In any given semester new material, data, or discoveries are revealed. Sometimes, I am super fortunate in the timing; other times, I have passed by the relevant point in the class where I can rightfully share the material with the students.
Last year while discussing the origins of the Tudor dynasty, the BBC ran an interesting series of reports of the unearthing and identification of the body of the last Plantagenet: Richard III. I could show off the amazing interactive recreation that forensic historians had created. Perfect.
More frequently, things don’t work out so well. I find this particularly in the discussion that I lead every fall about the Neolithic period and the origins of “civilization.” If something comes out over the summer – not unusual since this is an incredibly dynamic field – I can work it in. This past fall, the gods of history were less kind as this article, “Ancient European genomes reveal jumbled ancestry,” Nature, January 9, 2014.
My goal here is to share things as they become part of the public domain. Students can access this new information if they are interested, and I don’t break the focus of the topic we might be engaged in at the time.
It will also serve as a record for your’s truly, whose mind sometimes feels akin to swiss cheese, with lacunae in the damnedest places!