Thursday, September 13, 2012

The last of the Plantagenets

Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!
I, that was wash'd to death with fulsome wine,
Poor Clarence, by thy guile betrayed to death!
To-morrow in the battle think on me,
And fall thy edgeless sword: despair, and die!—

The ghost of Clarence in Shakespeare's Richard III

In Leicester, England, it was reported Monday, that archeologists were "tantalisingly close" to discovering the body of the loser of the Battle of Bosworth Field:
The dig to recover the body of the king, who was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth by Henry Tudor in 1485, has already unearthed the long-lost Franciscan Friary where he was buried.

The church, which is also called Grey Friars, was known to be where Richard III was buried but its exact whereabouts had become lost over time. ....
The Richard III Foundation, Inc. has welcomed the news that the current archaeological project at the Greyfriars church site in Leicester appears to have led to the recovery of the last mortal remains of King Richard III. Whilst DNA testing will be used to verify the identity of the body, archaeologists are convinced that it is Richard III.

Richard was the last Plantagenet king of England and the only English king to die in battle. He was killed on 22 August 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth and is known to have fought bravely to the end. His body was removed from the battlefield by the victorious army of Henry Tudor and was buried three days later in nearby Leicester – but the precise location of Richard’s last resting place was not known – until now. ....
The articulated skeleton was found in what is believed to be the Choir of the church.

The articulated skeleton found in the Choir is of significant interest to us. Dr Jo Appleby has carried out a preliminary examination of the remains. There are five reasons for our interest:
  1. The remains are in good condition and appear to be of an adult male.
  2. The Choir is the area reported in the historical record as the burial place of King Richard III. John Rous, reports that Richard "at last was buried in the choir of the Friars Minor at Leicester".
  3. The skeleton, on initial examination, appears to have suffered significant pen-mortem trauma to the skull which appears consistent with (although not certainly caused by) an injury received in battle. A bladed implement appears to have cleaved part of the rear of the skull.
  4. A barbed metal arrowhead was found between vertebrae of the skeleton's upper back.
  5. The skeleton found in the Choir area has spinal abnormalities. We believe the individual would have had severe scoliosis - which is a form of spinal curvature. This would have made his right shoulder appear visibly higher than the left shoulder. This is consistent with contemporary accounts of Richard's appearance. The skeleton does not have kyphosis - a different form of spinal curvature. The skeleton was not a hunchback. There appears to be no evidence of a "withered arm". ....
Via Conservative History Journal: They might have found him

Richard III search: archaeologists 'tantalisingly close' to finding king's body - Telegraph, Richard III Foundation welcomes success of archaeological dig and looks forward to re-burial of England’s Last Plantagenet King, Dropbox - University of Leicester statement, 12 September.pdf