Archaeologists hunting for the lost grave of King Richard III under a city centre car park have found human bones, the team carrying out the dig said on Wednesday.
Researchers from the University of Leicester in central England have sent the remains for DNA testing to prove whether or not they are the bones of the medieval king.
The team, which has been excavating the car park behind council offices in Leicester for three weeks, is set to reveal more details about the remains at a press conference.
“What we have uncovered is truly remarkable and today we will be announcing to the world that the search for King Richard III has taken a dramatic new turn,” University of Leicester researcher Richard Taylor said.
Richard is believed to have been buried in Leicester after his defeat at the Battle of Bosworth by Henry Tudor in 1485.
This saw Henry seize the crown and become King Henry VII.
The team used ground-penetrating radar equipment to pinpoint the best areas of the car park to begin the search.
Taylor said the team has DNA from a man who is a direct descendant of the Richard’s eldest sister, Anne of York, for matching purposes.
“We have sent the remains off to the laboratory for analysis. DNA testing will take between 8 and 12 weeks and the remains are being analysed as we speak,” he added. “It is an exciting discovery.
The dig has already revealed a Franciscan friary containing a church called Grey Friars but it is underneath this church that the king is believed to have been laid to rest.
The last known record of the grave came from Christopher Wren Senior, father of the acclaimed architect, in 1612.
Wren visited a garden at the site of Grey Friars church, where he recorded seeing a stone pillar on which was inscribed: “Here lies the body of Richard III sometime King of England”.