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.”
Part of the evidence came from DNA testing by the geneticist Turi King, who told the same news conference that DNA samples taken from modern-day descendants of Richard’s family matched those from the bones found at the site.
The skeleton, with a gaping hole in the skull consistent with contemporary accounts of the battlefield blow that killed him, was exhumed in the ruins of an ancient priory. It was found in the same place as historians say Richard III was buried after perishing at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. At the news conference on Monday, researchers showed photographs of the skeleton as they found it, stuffed into a grave without a coffin, clearly displaying curvature of the spine as chronicled in historical descriptions of Richard III’s appearance.
DNA samples from the remains had been compared with the DNA of two descendants of the monarch’s family, the researchers said. 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.