World’s first image of Grey Friars skull unveiled

Did this head once bear the English Crown?

Today the University of Leicester, with Channel 4, has unveiled the world’s first photograph of the human remains found at the Grey Friars church – which could be that of King Richard III.

The image is released in advance of the University of Leicester’s major announcement detailing the results of its investigations into the skeleton’s identity on Monday, February 4 at 10am.

The image displays the shape of the Grey Friars skeleton’s skull.  The University has investigated the skull for signs of damage to the back of the head - potentially caused by battle injuries.

The University has released the image after months of skeletal analysis by Dr Jo Appleby, Lecturer in Human Bioarchaeology in the University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, who led the exhumation of the remains in September 2012.

Dr Appleby said: “The skull was in good condition, although fragile, and was able to give us detailed information about this individual. It has been CT scanned at high resolution in order to allow us to investigate interesting features in as much detail as possible.

“In order to determine whether this individual is Richard III we have built up a biological profile of its characteristics. We have also carefully examined the skeleton for traces of a violent death.”

The remains were found at the place where Richard III is believed to have been buried after his death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

The skeleton showed evidence of what was believed to be scoliosis and battle trauma –signs that suggest it may be the remains of the medieval monarch.

The University will announce the results of its rigorous scientific investigations in front of over 140 journalists from across the globe converging on the University of Leicester Council Chamber.

The University of Leicester, in association with Leicester City Council and the Richard III Society, is leading the Search for Richard III.

The Search for Richard III is also the subject of a Channel 4 documentary made by Darlow Smithson Productions.

The documentary makers had exclusive access to the search team during the archaeological dig and during the scientific tests to determine the skeleton’s identity.

Their documentary, Richard III: King in the Car Park, can be seen at 9pm on Channel 4 today (Monday, February 4). More information about Channel 4’s Richard III: King in the Car Park documentary can be found at:

The public can find more information about the Search for Richard III at the University of Leicester website:

You can also follow the announcement on Twitter by following the University of Leicester (@uniofleicester).

Attached files
  • The skull of the skeleton found at the Grey Friars excavation in Leicester, potentially that of King Richard III. Image credit: University of Leicester

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