Because I’m both a history and Shakespeare geek, I think this is awesome. Archaeologists think it’s possible they might have uncovered the bones of King Richard III.
A dig under a council car park in Leicester has found remains with spinal abnormalities and a “cleaved-in skull” that suggest it could be Richard III.
The University of Leicester will now test the bones for DNA against descendants of Richard’s family.
Professor Lin Foxhall, head of the university’s School of Archaeology, said: “Archaeology almost never finds named individuals – this is absolutely extraordinary.
“Although we are far from certain yet, it is already astonishing.”
After the battle of Bosworth Henry VII didn’t want anyone claiming that they were Richard III and had survived the battle.
Richard’s body was taken to Leicester, slung naked over the back of a horse, and publicly displayed so people could see he was dead.
But there was the problem of how and where to bury him – what seems likely is that they wanted to avoid anything that would generate a posthumous cult.
There was a tradition in medieval England that people who were political victims then became popular saints. They wouldn’t have wanted to bury him in York, where he was very popular.
Greyfriars was convenient and safe. Henry VII put steps in action for a tomb to be built, and the inscription was to be ambivalent, and in some ways rude about Richard III, talking about his nephews and indicating that he wasn’t a very good king. There is evidence that people talked about him being buried there.
A university spokesperson said the evidence included signs of a peri-mortem (near-death) trauma to the skull and a barbed iron arrow head in the area of the spine.
Richard is recorded by some sources as having been pulled from his horse and killed with a blow to the head.
The skeleton also showed severe scoliosis – a curvature of the spine.
I’ll be really curious to see what the DNA reveals.