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Skeleton Found Confirmed to be Richard III

Now if you are well versed in the archaeology world, you'd know that for the past week or two, people from all walks of life (myself included) tuned in to a press conference organised by the University of Leicester. What for? 

The skeleton
On the 24th of August 2012, the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council, in association with the Richard III Society, announced that they had joined forces to begin a search for the remains of King Richard. On 5 September 2012, the excavators announced that they had identified a male body located under a public car park, many speculated this belonged to the King.

But first, you might be wondering who Richard III was.
Portrait of Richard the Third

Richard III (born 2 October 1452 – died 22 August 1485) was the King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field was the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses and is sometimes regarded as the end of the Middle Ages in England. He is the subject of an eponymous play by William Shakespeare (and now you know!)

In August 1485, Richard III faced Henry Tudor at Bosworth and was killed. His body was brought back to Leicester and was buried without pomp or ceremony in the church of the Grey Friars.

Back to the press conference: After a rather interesting flurry of speeches, experts from the University of Leicester said DNA from the bones recovered from the car park, matched that of descendants of the monarch's family.
Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, told a press conference to applause: "Beyond reasonable doubt it's Richard."
 Dr. Jo Appleby stated at the conference that the skull was struck during excavation but this did not cause major damage. There is also damage to the bones from their being buried for 500 years.
The entire skeleton, note the curved spine
It was an adult male but with an unusually slender, feminine build. That's consistent with descriptions of Richard. There is no indication he had a withered arm, however. He was aged in his late 20s to late 30s. That fits with Richard's age when he died. The skeleton was not born with scoliosis, she also said.

Among the injuries on the skeleton was a small, rectangular injury on the cheekbone, consistent with a dagger. There was a small, penetrating wound on the top of the head. This came from a direct blow from a weapon, and would not have been fatal.
A large wound to the base of the skull came from a slice cut off the skull by a bladed weapon. A smaller injury on the base of the skull was also caused by a bladed weapon. Both of these injuries would have caused almost instant loss of consciousness and death would have followed shortly afterwards. There are also three more shallow wounds on the skull. And there is a cut mark on the lower jaw, caused by a bladed weapon.

Following DNA analysis from the skeleton and from living descendents, the researchers were able to say, "beyond reasonable doubt", that it was the skeleton of Richard III.
The skeleton in its burial place, courtesy of the University of Leicester
What now for the body? Well, it's to be reburied at Leicester Cathedral.


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