A skeleton unearthed last year from under a parking lot has been confirmed as that of England’s King Richard III, who died in a battle some 500 years ago.
Scientists with the University of Leicester, U.K. reported Monday that they unanimously identified the remains discovered in Leicester city center as being those of the king who died in 1485 after a brief reign.
An array of evidence was described as evidence of the confirmation including DNA analysis, radiocarbon dating and skeletal examination, proving the identity of the skeleton found under a parking lot, the site of a medieval church called Grey Friars.
“The individual exhumed at Grey Friars in August 2012 is indeed King Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England,” said Richard Buckley, the lead archaeologist on the project.
Richard III reigned from 1483 to 1485 after seizing the throne from his nephew Edward V, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London and murdered.
University of Leicester geneticist Turi King said he confirmed that DNA from the Grey Friars skeleton matches that of two of Richard III’s family descendants, Canadian-born furniture maker Michael Ibsen and a second person who wishes to remain anonymous.
“The DNA sequence obtained from the Grey Friars skeletal remains was compared with the two maternal line relatives of Richard III. We were very excited to find that there is a DNA match between the maternal DNA from the family of Richard III and the skeletal remains we found at the Grey Friars dig,” King said.
A skeletal analysis carried out by University of Leicester osteoarchaeologist Jo Appleby showed the individual was man in his late 20s or 30s. Richard III was 32 when he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
The exhumed man had a slender physique and severe scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, possibly with one shoulder visibly higher than the other, scientists said.
This, they added, is consistent with descriptions of Richard III’s appearance from the time.
Trauma to the skeleton indicated that the individual died after one of two significant wounds to the back of the skull, possibly caused by a sword and a halberd, experts said. This is consistent with contemporary accounts of Richard being killed after receiving a blow to the back of his head.
The skeleton also showed a number of non-fatal injuries to the head, rib and pelvis, believed to have been caused by a wound through the right buttock, which scientists said may have been caused by “humiliation injuries” after death.