Archaeologists to dig up Shakespeare's rubbish

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A team of archaeologists began digging on the site of Shakespeare’s last home yesterday in a search for clues that might reveal more about his life.

They hope to discover remains of clothing, documents and even household waste. The dig is at New Place, where he lived from 1597 until his death in 1616.

Richard Kemp, of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “We are hoping to find organic debris that will teach us what the great man had for dinner. Our dream find would be the first draft of The Tempest, which we know Shakespeare did write here.”

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust says that it will provide information for a large archaeological project in 2010.

The house was razed to the ground by an eccentric later owner, Reverend Francis Gastrell. In 1759 he attacked a tree planted by Shakespeare, provoking other Stratford residents to smash his windows.

A Victorian antiquarian, James Halliwell-Phillipps, excavated parts of the site in 1862 but modern techniques are expected to yield better results.

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