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Bones of King Richard III of England give clues to lifestyle and death

May 2, 2013 at 3:11 PM   |   Comments

LEICESTER, England, May 2 (UPI) -- Examination of the skeleton of King Richard III of England, found buried in Leicester, suggests he was killed "by advanced military weapons," researchers said.

Scientists who analyzed the bones of the king, killed in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth, found his skull and jaw were badly damaged, lending support to historical reports the blows that killed him were so forceful they drove his crown into his head, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

"Richard is likely to have been killed by one of two blows to the base of the skull from some of the most advanced military weapons of the time," Amit Rai, a general dental practitioner in London who conducted the research, said. "Several accounts of Richard III reveal that he rode into battle wearing his crown which, despite this making him an easy target, is consistent with the location of the battlefield injuries he sustained on his skull."

Examination of the teeth showed Richard III ground his teeth, possibly from stress, and considerable tooth decay was likely the result of his privileged position which would have made food rich in carbohydrates and sugar a regular part of his diet, the researchers said.

The king's teeth and jaw showed signs of rudimentary medieval dentistry, they said.

Rai is one of a number of scientists who have analyzed the skeleton of Richard III since it was discovered this year buried under a parking lot.

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