By Adam Hetrick
04 Feb 2013
|Photo by University of Leicester|
According to published reports, a team from the University of Leicester was behind the excavation that took place beneath a parking garage in Greyfriars, in Leicestershire, in August 2012. The parking garage is built over the site of a medieval friary. Richard III — the last of the royal Plantagenet dynasty — was killed in the area during the 1485 Battle of Bosworth Field. ("My kingdom for a horse!" was Richard's famous plea in the battle.)
The king's remains, which had been buried without a coffin, were identified based on DNA samples taken from the skeleton, which matched that of a Michael Ibsen, who is a direct descendant of Richard III's sister, Anne of York. Another anonymous relative with blood ties to Anne of York was also involved. Richard III ruled 1483-85.
The skeletal remains also showed signs of scoliosis, which prompted Shakespeare's famous description of the ruler as a "bunch-backed toad." The remains also indicated battle wounds, with part of the skull sheared away as the result of eight head wounds. A piece of metal was also found in the spine. The position of Richard III's hands suggests that they had been tied.