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Dental Dating Puts Teeth in Shakespeare's Charges

May 22, 1987|ANN HEROLD

A mystery that has divided historians and spurred a movement to clear the name of King Richard III has a new twist, with a London expert saying William Shakespeare may have been right after all. Dr. Theya Molleson, an archeologist at London's Natural History Museum, says she has concluded from X-rays, contemporary documents and recent dental dating methods that two skeletons found in 1674 in the Tower of London are very likely those of Richard III's nephews. The two sons of King Edward IV--King Edward V and his brother, Richard, Duke of York--disappeared a few months after their father's death in April, 1483. Rumor and Shakespeare's play contended that Richard III murdered them to clear his way to the throne. "I was impressed at the accuracy of Shakespeare's play 'Richard III,' insofar as I could examine contemporary documents," Molleson said. However, she could not solve the mystery of the skeletons once and for all, saying that she could not determine the cause of death or who killed the victims.

--Money's no object to world traveler Catherine Ashton. Indeed, she has almost none, but that hasn't stopped the 57-year-old Briton from traveling around the world for the last two years. With her widow's pension of 25 pounds ($42.50) a week, Ashton, of Telscombe Cliffs, England, has seen India, Pakistan, Turkey, Thailand, China, Japan, the United States and Central and South America. "I never stay in hotels because they are too expensive," Ashton said. "I stay in private houses, hostels and even jails." For her remarkable ingenuity, Ashton was presented with the Traveler of the Year award by the Duchess of Gloucester on behalf of Voluntary Service Overseas, which sends volunteer workers to developing countries, and the National Assn. for Gifted Children.

--For most sailors, shallow water means trouble, but a boat-bound New Orleans family has been hoping for just that. The Hall family has been trying since last week to squeeze its 65-foot-high sailboat under the Eau Gallie Causeway bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway near Melbourne Fla., but the water level has been at least three inches too high. The Coast Guard tried to weigh the boat down so it could slip under, loading it with 1,500 pounds of fuel, 250 pounds of water and $600 worth of canned goods, and also attempted to keel the boat over. But none of their methods worked in what officials said was higher-than-normal water. "We are giving up. We are going to dock the boat for a few days and go to Disney World," said Maureen Hall, who set out with her husband, Bill, and their 16-year-old twins, Aaron and Amy, for the Orlando amusement park.

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