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UK confirms finding Richard III's skeleton

Researchers say remains found beneath Leicester car park are that of English king, solving 500-year-old mystery.
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2013 19:00

British researchers have confirmed that a skeleton with a cleaved skull and a curved spine found beneath a car park in central UK, was that of Richard III, the last English king to die in battle, solving a 500-year-old mystery about his final resting place.

Archaeologists announced the results of DNA tests on the skeleton's identity on Monday, which they hope might lead to a better understanding of how Richard died.

"There is a match between the maternal DNA from the descendants of the family of Richard the third and the skeletal remains that we found," researchers said.

Richard was killed fighting his eventual successor Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth Field in central England in 1485.

A team of archaeologists and historians from the University of Leicester said evidence showed that a skeleton found last year during excavations of a medieval friary under a parking lot in the city was indeed that of Richard.

'Detective work'

Describing how the researchers discovered that the skeleton was indeed Richard's, Al Jazeera's Tim Friend said: "It has been an amazing piece of historical detective work".

"The local historians believed there was a possibility that his skeleton could still be there, so they started to excavate a year ago. They used all the modern techniques, including forensics, DNA, carbon dating, and other ways to establish the skeleton's identity.

"There were all sorts of speculation on whether his body had been slung into a river by his enemies, or whether it had indeed been buried.

"They found the injured skull and spine, which helped to determine what kind of weapons may have inflicted those injuries and when they were inflicted.

"These DNA tests went back 17 generations from Richard's sister to a Canadian living in London and they found a match beyond reasonable doubt.

"So now Richard will be buried in a cathedral in Leicester."

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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