MessageToEagle.com - Historic findings of human remains- including a man with apparent battle wounds and curvature of the spine -
have been revealed by an archaeological team from the University of Leicester.
The University of Leicester has been leading the archaeological search for the burial place of King Richard III
with Leicester City Council, in association with the Richard III Society. The dig, now in its third week, has yielded
dramatic findings of human remains which the University will now subject to rigorous laboratory tests.
The stunning findings of human remains excavated by the archaeologists came from the Choir of the Grey Friars Church.
Richard Taylor, Director of Corporate Affairs at the University and one of the prime movers behind the project, said:
"The University of Leicester applied to the Ministry of Justice under the 1857 Burials Act for permission to
exhume human remains found at the Grey Friars site in Leicester.
Archaeologists used a 1741 map of Leicester to find the site of Greyfriars and then compared this to the modern city to find where to dig
"The work was conducted by Dr Turi King from the University's Department of Genetics and Dr Jo Appleby and Mathew
Morris of our School of Archaeology and Ancient History.
"We have exhumed one fully articulated skeleton and one set of disarticulated human remains. The disarticulated set
of human remains was found in what is believed to be the Presbytery of the lost Church of the Grey Friars.
These remains are female, and thus certainly not Richard III.
"The articulated skeleton was found in what is believed to be the Choir of the church.
"The articulated skeleton found in the Choir is of significant interest to us. Dr Jo Appleby has carried
out a preliminary examination of the remains. There are five reasons for our interest:
1. The remains appear to be of an adult male.
2. The Choir is the area reported in the historical record as the burial place of King Richard III. John Rous,
reports that Richard "at last was buried in the choir of the Friars Minor at Leicester".
3. The skeleton, on initial examination, appears to have suffered significant peri-mortem trauma to
the skull which 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.
4. A barbed iron arrowhead was found between vertebrae of the skeleton's upper back.
5. The skeleton found in the Choir area has spinal abnormalities. 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. The skeleton does not have kyphosis – a different form of spinal curvature. The skeleton was not a hunchback and did not have a "withered arm".
"Both sets of remains are now at an undisclosed location where further analysis is being undertaken.
"I need to be very frank. The University has always been clear that any remains would need to be subjected to rigorous laboratory analysis before we confirm the outcome of the search for Richard III.
As the defeated foe, Richard was given a low-key burial in the Franciscan friary of Greyfriars -
Have Archaeologists Found The Lost Tomb Of Richard III?
"We are not saying today that we have found King 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.
"Clearly we are all very excited by these latest discoveries. We have said finding Richard was a long-shot. However it is a testament to the
skill of the archaeological team led by Richard Buckley that such extensive progress has been made.
"We have all been witness to a powerful and historic story unfolding before our eyes. It is proper that the University now subjects the findings
to rigorous analysis so that the strong circumstantial evidence that has presented itself can be properly understood.
"This is potentially a historic moment for the University and City of Leicester."
Leicester's City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: "This is truly remarkable news.
"Although further tests and investigation are needed, the location and condition of the bones suggest that Leicester University has uncovered a
potentially staggering find.
"If the experts finally conclude these are indeed the bones of King Richard III, this will have enormous implications for our city.
"From Leicester Castle where he is known to have often stayed, to the Magazine Gateway, from where he rode off to the battle of Bosworth –
Leicester has many sites of historical interest connected to Richard.
"We have recently seen renewed interest in these and other important heritage sites, which we opening up to the public once again as part of a
new telling of the story of Leicester.
"The discovery of King Richard's final resting place – if this is what we have –will enhance the telling of that story in a way we could never have planned.
"I would like to thank the university and all of the staff and experts who have supported them for their tremendous work in finding this
important historical site, which is of great value to the city in its own right.
"I would also like to thank the Richard III Society and Phillipa Langley for their determination, and perseverance in seeking out the
King's burial place.
"Whatever happens next it is clear this site is worthy of further excavation, and for that reason I have given the university the
go-ahead to continue with their work.
"We need to have further discussion about the long-term future of the site, but I will certainly be doing everything in my power
to make sure the City of Leicester supports and celebrates this exciting discovery."
Commenting on the findings, Philippa Langley, a screenwriter and member of the Richard III Society, who conceived the idea of
searching for King Richard III and instigated the project three years ago, said:
"We came with a dream –and if the dream becomes reality it will be nothing short of miraculous."
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