Richard III reportedly dumped in sloppy grave

May 24, 2013 at 2:00 AM
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LEICESTER, England, May 24 (UPI) -- King Richard III of England was buried in a hastily dug grave too small for his body with no coffin or shroud, archaeologists say in a paper published Friday.

The body's position when the grave site in what is now a Leicester car park was excavated suggests Richard's hands may have been tied, reported.

The excavation was done by a team from the University of Leicester and the body identified as Richard's by comparison of mitochondrial DNA with a descendent of his sister, Anne of York. The car park occupies the site of the church where Richard was buried after he was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.

The findings were published in the journal Antiquity.

Historian Polydore Vergil said Richard's burial at the Grey Friars Church was done "without any pomp or solemn funeral." Archaeologists say the hole dug to receive his body was wider at the top than the bottom without any care to make its walls vertical. The body was also positioned against one side, suggesting a gravedigger stood in the grave and simply dumped the body instead of centering it.

There is now a fight over where he should be reinterred with both pomp and a solemn funeral. The British government has so far left the matter in the hands of the university, which means Leicester Cathedral, the city of York, where Richard governed as lord of the north under his brother, Edward IV, is also lobbying for his tomb to be in York Cathedral.

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