The amazing discovery of the “skeleton in the carpark” has captivated history buffs and scientists alike.
Next week, the mystery of whether bones found on a nondescript piece of council land in Leicester belong to one of England’s most iconic monarchs, Richard III, is finally set to be solved.
And for one Leeds expert, the news will mean the end of more than four months of painstaking research and investigation.
The Royal Armouries’ curator of European edged weapons, Bob Woosnam-Savage, was invited to join the Greyfriars’ research team by the University of Leicester following the discovery last September.
As part of the crack team, he helped carry out a barrage of scientific studies on the bones to see if the skeleton belongs to Richard III – who died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
The team’s eagerly-awaited findings are set to be unveiled at a press conference on Monday and during a Channel 4 documentary broadcasting at 9pm the same day.
Bob told the YEP: “The problem with looking for Richard was that tradition described his body as having been disturbed during the Dissolution in 1538, when Greyfriars was demolished, and his remains were thrown into, or buried near, the River Soar, which runs through the city.
“We know that Richard died at Bosworth and amazingly this skeleton bore the trauma of battle.
“Using our expertise, we have supported the team by looking at weapons that may have been used to kill this individual, and built up a blow-by-blow account showing of how he may possibly have met his end.”
The scientific investigation began when a skeleton was excavated during an archaeological project at the former site of Greyfriars Church, in Leicester.
The church was believed to be the final resting place of the last Plantagenet king, Richard III, who had been buried there in August 1485, after his defeat by Henry VII, father of Henry VIII.
After the bones were excavated, Bob’s role was to use his expertise and knowledge of medieval weapons to examine trauma to the skeleton – and to try to establish how the person met his violent death.
Since its excavation, the Greyfriars’ skeleton has been studied for four months by different specialists, all working in different areas including DNA testing, carbon-dating, dental tests to establish diet, osteology and forensic pathology.
Bob is due to attend the press conference in Leicester on Monday.
He added: “The question will be answered on Monday – has Richard, a ‘lost king’ of England, really been found after nearly 530 years?”