ARMOURIES JOINS SEARCH FOR ENGLAND’S LOST KING – RICHARD III - Thursday, 31 January 2013

A Royal Armouries’ curator formed part of an expert academic team investigating the “skeleton in the car park” discovery – potentially the human remains of Richard III.

Historians and scientists have conducted a barrage of scientific studies on the bones, discovered in a local council car park last September.

The Leeds museum’s Curator of European Edged Weapons, Bob Woosnam-Savage, was invited to join the Greyfriars’ research team by the University of Leicester. Since then, specialists have spent four months working to see if the skeleton belongs to Richard III – who died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

The findings are set to be unveiled at a press conference on Monday (February 4); and during a Channel 4 documentary broadcasting at 9pm the same day – Richard III: The King in the Car Park.

The scientific investigation – the focus of worldwide academic and media interest – began when a skeleton was excavated during an archaeological project at the former site of Greyfriars Church, in Leicester.

It was believed the church was the final resting place of the last Plantagenet king, Richard III, who had been buried there in August 1485, after his defeat by Henry VII, father of Henry VIII.

After the bones were excavated, Bob Woosnam-Savage’s role was to use his expertise and knowledge of medieval weapons to examine trauma to the skeleton – and to try to establish how the individual met his violent death.

Bob said, “The problem with looking for Richard was that tradition described his body as having been disturbed during the Dissolution in 1538, when Greyfriars was demolished, and his remains were thrown into, or buried near, the River Soar, which runs through the city.

“We know that Richard died at Bosworth and amazingly this skeleton bore the trauma of battle. Using our expertise, we have supported the team by looking at weapons that may have been used to kill this individual, and built up a blow-by-blow account showing of how he may possibly have met his end.

“So the question will be answered on Monday – has Richard, a ‘Lost king’ of England, really been found after nearly 530 years?

Since its excavation the Greyfriars’ skeleton has been studied for four months by a number of different specialists, working in diverse areas such as DNA testing, carbon-dating, dental tests to establish diet, osteology and forensic pathology.

Bob is due to attend the press conference in Leicester on Monday. He will also be available for interviews at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds on Tuesday, February 5.

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