Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in Greyfriars Dig, News


A big ‘Thank You’ to Renate for finding these links for us!

As you might have guessed, I’m talking about the dig in Leicester for the remains of King Richard III.  It was certainly very carefully planned.  The experts had carefully worked out, where the most likely location of the former church of the Greyfriars and where the best spot to start digging would be.  However, there was also luck involved, as the most likely spot was under a carpark – much easier to dig up than if it had been under some building.

And although it was possible to bring the various parties together – City of Leicester, University of Leicester and Richard III Society, thanks to the relentless efforts of Philippa Langley – money and time was limited, while the area originally covered by the friary of the Greyfriars was huge.  As Richard Buckley, lead archaeologist of the dig, said at the beginning of the project:

I would have loved to have had the time and money to dig numerous trenches and excavate large sections of the area, but that’s the way it goes.  We had to put all our eggs in one basket and pick three spots which we thought would herald results.

And we know by now that they hit the jackpot and found a male skeleton, which looks as if it might be Richard’s (tests to confirm this are being carried out).

We had heard that they had found it quite soon after the start of the project.  However, I had not known until now how soon they actually found the remains.  On the first day in the first spot they started digging, site manager Mathew Morris found a leg, just after scooping away a bit of earth.  They followed the leg  – and found the complete skeleton of an adult male who shows signs of having died violently in a battle and having had scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine.  Circumstantial evidence which looks most promising.

The find certainly convinced Richard Buckley, who had been sceptical whether they would find anything before the dig.  Now he says:  “As soon as I walked across and saw the skeleton under excavation with my own eyes, that was good enough for me.  Since then, I’ve made no secret to the fact I think it’s him.”

It sounds too good to be true, but in this case it actually is true.  As Philippa Langley, a screenwriter, said in a radio interview:  “If I had written this in a screen play I think it would have been thrown at me Good planning, good luck or a bit of both and said ‘get real’”.

She was there when he – and she is sure it is him – was found.  The exciting find was also filmed by the crew who was on site for the Channel 4 documentary, due to be broadcast in early 2013.

Here is the article describing the actual find:

‘Review of 2012: A year when digging up a Leicester city centre car park sparked worldwide curiosity’, This is Leicestershire (29 Dec 2012).  URL:  http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/Review-2012-year-digging-Leicester-city-centre/story-17710559-detail/story.html Date accessed:  30 Dec 2012

Or you might like to listen to a BBC radio programme, describing the whole process:

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This entry was posted on Sunday, December 30th, 2012 at 14:27 and is filed under Greyfriars Dig, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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