Thursday, April 17, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Experts find remains of England’s King Richard III

By
From page A2 | February 05, 2013 | 1 Comment

LEICESTER, England — He was king of England, but for centuries he lay without shroud or coffin in an unknown grave, and his name became a byword for villainy.

On Monday, scientists announced they had rescued the remains of Richard III from anonymity – and the monarch’s fans hope a revival of his reputation will soon follow.

In a dramatically orchestrated news conference, a team of archaeologists, geneticists, genealogists and other scientists from the University of Leicester announced that tests had proven what they scarcely dared to hope – a scarred and broken skeleton unearthed under a drab municipal parking lot was that of the 15th-century king, the last English monarch to die in battle.

Lead archaeologist Richard Butler said that a battery of tests proved “beyond reasonable doubt” that the remains were the king’s.

Lin Foxhall, head of the university’s school of archaeology, said the discovery “could end up rewriting a little bit of history in a big way.”

Few monarchs have seen their reputations decline as much after death as Richard III. He ruled England between 1483 and 1485, during the decades-long battle over the throne known as the Wars of the Roses, which pitted two wings of the ruling Plantagenet dynasty – York and Lancaster – against one another.

His brief reign saw liberal reforms, including the introduction of the right to bail and the lifting of restrictions on books and printing presses.

But his rule was challenged, and he was defeated and killed by the army of Henry Tudor, who took the throne as King Henry VII and ended the Plantagenet line. Britain’s current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is distantly related to Richard, but is not a descendant.

After his death, historians writing under the victorious Tudors comprehensively trashed Richard’s reputation, accusing him of myriad crimes – most famously, the murder of his two nephews, the “Princes in the Tower.”

William Shakespeare indelibly depicted Richard as a hunchbacked usurper who left a trail of bodies on his way to the throne before dying in battle, shouting “My kingdom for a horse.”

That view was repeated by many historians, and Richard remains a villain in the popular imagination. But others say Richard’s reputation was unjustly smeared by his Tudor successors.

Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society – which seeks to restore the late king’s reputation and backed the search for his grave –  said that for centuries Richard’s story has been told by others, many of them hostile.

She hopes a new surge of interest, along with evidence from the skeleton about how the king lived and died – and how he was mistreated after death – will help restore his reputation.

“A wind of change is blowing, one that will seek out the truth about the real Richard III,” she said.

Langley, who helped launch the search for the king, said she could scarcely believe her quest had paid off.

“Everyone thought that I was mad,” she said. “It’s not the easiest pitch in the world, to look for a king under a council car park.”

The location of Richard’s body was unknown for centuries. He died in August 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field in the English Midlands, and records say he was buried by the Franciscan monks of Grey Friars at their church in Leicester, 100 miles north of London.

The church was closed and dismantled after King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1538, and its location eventually was forgotten by most local residents.

There were tales that the king’s bones had been dug up and thrown in a nearby river in the 16th century.

Then last year a team led by University of Leicester archaeologist Richard Buckley identified a possible location of the grave through map regression analysis, starting with a current map of the general area of the former church and analyzing earlier maps to discover what had changed and not changed. Ground-penetrating radar was used to find the best places to start digging.

The team began excavating in a parking lot last August. Within a week they had located thick walls and the remains of tiled floors. Soon after, they found human remains – the skeleton of an adult male who appeared to have died in battle.

He had been buried unceremoniously, with no coffin or shroud – plausible for a despised and defeated enemy.

Increasingly excited, the researchers set out to conduct a battery of scientific tests, including radiocarbon dating to determine the skeleton’s age, to see whether, against the odds, they really had found the king.

They found the skeleton belonged to a man in his late 20s to late 30s who died between 1455 and 1540.Richard was 32 when he died in 1485.

Archaeological bone specialist Jo Appleby, a lecturer in human bioarchaeology at Leicester, said study of the bones provided “a highly convincing case for identification of Richard III.”

Appleby said the 10 injuries to the body were inflicted by weapons such as swords, daggers and halberds and were consistent with accounts of Richard being struck down in battle – his helmet knocked from his head – before his body was stripped naked and flung over the back of a horse in disgrace.

Appleby said two of the blows to the head could have been fatal. Other scars, including a knife wound to the buttock, bore the hallmarks of “humiliation injuries” inflicted after death.

The remains also displayed signs of scoliosis, a form of spinal curvature, consistent with contemporary accounts of Richard’s appearance, though not the withered arm Shakespeare describes.

DNA from the skeleton matched a sample taken from Michael Ibsen, a distant living relative of Richard’s sister. The project’s lead geneticist, Turi King, said Ibsen, a Canadian carpenter living in London, shares with the skeleton a rare strain of mitochondrial DNA. The same DNA group also matches a second living descendant, who wants to remain anonymous.

King said that between 1 and 2 percent of the population belongs to this genetic sub-group, so the DNA evidence is not definitive proof in itself of the skeleton’s identity. But combined with the archaeological evidence, it left little doubt the skeleton belonged to Richard.

Ibsen, a 17th great-grand-nephew of Richard’s older sister, said he was “stunned” by the discovery.

“It’s difficult to digest,” he said.

Some scientists felt qualms about the haste with which the Leicester team announced its results. The findings have not been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, though the university said they soon would be.

“It’s a bizarre way of going about things,” said Mark Horton, a professor of archaeology at the University of Bristol – although he said “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” identified the skeleton as Richard’s.

Archaeologist Mike Pitts, editor of British Archaeology magazine, also said he found the evidence persuasive.

“I don’t think there is any question. It is Richard III,” said Pitts, who was not affiliated with the research team.

The discovery is a boon for the city of Leicester, which has bought a building next to the parking lot to serve as a visitor center and museum.

On Monday, the king’s skeleton lay in a glass box in a meeting room within the university library. It was a browned, fragile-looking thing, its skull pocked with injuries, missing its feet – which scientists say were disturbed sometime after burial – and with a pronounced s-shape to the spine.

Soon the remains will be moved to an undisclosed secure location, and next year Richard will, at last, get aking’s burial, interred with pomp and ceremony in Leicester Cathedral.

It is a day Langley, of the Richard III Society, has dreamed of seeing.

“We have searched for him, we have found him – it is now time to honor him,” she said.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rich GiddensFebruary 05, 2013 - 1:26 pm

    Once during a rendition of Shakespeare's play Richard III the lead actor bellowed: ''A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!". A man in the audience yelled ''will a jackass do?"----to which the actor promptly replied ''Yes, come up and present yourself!"

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Supervisor candidates square off at forum

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 11 Comments | Gallery

 
Carli takes oath, now Vacaville’s 14th police chief

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Huge jump in Solano median home price

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A1, 8 Comments | Gallery

 
Donate a car, help build a house

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Solano DA hosts workshop to fight human trafficking

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 16 Comments | Gallery

Drugs topic of cardiac class

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield town hall on crime delayed

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 12 Comments

 
Railway museum offers wine-tasting rides

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Suisun Police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Weather for April 17, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

Fairfield police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Suisun City police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Armed robber was never told to report to prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Lost sea lion in California found mile from water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Body of California man who jumped into river found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Seabird from Atlantic spotted on Alcatraz

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ex-Bell city leader gets 12 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
California delays decision on protecting gray wolf

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Court rules for environmentalists in water fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Governor calls special session on rainy day fund

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Denver police eye 911 response time after killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Man charged with marathon hoax is held on bail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Geneva talks on Ukraine face steep hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Pro-Russian insurgents seize armored vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ferry sinks off South Korea; 6 dead, 290 missing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Obamacare news you probably missed

By Martin Schram | From Page: A11, 7 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 17, 2014

By Kim Durbin | From Page: A11

In support of Pam Bertani

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 12 Comments

 
Parenting demands responsibility

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
.

Living

A lesson in household budgeting

By Chris Erskine | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for April 17, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes for April 17, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Daniel Radcliffe on why New York audiences rock

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Alicia Silverstone out with book ‘Kind Mama’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Jenny McCarthy announces engagement on ‘The View’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Ailing Malcolm Young taking break from AC/DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Disney Channel’s ‘Jessie’ breaks romantic ground

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Crawford’s 41 points leads Warriors over Nuggets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vacaville’s Peralta to wrestle at San Francisco State

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Angels beat A’s 5-4 on Iannetta’s HR in 12th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
MEL, SCAC tangle in hoops all-star games

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

Sharks take goalie questions into rematch vs Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Sidney Rice agrees to terms with Seahawks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Goodwin helps Suns to 104-99 win over Kings in finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

IndyCar driver Saavedra fined $10K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sandoval’s single lifts Giants past Dodgers, 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Officer: Sharper’s DNA found on 1 Arizona victim

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Spieth ready for more after Masters success

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Backup QB Matt Flynn returns to Packers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Atlanta lands MLS expansion team for 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Yellen: Fed stimulus still needed for job market

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Some exempted from minimum wage, increased or not

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Fed survey: Growth picks up across most of US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Bank of America posts loss, hurt by legal charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Google’s 1Q earnings disappoint as ad prices slip

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9