Next King to Be Dug Up: Alfred the Great?

Archaeologists plan to look for him in unmarked grave
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2013 12:58 PM CST
Next King to Be Dug Up: Alfred the Great?
Alfred the Great.   (Wikimedia Commons)

Now that Richard III's skeleton has been found in a parking lot, archaeologists are turning their attention to Alfred the Great. The Anglo-Saxon king, who ruled from 871 to 899, is believed to be buried in an unmarked grave at England's St. Bartholomew's Church, and researchers are applying for permission to dig up the spot in question. But it could prove to be a harder job than identifying Richard III, the Telegraph reports, citing an article in the Times.

Whereas Richard still has two living relatives, in Alfred's case, an archaeologist explains: "The problem is, where would we get a comparative sample from? It’s a hell of a lot further to go back to trace a living descendant." But the team believes their evidence that the remains might belong to Alfred is even greater than the evidence the Richard III team had. Their plan is to radiocarbon-date the bones, and if they're from the correct era, start a search for living relatives. (More Alfred the Great stories.)

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