Remains Of Richard III Found Beneath British Parking Lot
Archaeologists have confirmed that bones found underneath a parking lot in Great Britain are the remains of one of England’s most infamous monarchs:
LEICESTER, England — In one of Britain’s most dramatic modern archaeological finds, researchers here announced on Monday that skeletal remains found under a parking lot in this English Midlands city were those of King Richard III, for centuries the most widely reviled of English monarchs, paving the way for a possible reassessment of his brief but violent reign.
Richard Buckley, the lead archaeologist on a project to identify the bones, told reporters that tests and research since the remains were discovered last September proved “beyond reasonable doubt” that the “individual exhumed” from a makeshift grave under the parking lot was “indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England.”
Part of the evidence came from DNA testing by the geneticist Turi King, who told the same new conference that DNA samples taken from modern-day descendants of Richard’s family matched those of the bones found at the site.
The skeleton, with an arrowhead in its back and bearing other signs of battle wounds, was exhumed in the ruins of an ancient priory. It was found in the same place as historians say Richard III was buried after perishing at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
At the news conference on Monday, researchers showed photographs of the skeleton as they found it, stuffed into a grave without a coffin, clearly displaying curvature of the spine as chronicled in contemporary accounts of Richard III’s appearance.
DNA samples from the remains had been compared with the DNA of two descendants of the monarch’s family. One of them, Michael Ibsen, is the son of a 16th-generation niece of King Richard’s. The second descendant wished to remain anonymous, the researchers said.
The researchers said that the body displayed 10 wounds, 8 of them in the skull and some likely to have caused death, possibly by a blow from a halberd, a kind medieval weapon with an ax-like head on a long pole. Other wounds seem to have been inflicted after his death to humiliate the monarch after his armor was stripped and he was paraded naked over the back of a horse, the researchers said.
Since at least the late 18th century, scholars have debated whether Richard was the victim of a campaign of denigration by the Tudor monarchs who succeeded him. His supporters argue that he was a decent king, harsh in the ways of his time, but a proponent of groundbreaking measures to help the poor, extend protections to suspected felons and ease bans on the printing and selling books.
But his detractors cast Richard’s 26 months on the throne as one of England’s grimmest periods, its excesses captured in his alleged role in the murder in the Tower of London of two young princes — his own nephews — to rid himself of potential rivals.
This discovery is likely to ignite a debate over whether Richard’s remain should be given the same honors typically given to deceased monarchs.