King Richard III found in 'untidy lozenge-shaped  grave (Credit: University of Leicester)
King Richard III found in 'untidy lozenge-shaped grave (Credit: University of Leicester)

Were gravediggers in a hurry to bury King Richard III following his untimely death on the battlefields? So suggests the untidy lozenge-shaped grave of the last Plantagenet king found in Leicester City Council Park.

The first ever scholarly peer-reviewed paper published on the renowned search and discovery of Richard III by the University of Leicester revealed that the slain king was buried in a hurriedly dug grave.

In February 2012, the university publically revealed that they had discovered Richard III. A three-week long excavation was carried out in August 2012, in the Leicester City Council Car Park where the medieval Grey Friars church was located.

press release issued by the university this week, reveals that the king was buried in a grave that was "too short for him' and had an untidy 'lozenge' shape with the floor of the grave much smaller than the top portion.

The paper by a team from the University of Leicester Archeological Services, School of Archeology and Ancient History, and Department of Genetics is published in the journal Antiquity.

Various findings of the paper said that Richard III was oddly placed in a roughly prepared grave suggesting that gravediggers had hastily buried him. His skelton remains were crammed and the skull was propped up in an odd position.

Evidence suggests that the king's hand was tied when he was buried. There were also no signs of a shroud or a coffin.

Arrangement of Richard III's grave severely contrasts with other medieval graves discovered in the city, which were in correct length and dug neatly.

The findings are in accordance with the records from the medieval historian Polydore Vergil, who said Richard III was buried 'without any pomp or solemn funeral."

According to a statement by the researchers, "The radiocarbon evidence on the male skeleton of the severe scoliosis, trauma consistent with injuries in battle and potential peri-mortem 'humiliation injuries, combined with the mtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA) match with two independent, well-verified matrilineal descendants all point clearly to the identification of this individual as King Edward III. Indeed, it is difficult to explain the combined evidence as anyone else."

Richard III was named the Lord Protector of the empire for Edward V, the son of his brother Edward IV, who was to be coroneted to the throne, after his father's death .The young prince along with his brother was declared as illegitimate and Richard III was crowned as the king.

The children known commonly as the Princes in the Tower are assumed to be murdered shortly afterwards by the orders of Richard III. Richard III, considered the most infamous King of England ruled the kingdom for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 in the Battle of Bosworth Field known also as the War of the Roses, which is usually regarded as the end of middle ages in England. The famous play by Shakespeare, Richard III, is based on him.

According to the press release, the search for Richard III was led by Leicester University with the help of Leicester City Council and Richard III Society. New excavations to study more about the disposal of his body will be carried out in July at the Grey Friars site.

Channel 4 is releasing DVDs of its documentary on the discovery of King Richard's remains from May 27 onwards.