Washington: King Richard III was casually placed in a badly-prepared grave, suggesting that gravediggers were in a hurry to bury him, a new study has revealed.
University of Leicester archaeologists have revealed for the first time specific details of the grave dug for King Richard III, which was discovered under a car park in Leicester in February.
It followed a three-week dig started in August 2012 at what was once the medieval Grey Friars church in Leicester – now a Leicester City Council car park.
The paper reveals that the king’s grave was too short for him and had an untidy “lozenge” shape, with the bottom of the grave much smaller than it was at ground level.
The head was propped up against one corner of the grave, suggesting the gravediggers had made no attempt to rearrange the body once it had been lowered in.
There were also no signs of a shroud or coffin.
This is in stark contrast to the other medieval graves found in the town, which were the correct length and were dug neatly with vertical sides.
This may show that the gravediggers were in a hurry to put the body in the ground – or had little respect for the deceased.
This is in keeping with accounts from the medieval historian Polydore Vergil, who said Richard III was buried “without any pomp or solemn funeral”.
The findings are published in the journal Antiquity.