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King Richard III's Body Was Placed In 'Hastily Dug, Untidy Grave' In Leicester Say Researchers

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KING RICHARD III GRAVE
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.

king richard iii grave

The rave of King Richard III

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.

It includes analysis of Richard III's grave and explains the conclusions about the friary's layout based on the remains of the church and cloisters. It also includes initial observations of the king's skeleton.

Two new exhibitions about the King are planned as debate continues to rage over where he should rightfully buried.

The paper is being made publicly available at http://antiquity.ac.uk/ant/087/ant0870519.htm