Archeologists digging under a Leicester Council office car park say they may have found a wall of the church where Richard III is buried.
The team believe the findings date back to the medieval era, and could be their first breakthrough in the search for the lost King's remains. Richard was the last English king to be killed in battle.
The church known as Greyfriars is believed to be where King Richard III's remains were buried. If any remains are found by the team they will undergo DNA testing at the University of Leicester which is heading the project.
Michael Ibsen, Richard III's 16th generation great nephew who was at the dig when it began has given a DNA sample to help locate the kings final resting place.
– Leicester University team
"The remains are very possibly medieval walls but this is subject to confirmation. We will also seek to establish if these are part of the medieval Greyfriars site where Richard III was buried."
The team are keen to point out that even if they do not find the monarch's remains, it is helping future generations to possibly discover what happened.
To date the team, who started digging on Saturday, have created a 30-metre trench, removing the council offices car park, making their way back in time through 18th and 19th Century soil to reach the medieval layer at about 1.5 metres deep.
Co-Director of the University of Leicester Archaeological Service, Richard Buckley said:
– Co-Director of the University of Leicester Archaeological Service, Richard Buckley
“The search for Richard goes on - it is still a long shot, but the archaeological work we have done so far is revealing more about the archaeology of the Greyfriars area than we ever knew before. In that respect, whatever the outcome - whether we find Richard or not - this work is an advance in terms of helping us to tell the story of the city of Leicester. I am delighted that the University of Leicester is playing a pivotal role in the telling of that story.”
The dig is being filmed for a forthcoming Channel 4 documentary to be aired later this year.
Facts about King Richard III:
- He was King of England for two years from 1483 until he died at the Battle of Bosworth
- He died aged 32 this brought an end to 30 years of civil war (War of the Roses) but marked the start of the Tudor times
- Historians say his armour and clothes were removed and his body taken to Leicester where it was displayed for 3 days
- The church where King Richard is believed to be buried named Greyfriars was destroyed 50 years after his remains were placed there.
- Following Richard III death rumours surfaced that he was born with severe deformaties, but historians believe this is not true but the result of Tudor propaganda who used his 'deformity' to 'prove' his guilt in killing his nephews, in Tudor times it was believed a deformed body meant the mind was also deformed and 'evil'.