Thursday 13 September 2012

Laboratories and Their Historical Reliability

The last week(s) were a wonderful row of discoveries.
For me, though lots of work tried to overthrow me, this time was phenomenally interesting.

Richard III - Cardiff Castle
Source: Flickr (Leo Reynolds)

For me Philippa Langley, the major force behind the whole developments around King Richard III, brought back a strong optimism with her message:

Believe in your dreams!

Now it is up to laboratories to prove, if the found human remains really belong to King Richard III.

Has there always to be a 'but' for CDoart?

Yes, and even a large one,
as the laboratory can only research our expectations.

That means, expectations and research in two directions,
  • first premisse is, that Mr. Michael Ibsen really is a relative in the female line of King Richard III
  • and second, that the human remains, as connected to Mr. Ibsen with the mtDNA, belong to King Richard III.

As it is, even if the laboratorial research would not prove the connection, I would not entirely see the possibility gone, that the found human remains still belong to King Richard III.
As a matter of fact, the female line in general is a very badly documented one, the more the research of Dr. Ashdown-Hill (interview on KRA here) is immensely impressive to me.
Females did not inherit the main estates or were seen as main heirs and so documentation except for marriages, often is quite scarce. Also, un-recorded adoptions of relatives' siblings were not uncommon, especially in the non-inheriting female line.
To gap 17 generations, a reliable female line can have various sources of disruption.

So in my view, it would be absolutely miraculous, if the laboratorial research would confirm the archaeological and historical indications.

Though the research of the mitochondrial DNA in general is technically a reliable one, there are enough factors which might cause errors, that I would not put my entire trust in it, should it result in no match. I see it more as one piece in a puzzle, not the whole solution of this already far grown picture.

Special Reading Tip:

Fitzg - Canada and King Richard III - Fitzg wonderfully describes her reactions and musings to yesterday's discoveries on the KingRichardArmitage website!

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