Andrew James John Mackenzie
an historiography
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Richard of York gave battle in vain


After much deliberation, scientists and academics have concluded that the remains found in a Leicestershire car park belong to the notorious King Richard III. Experts from the University of Leicester have proclaimed that DNA retrieved from the interned bones matches that of the English king’s descendants. At a press conference, lead archaeologist, Richard Buckley, has confirmed that “[b]eyond reasonable doubt it’s Richard.”

Upon discovery of the skeleton, archaeologists revealed that King Richard III had suffered ten injuries following his defeat and death at Bosworth Field in 1485, including eight individual injuries to his skull. One was a "slice" removing a flap of bone, the other was caused by bladed weapon which went through and hit the opposite side of the skull, reaching a depth of more than 10cm.

 

According to Dr. Jo Appleby, an osteo-archaeologist from the University of Leicester School of Archaeology and Ancient History, the injuries suggest that Richard suffered from a number of particularly severe injuries indeed: This discovery will evoke new understandings of the ill-fated king, paving the way for new histories and a complete reassessment of the character, reputation and significance of King Richard III. Reexamining source material and the traditional ethos should reveal a greater insight into the last of the Plantagenet dynasty and the supposed end of the Middle Ages.
 

"In the case of the larger wound, if the blade had penetrated 7cm into the brain, which we cannot determine from the bones, death would have been instantaneous."


In addition, King Richard III, the two year sovereign ruler, might well have suffered from apparent “humiliation injuries” including a number of slashes or stabs across the face and the side of the head. Appleby also uncovered evidence of especially suggestive injuries, including a pelvic wound probably caused by an upward thrust of a poled weapon, through the buttock.

 

Following the battle at Bosworth Field, the deceased king was buried hurriedly beneath the Church of Greyfriars in the town of Leicester. Experts revealed that the grave was excavated clumsily and insufficiently, leaving but only a small space for the king’s remains. Indeed:
 

"[t]here was no evidence of a coffin or shroud which would have left the bones in a more compact position. Unusually, the arms are crossed and this could be an indication the body was buried with the wrists still tied."


This discovery will evoke new understandings of the ill-fated king, paving the way for new histories and a complete reassessment of the character, reputation and significance of King Richard III. Reexamining source material and the traditional ethos should reveal a greater insight into the last of the Plantagenet dynasty and the supposed end of the Middle Ages.


 

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Nick Britten and Andrew Hough, “Richard III: skeleton is the king,” The Daily Telegraph, 4 February 2013 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9846693/Richard-III-skeleton-is-the-king.html. Copyright © 2013 Telegraph Media Group Limited.
 
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