A bag believed to have belonged to Lawrence of Arabia is to go on display for the first time. The battered zinc-lined leather case is thought to have been lent by the Bank of England in the First World War. It was reportedly filled with gold supplied by the government to reward the desert Arabs that Lawrence of Arabia was recruiting to rise against the Ottoman Empire. The box will go on display when the Bank of England Museum reopens to the public on 31 March.
Was the skeleton in the Leicester car park really Richard III?
Archaeologists “cannot say with any confidence” that bones found in Leicester are those of Richard III, leading experts have claimed. Speaking exclusively to BBC History Magazine, Michael Hicks, head of history at the University of Winchester, and Martin Biddle, archaeologist and director of the Winchester Research Unit, raised concerns about the DNA testing, radiocarbon dating and damage to the skeleton. Biddle also notes that the team of archaeologists from the University of Leicester is yet to make excavation field records publicly available.
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Service marks Great Escape 70th anniversary
Hundreds of people gathered in Zagan, Poland, this week, to remember the allied prisoners of war who died in the Great Escape. Monday marked the 70th anniversary of the getaway. On 24 March 1944, 76 servicemen broke out of the Stalag Luft III camp through a 336ft long tunnel. Only three reached safety. Of the 73 recaptured, 50 were shot. The audacious Second World War getaway inspired a 1963 blockbuster starring Steve McQueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough.
To find out about the First World War getaway that inspired the 1944 escape, click here.
All Cannings ‘Neolithic’ long barrow takes shape
The first “Neolithic” long barrow to be built in the UK for 5,000 years, is attracting interest from all over the world. The burial chamber at All Cannings near Devizes in Wiltshire will contain niches housing urns of cremated ashes. When the barrow is complete, people will be able to pay to have ashes stored within chambers inside the mound. People from as far as California have already purchased niches. The barrow, bring built on farmland, is set to be finished later this year.
Homeless dog cast in Baltimore production of ‘Richard III’
A cuddly pit bull terrier mix named Jazz will take the stage in Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s production of Richard III this week. One-and-a-half year-old Jazz will play the role of young Richard’s pet. Despite Jazz’s penchant for stealing the limelight and reputation as a “perfect gentleman,” the director did not feel he was ready for a speaking part. Jazz is the first of a series of adoptable dogs and cats from the Baltimore Humane Society who will play a role in Baltimore Shakespeare Factory productions this year.