Stone Coffin At King Richard III Site Will Be Opened

A stone coffin discovered at the site where King Richard III’s remains were found will be opened by archaeologists. The tomb is the only intact ancient stone coffin in Leicester.

It is possible that the coffin contains the remains of a knight or a high-status friar thought to be buried at the English friary. The site of Grey Friars was uncovered last year under a parking lot.

The dig revealed the remains of King Richard III, who ruled from 1483 until 1485, reports Discovery News. Along with the remains of Richard III, archaeologists also found several other graves, including the stone coffin. Researchers think the coffin was buried about 100 years before the former King.

Richard III’s skeleton was removed from the dig site last summer, but researchers returned to the site this year for a fresh excavation of the old friary. In doing so, they expect to open the stone coffin in the coming days.

Researchers believe the coffin contains the remains of Sir William de Moton of Peckleton, a knight who died somewhere between 1356 and 1362. If not, it is possible the remains belong to one of the heads of the Grey Friars, namely Peter Swynsfeld or William of Nottingham.

But the only way to find out what’s inside the coffin is to have a look. Site director Matthew Morris, of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) stated that he and his team will measure and take photos of the coffin, notes LiveScience.

After doing so, they will lift the lid of the ancient stone coffin. Morris has added that the opening will happen out of view of the media. While researchers continue to work at the site where he was found, King Richard III’s remains are set to be interred again. But this time, the Leicester Cathedral announced it will be a much nicer burial.

The cathedral plans a $1.5 million plan to rebury the king in a newly-built raised tomb inside the church. As for the remains of whoever is buried in the stone coffin? Only time will tell who the person was and where they may be buried next.

[Image via ShutterStock]