One foot from the grave

October 15, 2012
Medieval re-enactors stand guard at the spot that the remains were recovered. Credit: Credit - University of Leicester

Archaeologists from the University of Leicester who uncovered a grave thought to contain the skeleton of King Richard III have revealed that the remains came within inches of being destroyed by Victorian builders.

The University of Leicester led the search for the Anointed King who died at the battle of Bosworth in association with Leicester City Council and the Richard III Society. The University team dug three trenches under a Leicester before their discovery was made.

Now site director Mathew Morris has disclosed that the remains were found just inches below Victorian foundations. Had the 19th century builders dug a little further-no remains would have been found.

Mathew said: "It was incredibly lucky. If the Victorians had dug down 30cm more they would have built on top of the remains and destroyed them."

City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby added: "It is extremely lucky that the remains were found at all.

"His head was discovered inches from the foundations of a Victorian building. They obviously did not discover anything and probably would not have been aware of the importance of the site.

"If their plans had been just a little different, they could have destroyed a most significant historic find."

A team from the University of Leicester, including and geneticists, is now engaged in a to determine whether the remains are indeed of King Richard III.

Using DNA extracted from Michael Ibsen, believed to be a descendant of 's sister, the team will seek to determine if there is a match.

Explore further: Human remains discovered in search for King Richard III

More information: The entire dig was filmed by Darlow Smithson Productions for a Channel 4 Documentary.

You can watch the Press Conference announcing the results from the dig here

Related Stories

Archaeologists find statue of Tutankhamun's grandad

October 2, 2010

Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed part a 3,000-year-old statue of the pharaoh Amenhotep III, believed to be the grandfather of the young King Tutankhamun, antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said on Saturday.

Israeli archaeologists discover ancient quarry

July 6, 2009

(AP) -- Israeli archaeologists have uncovered an ancient quarry where they believe King Herod extracted stones for the construction of the Jewish Temple 2,000 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Monday. The ...

Recommended for you

Experts uncover hidden layers of Jesus' tomb site

October 27, 2016

In the innermost chamber of the site said to be the tomb of Jesus, a restoration team has peeled away a marble layer for the first time in centuries in an effort to reach what it believes is the original rock surface where ...

Important ancient papyrus seized from looters in Israel

October 27, 2016

(—Eitan Klein, a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority, has announced that an important papyrus document dated to 2,700 years ago has been seized from a group of Palestinian looters who reportedly ...

Ancient parrot fossil found in Siberia

October 26, 2016

(—A Russian paleontologist has discovered a parrot fossil uncovered in Siberia several years ago—the first evidence of parrots living in Asia. In his paper published in Biology Letters, Nikita Zelenkov describes ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.