Scientists have found Richard III in a car park in London. At a televised press conference today a number of University of Leicester Scientists have given (not 100% proof) but 99% proof that they have found the bones of Richard III.

Last year a University of Leicester team dug on the site of a church where it was believed the king was buried.

They found a skeleton with a badly curved spine and head injuries consistent with recorded details of Richard’s death in 1485.

Dr Jo Appleby, from the University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, led the study of the skull.

The DNA from the bones has been compared with a group of living descendants. The results have been confirmed that the bones did have a DNA match from descendants or Richard III

Villainous reputation

Dr Appleby said: “The skull was in good condition, although fragile, and was able to give us detailed information about this individual. It has been CT scanned at high resolution in order to allow us to investigate interesting features in as much detail as possible.

“In order to determine whether this individual is Richard III we have built up a biological profile of its characteristics. We have also carefully examined the skeleton for traces of a violent death.”

Richard’s two-year reign signalled the end of the dynastic struggle known as the Wars of the Roses and is seen by some historians as the last act of the medieval era.

His death at Bosworth – the last English king to be killed in battle – ushered in the Tudor dynasty beginning with Henry VII.

The bones are scoured with cuts and breaks and are consistent with the details of his death and burial.

Who was Richard III?

  • Richard was born at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, where Mary Queen of Scots was later executed
  • As Duke of Gloucester, Richard took a rampant white boar as his sign
  • His coronation took place in Westminster Abbey, in a ceremony very similar to HM the Queen’s
  • Richard had one of the shortest reigns in British history – 26 months
  • He was the last English king to die in battle, killed by the forces of the future Henry VII
  • The real Richard III – mad murderer or a man of his times?

 
Testing Richard’s bones – how does DNA analysis work?

  • Shakespeare then helped to make Richard notorious as one of the English language’s most memorable villains.
  • While he remains for many historians the prime suspect in the death of his nephews – the Princes in the Tower – the skeleton’s discovery has provided a golden opportunity for those seeking to restore his reputation to put their case.
  • In September, the university confirmed there was “strong evidence” a skeleton found beneath a council car park in the Greyfriars area of Leicester was the lost king.
  • The remains have been subjected to a battery of tests, including DNA, carbon dating and environmental analysis in an effort to confirm the identification.

 

The DNA tests are based on samples from a possible 17th generation descendant of Richard’s sister.

The skull itself has been used to reconstruct the likely appearance of the man while alive.

The skeleton was found at one end of a trench dug through a council car park

Richard Taylor, deputy registrar of the University of Leicester, said: “It has been a privilege to have been involved in what could prove to be one of the biggest archaeological discoveries of recent times.

“The University of Leicester has played a pivotal role not only in leading the archaeological dig but in terms of working in partnership with the city council and the Richard III Society to bring this extraordinary project to fruition.

“It is a testament to the skill of the University of Leicester’s world-class archaeological team, led by Richard Buckley, along with the meticulous scientific work of university colleagues, that has led to this moment.

There is a palpable excitement at the University for an Announcement that could potentially rewrite history.”

An AlphaBioLabs spokesperson said “this show the importance of DNA in an historic setting. We are really please that a new and ever growing technology such as ours is helping to discover our past.