it would be literally everything I own. Except my violin. Because that’s my baby. I’m going to stop rambling now.
Please do check out the documentary tonight on Channel 4, and read some of the excellent blogs that have been written today on this news, like this one by MadameGuillotine.¬†Oh, and if you’re looking for a good book on Richard, please do check out “The Man Behind the Myth” by Michael Hicks!