• Ancient Digger teaches Archaeology and History to all Ages!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Are Archaeologists Close to Identifying Richard III?

Archaeologists searching for the lost grave of King Richard III have unearthed a skeleton with a metal arrow in its back which they believe could be the remains of the medieval monarch.

The skeleton was exhumed from a car park behind council offices in Leicester last Tuesday during an archaeological dig by a team from the University of Leicester and is now being subjected to laboratory analysis. It was found in what is believed to be the choir of the Grey Friars church, the site of which was also uncovered during the three-week archaeological dig and which is believed to be the burial site of the monarch according to historical records. Initial examinations have revealed it to be the skeleton of an adult male with the remains said to be in a good condition. It also has a curved spine.

Richard Taylor, from the University of Leicester, told media at a press conference that the skeleton appears to have suffered significant trauma to the skull at or near the time of death.

"This appears consistent with, although not certainly caused by, an injury received in battle. "A bladed implement appears to have cleaved part of the rear of the skull," he said. The skeleton was found with a barbed metal arrowhead between the vertebrae of the upper back. Mr Taylor added that the skeleton has spinal abnormalities, which are consistent with reports of the monarch's appearance.

Mr Taylor said: "We believe the individual would have had severe scoliosis which is a form of spinal curvature. "This would have made his right shoulder appear visibly higher than the left shoulder. "This is consistent with contemporary accounts of Richard's appearance."

He added: "We are not saying today that we have found Richard III. What we are saying is that the search for Richard III has entered a new phase. "Our focus is shifting from the archaeological excavation to laboratory analysis. "This skeleton certainly has characteristics that warrant extensive further detailed examination."

Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester and who led the dig, said: "It was so unexpected. The area of the church we were looking at was beginning to come together in terms of interpreting where the choir was so we knew we were in the east end of the church. "The skeleton was buried in a grave without a coffin. It was probably a shrouded burial, just buried in a shroud, with no grave goods. The head shows sign of trauma consistent with wounds incurred in battle. Between two of the vertebrae was an iron arrowhead, possibly with barbs and also the individual has curvature of the spine and it's a male."

When asked whether he believed it was the remains of the King, Mr Buckley said: "He's a very strong candidate indeed but it's going to take a few weeks for the DNA analysis to come through."

Speaking at the site of the archaeological search, Dr Turi King, from the University of Leicester team, said: "We've taken teeth out under clean conditions from which we'll try and get DNA so the DNA analysis will be the next thing. "The skeleton is in very good condition so I'm very hopeful. We've taken teeth out and a femur so the next thing will to be to try and get DNA out of that."

The DNA from the skeleton will be analysed and compared with those of Michael Ibsen, a descendant of Richard III. Mr Ibsen, 55, lives in London but was born in Canada to Joy Ibsen, a direct descendent of the King's eldest sister Anne of York. DNA has been taken from the furniture maker, whose mother was the 16th generation niece of Richard III, and this will be now be compared to samples taken from the skeleton. The results of the tests could take up to 12 weeks to be completed. Mr Ibsen was not present at the press conference in Leicester today.

Phillipa Langley, from the Richard III Society, has been working with the project and was on site when the remains were found. She said: "I was sitting on a chair watching the entire thing. There was a tumult of emotions. I think shock, excitement, sadness and happiness all mixed into one. "It means a great deal and I think it's going to mean a great deal for research into Richard III and all those who are involved in learning about this much maligned king.

"I hope now that more of the truth will come out and we will get to a more realistic perspective of the real man and not the Tudor myth." The project has been filmed for a Channel 4 documentary which will be aired later this year.

Source: Daily Record

1 Comment:

Michele Cameron Drew said...

Interesting stuff and a great write, Lauren... =D

Post a Comment

We appreciate comments, but we delete SPAM.

Like Ancient Digger? Why Not Follow Us?

Subscribe Via RSS Feed Follow Ancient Digger on Facebook Follow Ancient Digger on Twitter Subscribe to Ancient Digger Via Email

Get widget



Ancient Digger Archaeology Copyright © 2015 LKart Theme is Designed by Lasantha