Search for Richard III extended to a third week

Posted by mjs76 at Sep 10, 2012 03:21 PM |
More than 1,500 people visit car park to see archaeological dig.

The search by University of Leicester archaeologists for the final resting place of Richard III, originally announced as a two-week project, has been so successful that Leicester City Council have given permission for continuation into a third week of digging.

No-one knew what to expect when the first bit of tarmac came up. There could have been nothing – that’s the nature of archaeology. Instead, the search has produced:

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Some of the artefacts uncovered were on display.
  • Confirmation that the site is the Grey Friars friary
  • The location of the eastern cloister walk and the chapter house
  • The garden of Robert Herrick, wherein stood the last known monument recording Richard’s grave
  • An extensive range of medieval artefacts including floor tiles, parts of a stained glass window, a stone frieze and a silver penny.

On Saturday, when the site was opened up to the public, more than 1,500 people – including children – queued up to be shown around the car park. University archaeologists were on hand to point out features in the trenches and discuss the project, and some of the recovered artefacts were on show. Some of the more passionate subsequently crossed the road to Leicester Cathedral and laid white roses on the King’s memorial stone.

Meanwhile, international press interest continues with recent features on the BBC News website and the Los Angeles Times website both topping their respective ‘most read’ lists.

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Queue for the theatre? For a concert? No, these people are queuing to look round a car park.

Statement from Richard Buckley

co-director of University of Leicester Archaeological Services

“There was an incredible turnout at the dig and the level of public interest in our work is phenomenal. I would like to thank the public for their generous support and it has provided huge motivation for us to continue our quest.

“We are now tantalisingly close in our search and will investigate the choir where Richard is presumed to be buried. Whether we find Richard or not, this dig has been a huge success in terms of revealing the heritage of Leicester and I am proud that the University of Leicester has played a pivotal role in the telling of that story.

“There has been global media attention on this dig which is a measure of the power of archaeology to excite the public imagination.”

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University archaeologists were on hand to answer visitors' questions.
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Richard Buckley from University of Leicester Archaeological Services explains the dig to visitors.
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Philippa Langley from the Richard III Society shows visitors around the site.