Richard III was squashed into a tiny, badly prepared ‘lozenge’ shaped pit with his hands tied as gravediggers rushed to bury him, a new paper reveals.
The University of Leicester researchers found Richard was casually placed in a badly prepared grave, which suggests the gravediggers were in a hurry to bury him.
The grave was too short for him and was 'lozenge' shaped, with the bottom of the much smaller than opening at ground level. His head was propped up against one corner of the grave - suggesting the gravediggers had made no attempt to rearrange the body once it had been lowered in - and there were no signs of a shroud or coffin.
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 in 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 Bosworth Field, the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, is sometimes regarded as the end of the Middle Ages in England. He is the subject of the play Richard III by William Shakespeare.
Because of the circumstances of his accession and in consequence of Henry VII's victory, Richard III's remains received burial without pomp and were lost for more than five centuries. In 2012, an archaeological excavation was conducted on a city council car park using ground-penetrating radar on the site once occupied by Greyfriars, Leicester. The University of Leicester confirmed on 4 February 2013 that a skeleton found in the excavation was, beyond reasonable doubt, that of Richard III, based on a combination of evidence from radiocarbon dating, comparison with contemporary reports of his appearance, and a comparison of his mitochondrial DNA with two matrilineal descendants of Richard III's eldest sister, Anne of York