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Skeleton discovered on Richard III site

14 September 2012


ARCHAEOLOGISTS announced on Wednesday that they had found human remains opposite Leicester Cathedral which could be those of Richard III.

The Greyfriars Project, a joint project of the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council, began searching for the king's remains on 25 August. It discovered a lost medieval church of the Grey Friars, which is where Richard III is recorded as being buried after he died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

On Wednesday, the University of Leicester issued a statement saying that archaeologists had "confirmed the discovery of human remains at the site".

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday morning, Richard Taylor, the director of corporate affairs and planning at the University of Leicester, said that the archaeologists were not saying that they had definitely found the remains of Richard III, but that the search for his remains had "entered a new phase", shifting from the archaeological dig to the laboratory.

The skeleton found by archaeologists had "characteristics which warrant extensive further detailed examination". The results of the DNA analysis were expected to take up to 12 weeks, he said. 

The head of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester, Professor Lin Foxhall, said: "A great deal of research and investigation remains to be done before we can be sure of the identity of the individual. . . On the basis of data we have so far - the archeological context, the skeletal evidence - we have a man with what appear to be battle injuries, who suffered from . . . curvature of the spine, respectfully but modestly buried in a place of honour in the friary church. This seems to be consistent with some of the textual evidence . . . from contemporary historical sources."

The Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd Vivienne Faull, said that the cathedral had worked "very closely" with Leicester City Council and the University of Leicester on the search for Richard III's remains.

"There has been a major memorial to King Richard at the heart of the cathedral and adjacent to the Herrick Chapel since 1980," she said. "The memorial states that Richard was buried in the graveyard of the church of the Greyfriars, in the parish of St Martin - now the cathedral church.

"If the identity of the remains is confirmed, Leicester Cathedral will continue to work with the royal household, and with the Richard III Society, to ensure that his remains are treated with dignity and respect, and are reburied with the appropriate rites and ceremonies of the Church."


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