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The closest Shakespeare comes to depicting an archaeological excavation is the clearing of a space for Ophelia’s grave. Hamlet looks on (with Horatio), appalled at the matter-of-factness with which the two clownish gravediggers set about their task: skulls ‘knocked about the mazard with a sexton’s spade ... Did these bones cost no more the breeding but to play at loggats

in Finding Shakespeare’s New Place
Spenser, Sidney, and the early modern chivalric code

Mulcaster, Ascham, and others … had propagated a myth of social mobility, of a career open to talents, with ‘learning’ as the ladder by which the heights might be attained. In effect, the norm they established resolved the old debate of whether the active or the contemplative life were preferable by combining the two, though in such a way as to give the active life priority. (68

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
An archaeological biography

This book provides an abundance of fresh insights into Shakespeare's life in relation to his lost family home, New Place. It first covers the first 6,000 years of the site, from its prehistoric beginnings through its development into a plot within the economic context of early medieval Stratford-upon-Avon, and the construction of the first timber-framed building. The book then describes the construction and distinctive features of Hugh Clopton's brick-and-timber house, the first New Place. Stratford-upon-Avon gave Shakespeare a deeply rooted love of family, loyal neighbours and friends, and although he came to enjoy a prominent social standing there, he probably had little or no time at all for its puritanical side. The book provides a cultural, religious and economic context for Shakespeare's upbringing; education, work, marriage, and early investments up to his son, Hamnet's death, and his father, John Shakespeare, being made a gentleman. It discusses the importance of New Place to Shakespeare and his family during the nineteen years he owned it and spent time there. The book also takes us to just beyond the death of Shakespeare's granddaughter, Elizabeth, Lady Bernard, the last direct descendant of Shakespeare to live in the house. It further gives an account of James Halliwell's acquisition of the site, his archaeology and how New Place has become an important focus for the local community, not least during the 'Dig for Shakespeare'.

This volume considers transnational and intercultural aspects of early modern theatre, drama and performance. Its twelve chapters, loosely cosmographically grouped into West, North and South, compose a complex image of early modern theatre connections as a socially, economically, politically and culturally realised tissue of links, networks, influences and paths of exchange. With particular attention to itinerant performers, court festival, and the significant black, Muslim and Jewish impact, they combine disciplines and methods to place Shakespeare and his contemporaries in the wider context of early performance culture in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Czech and Italian speaking Europe. Their shared methodological approach examines transnational connections by linking abstract notions of wider theatre historical significance to concrete historical facts: archaeological findings, archival records, visual artefacts, and textual evidence. Crucial to the volume is this systematic yoking of theories with surviving historical evidence for the performative event – whether as material object, text, performative routine, theatregrams, rituals, festivities, genres, archival evidence or visual documentation. This approach enables it to explore the infinite variety of early modern performance culture by expanding the discourse, questioning the received canon, and rethinking the national restrictions of conventional maps to reveal a theatre that truly is without borders.

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Finding Shakespeare’s New Place

with his family. His work commitments called him to London, but probably never for very long: New Place was too large and socially significant a house, and his entire family was based there. At least, that is the picture that our archaeological investigations have led us to consider. That is why we have subtitled this book ‘An archaeological biography’: our excavations have had a palpable impact on how we

in Finding Shakespeare’s New Place

presents an overview of the site since the removal of the 1702 house, and particularly focuses upon the archaeological projects that have taken place during the last 150 years – namely that of Halliwell-Phillipps and Dig for Shakespeare. These projects, although separated in time, were conceived with the same intention: to investigate the site of New Place in order to reveal evidence of Shakespeare

in Finding Shakespeare’s New Place
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The site of New Place from the prehistoric to the early medieval period

. (forthcoming). Nash’s House, Stratford-upon-Avon: Archaeological Excavations 2015 (Centre of Archaeology, University of Staffordshire). Mullin , D . ( 2011 –12). Prehistoric Pottery from New Place (unpublished). Mulville , J . ( 2008 ). ‘Foodways and Social Ecologies from the Middle Bronze Age

in Finding Shakespeare’s New Place
Hugh Clopton’s ‘grete house’ of c. 1483

detailed ground plans of New Place remain. Information on the appearance, location and significance of the house therefore comes from later accounts, passing references and official documentation (such as concords, rents and leases relating to the site), as well as archaeological evidence. The earliest reference to a building on this plot is Clopton’s own will of 1496: ‘my grete house in

in Finding Shakespeare’s New Place
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New Place, 1677–1759

the archaeological evidence that was left behind. Who was Sir John Clopton? When Sir Edward Walker died in 1677, New Place and his other estates were left to his daughter Barbara. Her marriage to Sir John Clopton, in 1662, helped to revive his family’s fortunes. The knighthood of Sir John Clopton, which occurred in the same year as his marriage, was probably a result of his new

in Finding Shakespeare’s New Place

life. Art, as Shakespeare bodies it forth on stage in this scene, can be life-giving, as well as socially impressive. Representations of classical figures were also popular in long galleries. A picture of Cleopatra hung in the Long Gallery at Ingatestone Hall in Essex (where the King’s Men performed), along with ‘a picture of Diana, two pictures of a turk (one male and one

in Finding Shakespeare’s New Place