Old Kings and New Technologies

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King Richard, Reconstructed
King Richard, Reconstructed

The skull of King Richard the Third has been found under a parking lot in Leicester, England.  Yes, we realize that this isn’t really what would normally show up on a site about technology, but using scans of the skull, DNA tracing and some serious detective work, technology has been used to recreate a face of a king.

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Richard was England’s last Plantagenet and warrior king.  After he was killed in battle, he was known as a villainous character in literary works by the likes of William Shakespeare.

Philipa Langley, who was overwhelmed by the results of the find, made the launch for the search of King Richard III.

King Richard's Skull
Is this King Richard’s Skull?

The recreation of the face has a little bit of a younger and fuller look about it – much different from the older portraits of King Richard III, and even has just a hint of a smile. The identification of the remains came from a comparison of the skeleton’s DNA with that of Michael Ibsen, a Canadian descendent of Richard’s older sister, Anne of York.

[…”We found the body on the first day within four hours, and in the exact place I said he would be. But we didn’t know it was Richard then; we’d only started digging.

The archaeologists had to continue to dig the site, because we didn’t even know if we were in the Grey Friars precinct site. A week later, we discovered what looked to be the church, and then the archaeologists wanted to dig in another trench because it was farther east, and we know Richard was buried in the choir, which is in the east. So that decision made sound sense. But I’d spent 7½ years, by this point, getting to the car park; I wanted the remains found farther to the west exhumed, because that was part of my journey. We exhumed them on Days 11 and 12 of the dig and it turned out to be him””…]

– Philippa Langley, secretary of the Scottish Branch of the Richard III Society

Reconstruction of King Richard
The Facial Reconstruction of King Richard

The reconstruction of the skull was done by use of a scientific approach to determine the features based upon markers on the skull itself, using 3D printing technology.

The Franciscan monks of Grey Friars in Leicester buried King Richard III, but the location of the grave was forgotten after King Henry VIII dissolved the monastery about half a century later.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. As an fellow countrywoman, its thrilling to finally know that King Richard has been found.

    not so much for the cultural implications, but the brilliant science we get to do 😉

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