Greyfriars Project - update, Tuesday 28 August

Posted by mjs76 at Aug 28, 2012 05:20 PM |
Today, the University of Leicester, which is leading the archaeological search for the burial place of King Richard III with Leicester City Council, in association with the Richard III Society, has discovered several archaeological remains at the site which are believed to be of medieval date.

The remains are very possibly medieval walls but this is subject to confirmation tomorrow. We will also seek to establish if these are part of the medieval Greyfriars site where Richard III was buried.

Co-Director of University of Leicester Archaeological Services, Richard Buckley said, “The search for Richard goes on - it is still a long shot, but the archaeological work we have done so far is revealing more about the archaeology of the Greyfriars area than we ever knew before. In that respect, whatever the outcome - whether we find Richard or not - this work is an advance in terms of helping us to tell the story of the city of Leicester. I am delighted that the University of Leicester is playing a pivotal role in the telling of that story.”

The dig is being filmed for a forthcoming Channel 4 documentary to be aired later this year.

Regular updates will follow over the coming days.


Account by Richard Buckley

Archaeologist, University of Leicester

"The project began on Saturday 25 August, the anniversary of Richard III’s burial.

"University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) had three archaeologists supervising the machining of trench one, 30 metres long, removing the modern car park surface and hardcore formation, and machining through 18th and 19th century garden soils to get down to the top of the medieval layer - around 1.5 metres below present ground level. Work was slowed a little by the tough brick foundations of 20th century outbuildings, but once these were removed it soon became clear how deep the trench needed to go to reach the top of the medieval layer.

"Removal of the modern deposits revealed a lot of stone rubble an,d on the second day, University archaeologists began machining the second trench. This was much easier than the first as, by now, we knew what level to go to and we also knew that there were not so many later buildings that we had to machine through.

"Having machined the trenches to the correct level - 1.5 metres deep (500 years' worth of archaeology) - our next task was to clean up the exposed surfaces and to try and clarify the nature of the archaeological features revealed.

"ULAS had four archaeologists doing much more precise work scraping the surfaces with pointing trowels and removing loose modern material to reveal the archaeological deposits. 

"The search for Richard will go on. Watch this space…"