Remains of King Richard III found under car park
Published 15/12/2012 | 12:55
REMAINS found under a car park have not been confirmed as those of King Richard III but archaeologists are yet to find evidence to disprove it is the monarch's body, a university said.
The University of Leicester today denied reports that the remains found in Leicester earlier this year had been confirmed as those of the Plantagenet king and said it was still waiting for remaining test results.
It also denied claims it was holding back the information due to a documentary to be screened in the new year.
Richard Taylor, director of corporate affairs at the university, said there had always been strong circumstantial evidence that the remains were those of Richard III.
He admitted it was possible the university could name the skeleton as the monarch even if the DNA results prove inconclusive.
But he said the university did not want to make any academic decision until a number of tests, including DNA ones, had been concluded.
The DNA from the skeleton is being analysed and compared with that of Michael Ibsen, a descendant of Richard III.
Mr Taylor said: "We are awaiting a range of tests results. These include the DNA tests, genealogy attempts to validate DNA lines, isotope analysis and osteological investigations, which are partly complete.
"We are yet to find evidence to challenge our original hypotheses that it is Richard, but are awaiting the results of all the tests so we can make a full academic decision. For instance we haven't even confirmed the gender of the skeleton yet although initial indications did believe it to be male.
"If all the other tests come back as positive but the DNA does not match we may still make a decision to name the skeleton as Richard based on the evidence.
"But we will not give a conclusion on the identity of the human remains until we have the results of all the tests and can make a full academic decision."
The skeleton, with a metal arrow in its back and severe trauma to the skull, was exhumed from a car park behind council offices off Grey Friars in Leicester in September during an archaeological dig.
Initial examinations showed it to be the skeleton of an adult male with the remains said to be in a good condition.
It also had a curved spine, consistent with accounts of Richard III's appearance.
Reports in the Telegraph claimed the university is holding back announcing confirmation of the body being that of Richard III because of a Channel 4 documentary to be screened in January.
Mr Taylor said: "It is completely unfair to say we are holding back information. We have no legal agreement with Channel 4 and the university will not benefit financially from the documentary.
"We said back in September that there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest we have found Richard III. The results of the tests will add to this and allow us to make an informed decision.
"As soon as we have the full evidence to make an academic judgement on the identity of the skeleton we will do so."
Richard III died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, the last major act in the Wars of the Roses.
His demise was dramatised by Shakespeare, who had the king calling out "a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse" before being killed on the battlefield.