The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0649  Tuesday, 20 March 2001

From:           Carol Barton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 16 Mar 2001 10:36:47 -0500
Subject: 12.0631 Sonogram/Ultrasound of Shakespeare's Tomb?
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0631 Sonogram/Ultrasound of Shakespeare's Tomb?

Lisa Giudarinia asks:

>Now, I've a question for the esteemed list at large.  A few years ago I
>watched a program on life of Shakespeare on a PBS station, and in this
>program it was discussed that a sonogram/ultrasound of Shakespeare's
>tomb in Stratford was planned.  I never heard a whisper more on the
>subject, and it's been eating at me ever since.  Does anyone know if
>such a thing ever did occur, and if so, were there any published

To what possible end, Lisa? To determine that there is a body there?  If
for the purpose of determining its identity (as in the authorship
question, which on this list is taboo), like a DNA testing, a
sonogram/ultrasound would prove *nothing* other than that there is a
body in the grave, and perhaps that that body (if it hasn't turned to
dust) had the pelvic structure of a male. Identification by such means
in impossible, unless you have an authentic piece of the original to go
by: you can determine that semen sample B belongs to individual A if you
have the hair of A to go by, but you cannot determine who A is.

We don't have Shakespeare's DNA. Even if we had a micrometer-exact
description of the bone structure of the man called William Shakespeare,
that still wouldn't "prove" (to some people's satisfaction, anyway) that
he was the author of _Hamlet_. That's probably why you've heard no more
about the project.

Best to all,
Carol Barton

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