Richard III Had a Posh Neighbor Under Parking Lot

Lead coffin found, a century older than nearby king's plot
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2013 11:23 AM CDT
Richard III Had a Posh Neighbor Under Parking Lot
The skeleton's feet are visible as water trickled through the ground and degraded the lead coffin.   (University of Leicester)

Who knew a British parking lot would be the archaeological gift that keeps on giving? Investigators at the Leicester site where Richard III's bones were found last year have uncovered an adjacent grave with all the splendor that the king's plot lacked. The mystery neighbor—whose feet are just visible due to water damage—was sealed in a lead coffin adorned with a cross inside a limestone sarcophagus—the lid of which took eight people to lift, the Guardian reports. Considering they were placed in the ground a century before the onetime king of England, the bones are in very good condition, the site director said.

"For me, it was as exciting as finding Richard III. We still don't know who is inside—so there is still a question mark over it," he told the BBC. There are three people known to be buried in the area—two religious leaders and a knight—but the team will have to wait patiently until winter to open the coffin and inspect the bones under carefully controlled conditions. Even then, there's no guarantee they'll discover who was given such a lavish burial. Seven graves have so far been found and identifying them all may prove impossible, the Guardian notes. (More Richard III stories.)

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