Work to begin on new dig at Richard III site

Posted by pt91 at Jun 28, 2013 12:35 PM |
World-renowned archaeological team from University of Leicester to return to historic site
Work to begin on new dig at Richard III site

Work begins on removing the Victorian wall. Credit: University of Leicester

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 28 June 2013

PHOTOCALL:  8am -8.30am on Monday 1 July at the Greyfriars dig site (pedestrian access via Hotel Street/St Martin’s Square entrance  LE1 5AW) in Leicester City Centre. There is on –street pay-and-display parking and nearby car parks.  There is no parking at the dig site.

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Search for Richard III press pack (images and background information)

The University of Leicester team that uncovered the remains of King Richard III under a car park is to return to the historic site to begin work on a new dig.

And for the man who led the archaeological project which discovered the burial and announced the fact to the world – it’s all in a day’s work!

Richard Buckley, Co-Director of University of Leicester Archaeological Services, said: “I get a buzz out of archaeology - that is why I have been doing the job for the past 30 years. The discovery of a King aside, it is the joy of archaeological research, and what we uncover about the past, that spurs me on.

“It is true that things might never be the same for us again as global attention focuses on our spectacular find, but we are not in the business of finding named individuals.  Rather, it is the new light that archaeology shines on how we lived in the past that is also exciting.

“It will be emotional no doubt to return to the site where we made our discovery last August.  I have been back many times with media and groups to talk about the discovery, but being back at the actual site for a dig will be something else. I can’t wait.”

The archaeological dig at the site is due to start on Monday 1 July. Work is now underway to remove a wall at the city council car park to make way for the dig.

Archaeologists from University of Leicester want to extend their excavation to discover more about the Church of the Grey Friars where King Richard III was buried.

The excavation team will also exhume a 600-year-old stone coffin that should contain a high status burial, perhaps even the remains of a medieval knight called Sir William Moton, who is believed to have been buried at the site in 1362 – over a century before King Richard III.

Part of a Victorian wall, which separates the former Alderman Newton School and 6-8 St Martins, is being carefully taken down ahead of the  dig, which will take place throughout July. The wall will be partly rebuilt once the dig is complete.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “I have no doubt that there are more exciting discoveries to be made within the old Grey Friars church.

“Removing part of this wall will allow the University to carry out this important excavation.  This will be done very carefully so that the wall can be partially reinstated, while allowing as many people as possible to see the excavation site when the new King Richard III Centre opens next year.”

Mathew Morris, who discovered the remains of Richard III when machining the first trench in 2012, will be supervising the fieldwork and added: “This will be a great opportunity to confirm the plan of the east end of the Grey Friars church and  to learn more about its dating and architecture. It will also give us the chance to investigate other burials known to be inside the building.”

A viewing platform will be built in the playground of the former Alderman Newton School, which is accessed from St Martins.  This will allow visitors to view the archaeological dig in progress from the second week of July onwards.

Leading UK construction and infrastructure company Morgan Sindall is currently on site constructing a King Richard III Visitor Centre to showcase some of the finds from the site. Morgan Sindall is working with the archaeological team to enable access to the site whilst building work continues.

Richard Fielding, area director for Morgan Sindall, said: “The discovery of Richard III’s resting place captured the world’s attention, and we are honoured to be able to help the University of Leicester continue with their discoveries at the site of the Church of the Grey Friars. It isn’t every day that we’re joined by a team of archaeologists on one of our developments and we look forward to them unearthing more details of our history.”

The University is due to begin its excavation on Monday, July 1. It is expected to take around four weeks.  Latest information on the progress of the dig, and more, can be found on our Richard III website: http://www.le.ac.uk/richardiii/

  • The Dig for Richard III was led by the University of Leicester, working with Leicester City Council and in association with the Richard III Society.  The originator of the Search project was Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society

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