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Confirmed! Bones of King Richard III Found

Science & Tech  (tags: ancient, archaeology, discovery, history, investigation, internet, nasa, NewTechnology, research, science, society, study, technology )

- 1935 days ago -
The body of the lost and vilified English king Richard III has finally been found.

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Kit B (276)
Monday February 4, 2013, 9:12 am
Photo CREDIT: University of Leicester

The body of the lost and vilified English king Richard III has finally been found.

Archaeologists announced today (Feb. 4) that bones excavated from underneath a parking lot in Leicester, "beyond reasonable doubt," belong to the medieval king. Archaeologists announced the discovery of the skeleton in September. They suspected then they might have Richard III on their hands because the skeleton showed signs of the spinal disorder scoliosis, which Richard III likely had, and because battle wounds on the bones matched accounts of Richard III's death in the War of the Roses.

The announcement comes a day after the archaeologists had released an image of the king's battle-scarred skull.

To confirm the hunch, however, researchers at the University of Leicester conducted a series of tests, including extracting DNA from the teeth and a bone for comparison with Michael Ibsen, a modern-day descendant of Richard III's sister Anne of York.

Indeed, the researchers found the genetics matched up between Ibsen and that from the skeleton. "The DNA remains points to these being the remains of Richard III," University of Leicester genetics expert Turi King said during a press briefing.

The history of Richard III

Richard III was born in 1452 and ruled England from 1483 to 1485, a reign cut short by his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the decisive battle in the English civil war known as the War of the Roses. [See Images of the Skull & Search for Richard III's Grave]

Richard III's historical reputation is a twisted one, rife with accusations that he had his two young nephews murdered to secure his spot on the throne. The Shakespeare play "Richard III" cemented the king's villainous reputation about 100 years after the monarch died.

But Richard III's true legacy is a source of controversy. According to the Richard III Society, which has been involved in the archaeological search for the king's remains, many of the crimes Shakespeare attributes to Richard III are on shaky grounds. Even the deaths of the young princes remain in dispute.

After the king's death in battle, he was brought to Leicester and reportedly interred at the church of the Grey Friars, a location long lost to history. Unsubstantiated rumors sprung up around the missing grave, such as that Richard III's bones had been dug up and thrown in a river, or that his coffin was used as a horse-trough.

Relying on historical records, University of Leicester archaeologists began excavating a city council parking lot in Leicester in August 2012 in search of the Grey Friars church. They soon found medieval window frames, glazed floor tiles and roof fragments, suggesting that they were on the right track.

Shortly thereafter, the team unearthed human remains, including both a female skeleton (possibly an early church founder) and a male skeleton with a spine curved by scoliosis. The male skeleton's skull was cleaved with a blade, and a barbed metal arrowhead was lodged among the vertebrae of the upper back.

New discoveries

An analysis of the skeleton, ongoing ever since, revealed many characteristics consistent with Richard III, including that the man died in his late 20s or 30s (Richard III supposedly died at age 32), and he had a slender, "almost female build," said Jo Appleby, the University of Leicester's osteology expert. [Science of Death: 10 Tales from the Crypt & Beyond]

The man would've had so-called idiopathic adolescent-onset scoliosis, meaning the cause is unclear though the individual would have developed the disorder after age 10; the curvature would've put pressure on the man's heart and lungs and could've caused pain, Appleby said. However, unlike historical records would suggest, the skeleton of Richard III showed no signs of a withered arm.

Appleby and her colleagues found and examined 10 wounds on the skeleton, including eight on the skull. None of the wounds could have been inflicted after the body was buried, though some of the wounds are consistent with being post-mortem, possibly as a way to further humiliate the king in 1485, Appleby said.

What does the discovery mean for the king's villainous reputation?

"It will be a whole new era for Richard III," Lynda Pidgeon of the Richard III Society told the Associated Press. "It's certainly going to spark a lot more interest. Hopefully people will have a more open mind toward Richard."

Where will they be re-interred? The University of Leicester has jurisdiction over the remains, and said today the Richard III skeleton would be buried under Leicester Cathedral.

Other interested parties had voiced their own opinions: The Richard III Foundation and the Society of Friends of Richard III, based in York, England, argue the remains should be reburied in York, since the king was fond of that city. The Richard III Society has remained officially neutral. Meanwhile, some online petitions have argued the reburial should take place at Westminster Abbey or Windsor Castle.
** interesting links within body of article at Visit Site***

By: Stephanie Pappas and Jeanna Bryner, | Live Science |

Kit B (276)
Monday February 4, 2013, 9:20 am

I have read Shakespeare's play as have many of you. I have also read the as Richard had obtained the throne his nephews no longer posed a threat, and rather than having them killed he probably helped them to escape from the tower where others might have tried to kill them to usurp the throne. It's all speculation, as very little actual history of his few years on throne. These were turbulent times for England during the War of the Roses, and Richard III might have faded into the pages of history had Shakespeare not written one of his most popular plays about this character.

Carrie B (306)
Monday February 4, 2013, 11:44 am
Interesting article, Kit. Thank you.

Roger G (154)
Monday February 4, 2013, 12:54 pm
noted, thanks !

JL A (281)
Monday February 4, 2013, 1:14 pm
Marvelous find! There was a British murder mystery where the chief inspector character was laid up with a health condition and to keep him engaged, he was asked to investigate the princes' deaths to determine what happened--not near as clear as Shakespeare would have us believe.

Past Member (0)
Monday February 4, 2013, 1:15 pm
A horse a horse, my kingdom for a horse! Thanks Kit ...great combo--Shakespeare, English history, and archaeology.

Michael Carney (217)
Monday February 4, 2013, 1:18 pm
Noted...Very interesting, thanks Kit...

Kit B (276)
Monday February 4, 2013, 1:20 pm

Just as many had suspected, he was not a hunch back, had use of his arm, the staircase in the tower where the bones of the princes were found, did not exist in Richards time. Still - Shakespeare did give us a great play. Considering battles in those days, a horse may not have helped. Thanks!

divergent revolution (309)
Monday February 4, 2013, 1:50 pm
noted.thanks Kit
the comments were a laugh

Sue Matheson (79)
Monday February 4, 2013, 1:54 pm
very cool. glad he can be laid to rest.

Yvonne White (229)
Monday February 4, 2013, 2:55 pm
Shakespeare was quick to exploit a popular tale & use "lost" history to make a great play!:) Medieval England was very superstitious, and physical deformities were used to mirror the emotional & spiritual disabilities within - so of course Shakespeare's Richard III was a Very Troubled man & it Had to Show! Those audiences were Not used to "subtle"..;)

pam w (139)
Monday February 4, 2013, 3:14 pm
How ignominious...buried under a car park!

Past Member (0)
Monday February 4, 2013, 4:11 pm
So they found old Uncle Dick's bones eh? Too bad. There is a painting of his 2 nephews that he had imprisoned in the Tower of London (their remains later found in the White Tower under the stairs leading to the chapel) and one of them looks just like I did at that age/size and the other one looks like my neighbor/best childhood friend. I am sure we reincarnated to be together again. Thanks Kit.

marie C (163)
Monday February 4, 2013, 5:32 pm
thanks Kit

Pia M (88)
Monday February 4, 2013, 5:39 pm
The poor little "Princes in the Tower" is the only detail I remember from the story of Richard III, thanks to the famous painting by John Everett Millais. It's quite probable that Richard III's reputation was deliberately tarnished by his successors the Tudors, but I wish someday archaeologists will find out what really happened to his nephews.

Kit B (276)
Monday February 4, 2013, 6:04 pm

Ummm...the princes may have been spirited off to Ireland for safe keeping, or perhaps, it was Henry VII that had them done in, he was the winner of the Battle of Bosworth, his only claim to the throne. Speculating here.

Ness F (211)
Monday February 4, 2013, 6:41 pm
Yes, read this the other day in our paper..TY Kit

Angelika R (143)
Monday February 4, 2013, 8:04 pm
Heard that here and think it is absolutely spectacular! Yes, i also wondered how Shakespear would feel about the find. - What would we do without DNA technology! At least his wounds to the brain causes an immediate death.

Nimue Michelle Pendragon Gaze (339)
Tuesday February 5, 2013, 1:20 am
He was still a villain. But this is pretty cool :)

. (0)
Tuesday February 5, 2013, 6:40 am
Hate to break this to you Nimue but they're all villains; discounting Lady Jane Grey and others like her of course. Then again the idealists and egalitarians don't last long at the hands and Machiavellian plans of the Cromwells and the Rounders.

Lindsay K (6)
Tuesday February 5, 2013, 6:56 am
Great story! Did anyone else listen to the Reduced Shakespeare Company's summary of Richard III's life on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on 4th February? It was brilliant, and is still available to listen to on the Today Programme's website.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday February 5, 2013, 7:53 am

Thanks Lindsay, BBC has such great programing. This just in....Fox news claims Richard III was not hit in the head (all evidence to the contrary) but struck in the rear end or as they said, "knifed in the butt".... even when reporting actual news Fox can screw up anything.
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