Richard III Found?

While the news has been full of one royal uncovered, it seems that a far more famous one – the subject of a Shakespeare play and a movie – may have been at last unearthed.

Back in my school days, my English history started in 1485 with the death of king Richard III at the battle of Bosworth. The body of Richard was taken to nearby Leicester, and put on display for a couple of days (so that people would know he was really dead), and then buried with little ceremony nearby. Over the subsequent 500 years the location of the grave has been lost.

But it appears that the site was still known about 130 years after Richard’s death:

Records suggested that Richard had been buried at Leicester’s Greyfriars friary, but within 50 years, with the dissolution of the of England’s monasteries, the friary fell into ruin. So not only the site of the grave, but also the friary, had been lost.

Until archaeologists from Leicester university started digging in a council car park in Leicester about 3 weeks ago. And fairly rapidly identified the site as that of the friary, and also found its church, and the choir of the church in which Richard had been reported to be buried. The following is a YouTube video of the progress of the dig:

Not only that, but two days ago they also found a well-preserved skeleton beneath the choir. And it was the skeleton of a man, who had the back of his skull smashed in, and the barb of an arrow in his back, and a deformed spine which would have made his right shoulder higher than his left.

Richard III was often described as a hunchback.

So it looks like they’ve found him, exactly where he was supposed to be, and showing all the signs of mortal injury in battle, and also indications of a spinal deformity. DNA tests are now being carried out on one of the living descendants of Richard’s sister, and the results should be known in about 3 months time.

YouTube has a good 7-minute documentary, which includes the investigation of the skeleton: The Search For King Richard III – The Archaeological Dig.

It’s probably the most significant archaeological discovery in England for a century. And a tug-of-war has already started, as a Tory MP has called for a full state funeral for King Richard III, and one or two bloggers as well, although the Queen seems to think he should stay in Leicester.

It’s almost too strange to be true.

Other reports here, here, and here. Also Richard III Society.

update 3 Feb 2013: Mail

Leicester University scientists expected to confirm remains are Richard III’s

Conducted a range of tests including carbon-dating and a DNA match with a descendent of the Plantagenet King’s sister

CNN, BBC, Guardian, Independent


About Frank Davis

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15 Responses to Richard III Found?

  1. Junican says:

    I fail to see the point. Why not dig up queen victoria’s remains? I fail to see the point. What is the difference between one bone or another? What does it matter?

    • Frank Davis says:

      Well, for a start, we know where Victoria is buried, so there’s no mystery there. And are you not in the least bit interested in what appears to be the solution of an old riddle, the location of the tomb of Richard III?

  2. magnetic01 says:

    Some examples of the street-level morons created by the ivory-tower morons of Public Health™:

    Brookline Arrest Log: Anti-Smoking Dirt Thrower

    Justin Dain Palmer Accused Of Pointing Gun At Pregnant Smoker
    [check out some of the deranged comments]

  3. Margo says:

    Re this story and whether it matters. Yes, it’s a piece of the Richard 111 story and that makes it interesting, and locating a corpse always has its interest, whether the dead person was a monarch, a hunchback, the main character in a Shakespeare play or anyone else. The bones can sometimes throw light on the manner of his dying and of his life and times, and that’s interesting, though these bones won’t tell us anything about whether Richard 111 was really as guilty as charged by Shakespeare.
    No, bones aren’t important in themselves, as Junican says. I’ve arranged to leave mine for medical science. They might not want them when the time comes, of course – some conditions make corpses unsuitable, the blurb says. Not smoking, though, I’m glad to see. Maybe someone will use mine for some anti-anti-smoking research?
    I’m glad the palace has the sense not to encourage any idea of using this find as an excuse for another expensive ‘Isn’t Britain Great’ shindig.
    The other ‘royal exposure’ story is just an example of how stupid our ‘media’ have become. They seem to be the only ones who get excited if the Duchess decides (as most of us do) to follow local practices when she goes on holiday. No wonder the royals can’t stand them.
    Glad you’re back, Frank – was worried you might have burn-out from keeping this blog going every day – no easy task.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I had a rather strange day during which I became very tired and sleepy early in the evening, and spent the rest of the evening dozing. It wasn’t just that I didn’t manage to write my blog, but that I didn’t manage to do anything at all, except maybe read a bit.

    • Frank Davis says:

      In addition, I’ve now seen a couple of the Duchess photos. They aren’t that interesting, but one line of the accompanying French text is very interesting:

      Kate a meme fumé une cigarette entre sa sortie du hall de l’aeroport et la voiture qui devait les mener vers leur petit paradis.

      Which translates as: Kate also smoked a cigarette between leaving the airport and getting in the car that took them to their little paradise.

      So Kate smokes!

      Perhaps some of the photos also show her smoking?

  4. garyk30 says:

    If the grave is Richard the third, decency says they should put the bones back and leave him alone.

    Off topic:
    Today is ‘Int’l Coastal Clean-up Day’ and we shall soon be seeing news that the most common items fetched are cig butts.
    Here are the results from last year:
    About 2 million cig butts picked up from 20,776 miles of beaches.

    That is, on average, 1 cig butt for every 54.85 feet.

    A 33 gallon garbage bag will hold about 68,607 butts.
    If you went out to fill one, you would, on average, have to clean up 713 miles of beach!!!!

    If you are not that ambitious and only want to fill a 2 liter pop container, on average, you will have to cover ONLY 10.8 miles of beach!!

    A 20 cig pack will hold about 60 butts and, on average, take only 3/4ths of a mile of clean up.

    I am tooooo old and gimped-up to do more than that.

    • garyk30 says:

      Just a bit more.

      That is a whopping 3.3 cig butts per volunteer.

      That is about 1 ton of cig butts to 4,592 tonnes of other crap!!!!!!

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Another Anti-Smoking Hoax Debunked. Those cigarette filters are 100% biodegradable.

        The cigarette butt menace was created to support outdoor smoking bans because many non-smokers will accept that secondhand smoke is not harmful in an outdoor setting.

        The anti-smoking zealots admit that the tobacco and paper in cigarette butts are biodegradable, but claim that the cellulose acetate cigarette filters are a plastic, like styrofoam and polystyrene, and will contaminate the earth forever. This is not true. Cellulose acetate is a wood product. It is completely degradable through biological, chemical, and photo chemical degradation mechanisms.

        Sorry, I don’t have a nice, easy to read MSM news article to give you. I have research papers from cellulose acetate manufacturers. Ann W., a commentor to a Dick Puddlecote article, put me onto this. … found.html … ilters.pdf
        “STUDY OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION OF CIGARETTE FILTERS: A simulation of the Roadside or Parking Lot Environment.” Stephen K. Haynes, et al,\., Research Laboratories, Eastman Chemical Company, Kingsport Tenn.

        “In recent years there has been increasing public awareness of items which may be discarded as litter with particular attention being given to cigarette filters. Some studies have concluded that when cigarette filters are introduced into the environment, they either do not degrade or degrade very slowly. Previous work in our laboratories has demonstrated that cigarette filters biodegrade readily in environments where mixed microbial populations can thrive. The purpose of this study was to examine the changes occurring in cigarette filters over time in an environment similar to that of a parking lot or roadside area. In this environment, exposure to sunlight, moisture and wind occur, but there is limited exposure to microbial attack … ”

        “CONCLUSIONS: Previous work has demonstrated that cigarette filters biodegrade readily in environments where mixed microbial populations can thrive. This work demonstrates that current commercial cigarette filters also degrade when exposed to an environment which is not optimal for microbial biodegradation.”

  5. R Sole says:

    This leaves a bloody great hole in a car park in Leicester. Any suggestions who to put in it.

  6. Pingback: Back To Bosworth | Frank Davis

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