‘Bones found in parking lot belong to Richard III’
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JOHN F BURNS & ALAN COWELL
In one of Britain's most dramatic modern archaeological finds, researchers here announced on Monday that skeletal remains found under a parking lot in this English Midlands city were those of King Richard III, for centuries the most widely reviled of English monarchs, paving the way for a possible reassessment of his brief but violent reign.
Richard Buckley, the lead archaeologist on a project to identify the bones, told reporters that tests and research since the remains were discovered last September proved "beyond reasonable doubt" that the "individual exhumed" from a makeshift grave under the parking lot was "indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England."
Richard Taylor, the University of Leicester registrar who coordinated the team of archaeologists, historians, genealogists and geneticists who worked to make the identification after the skeleton was found buried six feet below a corner of a municipal parking lot, said the last piece of the scientific puzzle fell into place with DNA findings that became available on Sunday, five months after the skeletal remains were uncovered. "We knew then, beyond reasonable doubt, that this was Richard III," he said. "We're certain now, as certain as you can be of anything in life."
The geneticist Turi King told a news conference held by the University of Leicester research team that DNA samples taken from two modern-day descendants of Richard III's family matched those from the bones found at the site. One of the descendants, Michael Ibsen, is the son of a 16th-generation niece of King Richard's. The second wished to remain anonymous, the researchers said.
The skeleton, moreover, had a gaping hole in the skull consistent with accounts of the battlefield blow that killed the monarch more than 500 years ago.
The identification of the bones Monday may lead to demands for him to buried alongside other monarchs in a place of honour, such as Westminster Abbey.