Astonishing discovery: Grave robbers stole Shakespeare’s skull

Astonishing discovery: Grave robbers stole Shakespeare’s skull

A bizarre new discovery provides a new lead in the mystery of Shakespeare's skull.

A new lead in the search for Shakespeare’s skull has resulted in the conclusion that grave robbers stole it.

A new investigation has determined that trophy hunters probably swiped the skull 200 years ago, leaving scientists with the question of where to go next, according to a Channel 4 documentary titled, “Shakespeare’s Tomb.”

The documentary goes to his official resting place in Stratford, finding that it has been disturbed where the head should be. Instead, the head appears to belong to that of a woman.

Researchers think that there is obvious signs of disturbance and then a hasty repair to the tomb that is emblematic of trophy-hunting grave robbers in the late 1800s.

Scientists pledged to continue to researching the location of the skull. They had two possible locations before — Holy Trinity Church at Stratford and St. Leonard’s in Beoley. Now that both of those have been ruled out, it’s time to comb through documents to get new leads.

There’s also the chance that it wasn’t grave robbers at all, but a relative who removed it and reburied the skull.

“Of course, it’s possible that his head was looted in 1794, as the Argosy Magazine had claimed somewhat controversially in 1879,” Chris Laoutaris, a Renaissance burial customs expert of the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute, said according to a BBC report. “But then another question occurred to me: what if Shakespeare’s skull was disinterred not long after his burial and reburied with another family member or loved one? In an age in which high mortality rates meant that death was a far more vivid and ever-present reality than today, reacquainting oneself with the relics of the dearly departed in this manner may have seemed less strange, and was not in fact unheard of.”

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