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Car park skeleton is Richard III
Lecturer Jo Appleby, who led the exhumation of the remains, speaking at Leicester University after tests established that a skeleton is that of King Richard III
A king of England who was cut down on the battlefield during one of the country's bloodiest periods was almost certainly buried under a modern-day car park, say academics.
Following a long wait it has been announced that the remains of a man buried on the site in Leicester are those of the last Plantagenet king, Richard III.
After suffering at least two fatal head wounds, tests on his skull and body showed evidence he was brutally hacked, presumably by the victors, after falling and dying on the battlefield in 1485.
Reviled in the history books and by playwright Shakespeare, for his perceived weakness and hunch back, archaeologists found evidence of a man with curvature of the spine and a slender, almost feminine frame.
Following extensive tests, Richard Buckley, dig project leader, said: "It is the academic conclusion that beyond reasonable doubt, the individual exhumed at Grey Friars in September 2011 is King Richard III - the last Plantagenet king of England."
The remains, which had lain almost totally undisturbed less than a metre below ground for more than 500 years, will be interred in the city's cathedral.
DNA recovered from the remains, radio-carbon dating, battlefield wounds found on the skeleton, and the link between what was found during the dig and what was mentioned in documentary sources from the period, combined to allow Leicester University academics to conclude the identity was "beyond reasonable doubt".
Richard was cut down at the decisive and bloody Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, ending the Wars of the Roses and leaving Henry VII as the new king and first of the Tudor dynasty. At the time it was recorded that Richard was buried in Grey Friars, a friary in the city, following the battle.
Four years ago, a fund-raising drive kick-started by the Richard III Society embarked on a push to finally uncover the truth of his final resting place, by making an archaeological dig on the site of the friary - a modern-day city council car park.
Archaeologists from the University of Leicester recovered a body which showed signs of battle injuries including 10 separate wounds, and scoliosis, in tune with unflattering historic accounts of the monarch. Significant weight was placed on the DNA evidence, linking Richard to a living descendant, Michael Ibsen, through the female line of Anne of York.
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