Richard III discovery at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition

Posted by er134 at Jun 25, 2015 11:31 AM |
University of Leicester scientists present their research at public event from 30 June – 5 July 2015

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 25 June 2015

A press preview will be held on Monday 29 June 2015 at the Royal Society in London. Further details in ‘notes to editors’ section

Images and other multimedia from the Richard III project available via the online press pack at: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/for-journalists/richard-iii

The team behind the scientific detective story of the decade, the discovery of King Richard III, has been selected as one of 22 exhibitors at the Royal Society’s annual display of the most exciting cutting-edge science and technology in the UK.

The exhibit, at the prestigious Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2015, will reveal the crack team of scientists, historians, archaeologists and engineers at the University of Leicester who worked tirelessly to find and identify the king who had been lost for 500 years.

The Richard III stand will also include an incredible 3D-printed replica of King Richard III’s skeleton created by Loughborough University using CT scans undertaken by the University of Leicester’s Department of Engineering.

After his death in battle in 1485, the precise location of Richard III’s grave had been lost. An archaeological survey completed by University of Leicester’s Archaeological Services (ULAS) in 2012 under a council car park found the friary where he was rumoured to lie, and excavated a skeleton with a characteristically curved spine and battle injuries.

Studies of the bones revealed the skeleton’s age, gender and the nature of the spinal abnormality, while carbon-dating confirmed the timeframe. State-of-the-art CT scans helped to reveal details of his wounds, from which medieval weapons experts took clues.

Genealogists tracked down living descendants of Richard's family who donated DNA samples for geneticists to analyse to see if their DNA matched that of the remains.

Combining all of the information, the evidence was overwhelming, to a likelihood of 99.9999 per cent at its most conservative, that the skeleton under the car park was that of Richard III.

The team were united earlier this year to mark the reburial of King Richard III at Leicester Cathedral, more than two and a half years after he was discovered.

They will now bring together their expertise once more at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition to provide a thorough account of the interdisciplinary research used to identify the remains of King Richard III.

Dr Turi King, Lecturer in Genetics and Archaeology at the University of Leicester, led the DNA analysis of King Richard's remains. She said: “This project has been a really wonderful example of how the expertise from a number of different disciplines can be brought together to answer a specific question. It was scientific research hand-in-hand with archaeological, historical and genealogical investigation which brought this amazing project to fruition.  We hope the exhibit will be a great and fun way for people to learn about the work that went into the identification of the remains and learn more about Richard III.”

Visitors will be asked to look at the evidence the University of Leicester team uncovered during the search for Richard’s remains and asked to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ as to whether they think they found him - placing a ‘Red’ chip into the ‘No’ box, or a ‘White’ chip in to the ‘Yes’ box.

Not only will members of the public have the opportunity to meet the Richard III team and find out first-hand about the momentous discovery from start to finish, there will be an array of other exhibits exploring everything from cancer cells to plasma rockets.

Children and adults alike can also take part in other interactive elements of the stand, which include:

•       ‘The Drop’ – a device that shows how an arrowhead would impact on steel plate armour

•       Learn about the inheritance of segments of our own DNA

•       A dice game to show the probability of the skeleton found being King Richard III

•       A full suit of armour and medieval weaponry

•       Children’s fun activity sheets

•       Free wristbands to take away

The event, which runs from Tuesday 30 June to Sunday 5 July, is free entry for all ages and there is no booking required, except for school groups.

For opening times and more information visit: http://sse.royalsociety.org/2015/visit-the-exhibition/

Follow @RIIIRoyalSoc for updates on the Richard III exhibition stand.

Ends

Notes to editors:

• 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.

For more information contact Dr Turi King at: tek2@le.ac.uk or Jim Butler: jtb9@le.ac.uk

Nicola Kane

Senior Press Officer

The Royal Society, London

Email: nicola.kane@royalsociety.org

1.     Please contact the Royal Society press office to register your interest in attending the press preview on Monday 29 June.

2.     Images available on request.

3.     Summer Science Exhibition opening times:  The Exhibition is located in the Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5 AG and takes place from Tuesday 30 June to Sunday 5 July 2015. Open Tue 30 June 10am - 9pm; Wed 1 July 10am - 5pm; Thu 2 July 10am - 5pm; Fri 3 July 10am - 8pm; Sat 4 July 10am - 6pm; Sun 5 July 10am - 6pm. Note: Last entry is 30 minutes before closing time. The event is FREE and open to the public. Further information can be found at: http://sse.royalsociety.org/2015. Twitter Hashtag: #summerscience

4.     The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, reflected in its founding Charters of the 1660s, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

The Society’s strategic priorities are:

•       Promoting science and its benefits

•       Recognising excellence in science

•       Supporting outstanding science

•       Providing scientific advice for policy

•       Fostering international and global cooperation

•       Education and public engagement

For further information please visit http://royalsociety.org. Follow the Royal Society on Twitter at http://twitter.com/royalsociety or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/theroyalsociety

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