Turns out that radar scan of Shakespeare’s grave turned up something interesting, after all: There’s maybe no skull down there. Whoops!

That’s according to the Guardian (h/t UpRoxx). This year is the four hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, unleashing a flood of commemorative festivities. The crew working on a Channel 4 documentary got permission to scan the great playwright’s final resting place to see what they could see, and they actually found something. Or rather, a lack of something.

Kevin Colls, the archaeologist who led the team, said the grave was not as they had expected. “We came across this very odd, strange thing at the head end. It was very obvious, within all the data we were getting, that there was something different going on at that particular spot. We have concluded it is signs of disturbance, of material being dug out and put back again.”

They didn’t get iron-clad proof the skull is AWOL, but it will be plenty to inject more life into a wild rumor that’s been floating around for a century and a half:

All of that gives credence, Colls said, to a story published in the Argosy magazine in 1879 that Shakespeare’s skull was stolen from Holy Trinity in 1794.

“Grave-robbing was a big thing in the 17th and 18th century,” said Colls. “People wanted the skull of famous people so they could potentially analyse it and see what made them a genius. It is no surprise to me that Shakespeare’s remains were a target.”

They should probably start by searching every rude, moody Dane in the vicinity.


Image via Getty.