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Monday, September 24, 2012

The Remains of the King: Archaeologists Might Have Found the Bones of Richard III

Posted by on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 8:59 AM


... a University of Leicester archaeologist working in a trench cut into a parking lot uncovered what could turn out to be one of the most remarkable finds in modern British archaeology. Judging from the clamor that has met the discovery in Britain, it may lead to demands for Richard to be buried, like other British kings, in a place of honor like Westminster Abbey.

The archaeologist, Jo Appleby, noted signature characteristics that pointed strongly to Richard: a deformed spine, what she has described as a mortal battlefield wound in the back of the skull from a bladed instrument and a barbed metal arrowhead found between two upper vertebrae.

The remains were buried in the choir, an area of the priory church where Franciscan monks would have sat during ceremonies, close to the altar. It was in the choir that one of the most credible contemporary accounts said Richard had been interred.

But that pointer proved moot when Henry VIII seized and ransacked the monasteries in 1538, leaving priories like Greyfriars to crumble into rubble, to the point where centuries later, nobody had any precise fix as to where they once stood.

Unlike some folks who care a lot, I'm not especially interested in whether Richard was a good guy or a bad guy—but this story is great because of its huge range of details: isotope testing to see where this guy grew up, the body being found beneath a parking lot when people thought he was buried beneath a bank across the street, how the Tudors went out of their way to make Richard (the last Plantagenet king) look like a monster, etc.

Below the jump, watch Sir Ian McKellen in Richard III meeting Lady Anne in a morgue, confessing to her husband's murder, then seducing her over his corpse.


Comments (9) RSS

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singing cynic 9
One of my favorite scenes in the cannon. Fabulous. Has anyone seen the Peter Dinklage performance? I've always been curious. I hope he didn't try to use a British accent, however, as his Game Of Thrones ones is atrocious.
Posted by singing cynic on September 24, 2012 at 4:57 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 8
Henry VII should have had the corpse of the child murderer quartered and burned into nothing but ash.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on September 24, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 7
"X has a rather Plantagenet nose" is one of my favorite descriptors.
Posted by Max Solomon on September 24, 2012 at 11:34 AM · Report this
Of all the portrayals of Richard III, Peter Cook's may very well be my favorite.
Posted by I have a cunning plan... on September 24, 2012 at 11:09 AM · Report this
Richard III was the first time I saw Sir Ian perform. He made me go all squishy inside. What an instrument!
Posted by PizmoSF on September 24, 2012 at 10:55 AM · Report this
"He who bereft your lady of your husband did it to help you to a better husband."

Classy pickup line.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 24, 2012 at 10:38 AM · Report this
papa tookshire 3
I thought he was buried, dug up, and thrown in a river.
Posted by papa tookshire on September 24, 2012 at 10:21 AM · Report this
The Max 2
Best thing about this is if indeed Richard of Glouster, third of his name (1483-1485) is proven to have been a hunchback, this proving Holingshed right, it's another nail in the coffin of Edward de Vere, the Oxfordian candidate for authorship of the First Folio.
Posted by The Max on September 24, 2012 at 9:31 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 1
Sir Ian, Sir Ian, Sir Ian, action, wizard "You shall not pass!", cut. Sir Ian, Sir Ian, Sir Ian.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on September 24, 2012 at 9:14 AM · Report this

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