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Episodio #47: I resti dell'esploratore Matthew Flinders trovati a Londra

Capt Matthew Flinders' breast plate cleaned. Source: 1S18STJEX

I resti del Capitano Matthew Flinders sono stati trovati prima dell'inizio dei lavori di costruzione alla stazione ferroviaria di Euston, a Londra.

Slow Italian, Fast Learning, il meglio dei nostri servizi della settimana, letti più lentamente e più scanditi, con i testi in italiano e in inglese.

Italian

I resti del Capitano Matthew Flinders, l'esploratore inglese che guidò la prima circumnavigazione d'Australia, sono stati trovati prima dell'inizio dei lavori di costruzione alla stazione ferroviaria di Euston, a Londra.

Gli archeologi lo hanno identificato grazie ad una piastra di metallo utilizzata nella sepoltura.

Ora si sta organizzando una cerimonia di sepoltura ufficiale e un nuovo monumento per ricordare la sua vita straordinaria.

Il più grande scavo archeologico in Gran Bretagna ha rivelato i resti di un uomo che ha avuto un ruolo cruciale nella storia moderna d'Australia.

La direttrice degli scavi, Helen Wass, ha dichiarato che stava cercando la piastra di metallo posizionata sulla bara del Capitano Matthew Flinders.

"It's a relatively plain breast plate: I was rather hoping there would be a ship, or an anchor, something that linked to his nautical endeavours, but it's so exciting to see that here and to know this was his grave."

Gli archeologi hanno lavorato in questo sito per mesi, in vista della costruzione di una nuova linea di treni ad alta velocità.

Non è la prima volta che questo cimitero vecchio di centinaia d'anni viene disturbato.

Matthew Flinders venne seppellito qui nel luglio del 1814, ma negli anni '40 la vicina stazione di Euston venne estesa, prendendosi parte del cimitero.

Il resto divenne un parco.

Durante i lavori, la lapide di Flinders venne rimossa e gli storici si convinsero che i suoi resti fossero perduti per sempre.

Una leggenda urbana sosteneva che fosse sepolto sotto il Binario 15, ma gli esperti l'avevano sempre considerata, a ragione, un mito.

Per gli archeologi, si è trattato di una scoperta incredibile - si pensa che ci siano decine di migliaia di persone seppellite nel sito e Helen Wass sostiene che ritrovare i resti del Capitano Flinders così presto è stato un colpo di fortuna considerevole.

"Of course he's at the slightly more affluent end of the burial ground - St James Chapel is just beyond his grave. Generally, the richer you were, the closer you were buried to a church, to god, and we're expecting the poorer end to be towards Euston station. Obviously, Matthew Flinders wasn't rich when he died but he's buried in the slightly better end of the cemetery."

Il Capitano Flinders era il comandante della HMS Investigator, che circumnavigò la costa dell'Australia, confermando che si trattava di un continente.

Gli viene anche spesso riconosciuto di aver dato all'Australia il suo nome.

Insieme al suo gatto Trim, venne celebrato nel 2014 - il bicentenario della sua morte - con una statua alla memoria all'ingresso della stazione di Euston.

L'High Commissioner per l'Australia nel Regno Unito George Brandis ha dichiarato che la decisione se i suoi resti verranno tumulati di nuovo non è ancora stata presa.

"I hope an appropriate form of memorial will be erected over the final resting place of Capt Matthew Flinders, to mark his significance in Australia's story, and also his heroic place in the age of adventure and great age of navigation in the late 18th and early 19th centuries."

Nel frattempo, Helen Wass e gli archeologi continueranno a scavare.

"It's great to have a figure that has such resonance across the whole world, but we're also going to find other stories to tell, whether they're a bronze age burial, Roman settlements - you know, there are so many stories to tell."

English

The remains of Captain Matthew Flinders, the English explorer who led the first circumnavigation of Australia, have been discovered ahead of construction works at London's Euston train station.

Archaeologists identified him by his burial breast plate.

Now plans are now underway for a formal reburial, and a new monument to mark his extraordinary life.

Britain's largest archaeological exploration has uncovered the remains of a man who played a crucial role in Australia's modern history.

The project's Head of Heritage, Helen Wass, says w hat they had been searching for was the breast plate placed on the coffin of Captain Matthew Flinders.

"It's a relatively plain breast plate: I was rather hoping there would be a ship, or an anchor, something that linked to his nautical endeavours, but it's so exciting to see that here and to know this was his grave."

Archaeologists have been working on this site for months ahead of the construction of a new-high speed rail line.

It's not the first time this centuries old burial ground has been disturbed.

Matthew Flinders was interred here in July 1814 but in in the 1840s, nearby Euston station was expanded, taking over part of the cemetery.

The rest became a park.

In the process Flinders' headstone was removed and historians believed his remains were lost forever.

Urban legend suggested he was buried under platform 15 but experts always considered that to be a myth; they were right.

For archaeologists, it was an astonishing find - it's thought there are tens of thousands of people buried at the site and Helen Wass says for Captain Flinders' remains to be discovered so early in the process is a remarkable stroke of luck.

"Of course he's at the slightly more affluent end of the burial ground - St james Chapel is just beyond his grave. Generally, the richer you were, the closer you were buried to a church, to god, and we're expecting the poorer end to be towards Euston station. Obviously, Matthew Flinders wasn't rich when he died but he's buried in the slightly better end of the cemetery."

Captain Flinders was the commander of HMS Investigator, which circumnavigated the Australian coast and confirmed it as a continent.

He's often credited with giving Australia its name.

He and his cat, Trim, were honoured in 2014 - the bicentenary of the explorer's death - with a memorial statue in the Euston Station forecourt.

Australia's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, George Brandis, says a decision on where the remains will be reburied is yet to be made.

"I hope an appropriate form of memorial will be erected over the final resting place of Capt Matthew Flinders, to mark his significance in Australia's story, and also his heroic place in the age of adventure and great age of navigation in the late 18th and early 19th centuries."

Meanwhile Helen Wass and the archaeologists will keep digging.

"It's great to have a figure that has such resonance across the whole world, but we're also going to find other stories to tell, whether they're a bronze age burial, Roman settlements - you know, there are so many stories to tell."

Report by Ben Lewis

Ascolta SBS Italian tutti i giorni, dalle 8am alle 10am. Seguici su FacebookTwitter e Instagram.

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