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Hands-on at this exhibit

  • Win prizes in the History Mystery Challenge.
  • See demonstrations of medieval weapons and steel armour.
  • Explore a life-sized 3D replica of Richard III’s skeleton.
  • Play a DNA inheritance game.

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The discovery of King Richard III’s skeleton has been the scientific detective story of the decade.

 
Watch Richard's remains video on how scientists are solving a 500-year mystery.

In this exhibit, the crack team of scientists, historians, archaeologists and engineers from the University of Leicester talk through their work to find and identify the king who’d been lost for 500 years.

After his death in battle in 1485, the precise location of Richard III’s grave had been lost. An archaeological survey 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 deformity, 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. And genealogists tracked down living descendants of Richard's family who donated DNA samples for geneticists to analyse.

Combining all the information, the evidence is overwhelming that the skeleton under the car park is that of Richard III - the last King of England to die in battle.

Lead image: The skull of Richard III - the last king of England to die in battle - discovered with his skeleton in 2012 under a car park. Credit: Carl Vivian, University of Leicester.