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article imageThe search for King Richard III: Test results expected in January

By Leigh Goessl     Nov 19, 2012 in World
Leicester - Archeologists who uncovered the remains of a body suspected to be of King Richard III say the test results may not be ready until after the new year arrives.
According to the University of Leicester, due to the complexity of the tests being carried out on the skeletal remains found underneath a Leicester city parking lot in September, it is probable that results will not be ready until sometime in January.
Last summer Digital Journal reported on a search to find the final resting place of King Richard III. Information had surfaced that led historians to believe the 15th century King was buried under a parking lot in Leicester, England. Richard III had died during the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
It is widely believed King Richard III had been stripped and brought to a Franciscan Friary after his death; this Friary is known as "Greyfriars". However, over the centuries, the exact location of "Greyfriars" had been lost, but new information surfaced that led experts to believe the Friary was under a city parking lot.
As September's dig commenced, experts said there was an 80 percent chance "Greyfriars" would be uncovered during the excavations, but that finding the King's remains was "a real long shot".
Astonishingly, remains were found and the body's characteristics and injuries were consistent in what is believed to be true of King Richard III's demise. While theories have emerged, experts are careful in their conclusions until thorough testing is conducted.
The remains are being tested in many ways which include DNA testing, environmental sampling and radiocarbon dating, said the University of Leicester. Additionally, a facial reconstruction is in the works.
"The complexity and rigorousness of the tests – along with the need to find specialist facilities for some crucial stages – mean that the results of the skeleton’s identity will not come overnight," according to a press release from the University of Leicester. "After the remains were exhumed, soil samples were taken from the grave and from around the skeleton which may provide information about the burial practice and its environment together with information related to health and diet of the person."
For genetic testing, Michael Ibsen, the son of a descendant of Richard III's sister, Anne of York, has agreed to DNA testing.
Experts believe they should accurately be able to determine within an 80-year range of when the individual uncovered died.
Medieval remains uncovered at  Greyfriars  excavation site under a Leicester City parking lot in Sep...
Medieval remains uncovered at "Greyfriars" excavation site under a Leicester City parking lot in Sept. 2012
University of Leicester
image:125099:1::0
“We are looking at many different lines of enquiry, the evidence from which all add up to give us more assurance about the identity of the individual. As well as the DNA testing, we have to take in all of the other pieces of evidence which tell us about the person’s lifestyle – including his health and where he grew up," said Richard Buckley, Lead Archeologist, of the University of Leicester’s Archaeological Services.
“There are many specialists involved in the process, and so we have to coordinate all of the tests so the analysis is done in a specific order," Buckley explained. "The ancient DNA testing in particular takes time and we need to work in partnership with specialist facilities. It is not like in CSI, where DNA testing can be done almost immediately, anywhere – we are reliant on the specialist process and facilities to successfully extract ancient DNA.”
The University of Leicester, the Leicester City Council and the Richard III Society are all collaborating on this project.
According to BBC News, Professor Lynn Foxhall, of the University of Leicester, had stressed the importance of facts before saying these remains are of Richard III, but noted the "evidence is looking really good."
If the remains do indeed prove to be those of King Richard III, historians are stating the information gleaned from the discovery could potentially rewrite history.
More about richard III, king richard III, university of leicester, England, United Kingdom
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