Archaeologists from the University of Leicester in the UK announced that remains found underneath a parking lot are those of King Richard III, the last English king to have died in battle. The researchers combined archaeological, historical, and genetic analyses to study the bones, The New York Times reports.
King Richard III was killed during the War of the Roses' Battle of Bosworth Field, and was buried at Greyfriars, which, eventually, was covered over by the parking lot, LiveScience adds.
The bones themselves supported the claim that they belonged to Richard III. Radiocarbon dating placed them as belonging to someone who died between 1455 and 1540, the Times says, noting that the battle during which Richard III died took place in August of 1485. Further, the skeleton was marked by scoliosis, which the king had, and it exhibited battle wounds. As The Guardian reports, the bones indicate that the king died due to an ax blow to the head, though the skeleton showed evidence of a number of other wounds as well.
The researchers also traced the direct descendants of Richard III's sister, Anne of York, to two living people, The Times says. Mitochondria samples from the modern descendants matched those obtained from the remains samples, The Guardian adds.
"We knew then, beyond reasonable doubt, that this was Richard III," Richard Taylor, the University of Leicester registrar, says. "We're certain now, as certain as you can be of anything in life."
However, the Nature News Blog notes "a twitter of discontent" from some scientists who wonder why the research team made such an announcement rather than waiting for the peer-review process to play out.