Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mystery deepens in coffin-within-a-coffin found at Richard III site

Date:
July 28, 2013
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Archaeologists have unearthed a mysterious coffin-within-a-coffin near the final resting place of Richard III.

This is the Stone Coffin at the Greyfriars dig site.
Credit: University of Leicester

Archaeologists have unearthed a mysterious coffin-within-a-coffin near the final resting place of Richard III.

The University of Leicester team lifted the lid of a medieval stone coffin this week -- the final week of their second dig at the Grey Friars site, where the medieval king was discovered in September.

This is the first fully intact stone coffin to be discovered in Leicester in controlled excavations -- and is believed to contain one of the friary's founders or a medieval monk.

Within the stone coffin, they found an inner lead coffin -- and will need to carry out further analysis before they can open the second box.

Archaeologists have taken the inner lead coffin to the University's School of Archaeology and Ancient History, and will carry out tests to find the safest way of opening it without damaging the remains within.

It took eight people to carefully remove the stone lid from the outer coffin -- which is 2.12 metres long, 0.6 metres wide at the "head" end, 0.3 metres wide at the "foot" end and 0.3 metres deep.

The inner coffin is likely to contain a high-status burial -- though we don't currently know who it contains.

Tantalisingly, the individual's feet can be seen through a hole in the bottom of the casket.

The archaeologists suspect the grave could belong to one of three prestigious figures known to buried at the friary.

These include two leaders of the English Grey Friars order -- Peter Swynsfeld, who died in 1272, and William of Nottingham, who died in 1330.

Records also suggest the friary contains the grave of 'a knight called Mutton, sometime mayor of Leicester'.

This may be 14th century knight Sir William de Moton of Peckleton, who died between 1356 and 1362.

However, many other people, now nameless, were also buried in the Greyfriars church -- and we may never know the identity of the person inside the coffin.

The archaeologists discovered the coffin during the first Grey Friars dig in September, but weren't able to investigate it further at the time.

The team plan to open the inner lead coffin at the University in due course.

Grey Friars site director Mathew Morris, of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), said: "The stone coffin was always the big thing we wanted to investigate during this dig. For me, it was as exciting as finding Richard III. We still don't know who is inside -- so there is still a question mark over it.

"None of us in the team have ever seen a lead coffin within a stone coffin before. We will now need to work out how to open it safely, as we don't want to damage the contents when we are opening the lid.

"The coffin could contain William de Moton, Peter Swynsfeld or William of Nottingham -- who are all important people. Swynsfeld and Nottingham were heads of the Grey Friars order in England."

Leading UK construction and infrastructure company Morgan Sindall is currently on site constructing a King Richard III Visitor Centre to showcase some of the finds from the site. Morgan Sindall is working with the archaeological team to enable access to the site whilst building work continues.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Mystery deepens in coffin-within-a-coffin found at Richard III site." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130728221522.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2013, July 28). Mystery deepens in coffin-within-a-coffin found at Richard III site. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130728221522.htm
University of Leicester. "Mystery deepens in coffin-within-a-coffin found at Richard III site." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130728221522.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battle of New Orleans Cannon Gets New Carriage

Battle of New Orleans Cannon Gets New Carriage

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) A Spanish cannon used in the Battle of New Orleans and weighing nearly 3 tons was lowered Tuesday by pulleys, chains and muscle onto a new gun carriage like one that might have held it once aboard a navy ship. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) A 2,000 year-old Pre-Inca cloak that is believed to represent an agricultural calendar of the Paracas culture is on display in Lima. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Original Mozart Sonata Manuscript Found in Budapest

Original Mozart Sonata Manuscript Found in Budapest

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Considered lost for over two centuries, the original manuscript of one of the most famous works of Mozart's Sonata in A major has been uncovered in a library in Budapest. Duration: 01:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins