- Writing for the VCH
- VCH Explore
There's huge excitement here in Leicester, as the bones found under a council car park in August have been confirmed 'beyond reasonable doubt' by an inter-disciplinary team from the University of Leicester as those of Richard III.
At first, the chances of finding Richard III seemed remote. History records his burial in the choir of the Greyfriars' church, but the plan of the building was unknown, the whole area has been disturbed many times by later buildings, and there are still buildings on part of the site, so whether the choir could be identified and excavated was down to luck. Moreover, there was a long-standing story that Richard III's bones had been thrown into the river by local people when the religious houses were dissolved at the Reformation.
We now know that there was no truth in that story and that by sheer chance the choir area of the Greyfriars church was never built over.
So what has been announced today? How do we know that his bones have been found?
1. The excavation has confirmed the layout of the church and that the bones found on 25 August were in the choir
2. Radio carbon dating have provided a date of 1455-1540, consistent with death in 1485
3. The bones are those of a very slender man aged between late 20s and late 30s. Richard III was 32 when he died
4. The body was buried without clothing, shroud