Friday, May 23, 2014

Richard III: The King in the Car Park

Today we present a Channel 4 documentary about a fascinating archaeological find – the skeletal remains of the infamous English king Richard III which are due to be reinterred next spring.

Was a skeleton found under a Leicester car park really Richard III? With exclusive access to the investigating team, this documentary reveals the answer.

Researchers from the University of Leicester confirm that a skeleton found under a car park is that of King Richard III following extensive testing.

A series of papers presented at a news conference earlier detailed the highly-anticipated results of tests carried out on a skeleton thought to belong to Richard III, who died in battle more than 500 years ago.

Richard Buckley, dig project leader, said: "It is the academic conclusion that beyond reasonable doubt, the individual exhumed at Grey Friars in September 2011 is King Richard III - the last Plantagenet king of England."

After suffering at least two fatal head wounds, tests on his skull and body reveal he was brutally hacked after falling and dying during combat in 1485. Richard was cut down at the bloody Battle of Bosworth Field, ending the Wars of the Roses and leaving Henry VII as the new king and first of the Tudor dynasty.

Philippa Langley, from the Richard III Society, said: "The men who knew him said he was 'the most famous prince of best memory'.

"When he fell he was stripped naked and his scoliosis (curved spine) became known and was used to denigrate him.

"Today, we find the idea of using physical disability against a person as abhorrent. Let this now be a break from the Tudor medieval mindset."

DNA recovered from the remains, radio-carbon dating, battlefield wounds found on the skeleton, and the link between what was found during the dig and what was mentioned in documentary sources from the period, combined to allow Leicester University academics to today conclude the identity was "beyond reasonable doubt".

Leicester Cathedral Exterior

It was also confirmed the remains will be interred at a ceremony in Leicester cathedral.

Leicester Cathedral Interior

More background information can be found in this article from The Telegraph and the website of Britain’s Channel 4. More information can also be found from The Richard III Society which has been promoting research into the life and times of Richard III since 1924.

Richard III: The King in the Car Park - richard III - a king skeleton found in a car park

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