Technology‎ > ‎

The King In The Car Park; Scientists Identify Bones Of Richard III

posted 4 Feb 2013, 06:50 by Mpelembe   [ updated 4 Feb 2013, 06:51 ]

DNA has revealed that bones found under a car park in central England are indeed those of medieval King Richard III.

 LEICESTER, ENGLAND, UK  (UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER)  -  Human bones found under a public car park in Leicester have been confirmed as being those of England's Richard III, the last King to die in battle more than five centuries ago.

Scientists on Monday (February 4) confirmed that DNA tests revealed that the bones belong to one of the most famous kings in English history, slain at the 1485 Battle of Bosworth.

Once archaeologists got permission to dig up the car park, on the site of Grey Friars, a Franciscan Friary, they found fragments of medieval tiles and pottery and in September last year they revealed they had discovered a skeleton with apparent battlefield wounds during the excavations.

The skeleton showed signs of injuries consistent with wounds received in battle; a bladed implement appeared to have cleaved part of the rear of the skull while a barbed metal arrowhead was found between vertebrae of the skeleton's upper back.

The body also had spinal abnormalities, believed to be severe scoliosis, a form of spinal curvature, which would have made his right shoulder appear visibly higher than his left one, which matches contemporary accounts of Richard.

DNA was taken from Michael Ibsen, a Canadian-born carpenter who is believed to be a direct descendent of Richard III's sister, Anne of York.

While the findings may solve one riddle about Richard, the last Plantagenet king of England remains a complex figure whose life, made famous by Shakespeare's history play, deeply divides opinion among historians in Britain and abroad.

Richard has been played by a multitude of actors including David GarrickLaurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh. Lines from the play include "Now is the Winter of our discontent" as well as "Where Eagles Dare" which became a film title.

A tough soldier and popular in northern England, Richard was crowned at Westminster Abbey in July 1483 after replacing his 12-year-old nephew Edward V on the throne after claims that the young prince and his brother, the sons of Richard's elder brother Edward IV, were illegitimate.

The two boys later disappeared from the Tower of London, and their fate is one of the greatest unanswered historical questions. However, Richard has long been blamed for ordering, or even carrying out, the murder of the "Princes in the Tower".

His supporters say this is misleading, written as it was over 100 years later when Queen Elizabeth I, the granddaughter of Henry Tudor, who became Henry VII after his victory over Richard at Bosworth, was on the throne.

Richard III will be interred in Leicester Cathedral and members of parliament have been discussing a permanent grave.

Some think he should stay in Leicester, others would like a state funeral in London and burial alongside other British monarchs.