Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Richard III was in 'untidy' grave

Researchers say the remains of King Richard III were buried in a hastily dug grave (University of Leicester/PA)
Researchers say the remains of King Richard III were buried in a hastily dug grave (University of Leicester/PA)

The remains of King Richard III, which were discovered under a city car park, were found in a hastily dug, untidy grave, researchers have revealed.

Academics from the University of Leicester said the bones of the last Plantagenet king were placed in an odd position and the torso crammed in.

He was casually placed in a badly prepared grave, suggesting gravediggers were in a hurry to bury him or had little respect for the murdered king. The lozenge-shaped grave was too short to contain the body conventionally, and there is evidence to suggest his hands might have been tied when he was buried.

Researchers said someone is likely to have stood in the grave to receive the body, suggested by the fact the body is on one side rather than placed centrally.

The findings were revealed as University of Leicester archaeologists published the first peer-reviewed paper on the university-led archaeological Search for Richard III in the journal Antiquity.

It comes after the announcement in February that archaeologists had discovered the monarch's remains. It followed a three-week dig started in August at what was once the medieval Grey Friars church in Leicester - now a Leicester City Council car park.

There were no signs of a shroud or coffin in Richard III's grave, in stark contrast to other medieval graves found in the town which were the correct length and were dug neatly with vertical sides, academics said. This is in keeping with accounts from the medieval historian Polydore Vergil, who said Richard III was buried "without any pomp or solemn funeral".

The academic paper - by a team from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, and Department of Genetics - is called The king in the car park: new light on the death and burial of Richard III in the Grey Friars church, Leicester, in 1485.

It is the first academic paper to be published on the university's Search for Richard III, and outlines the key findings from the archaeological investigation of the Grey Friars site.

Visit http://antiquity.ac.uk/ant/087/ant0870519.htm to view the paper.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz