Pressing Richard III archaeology appeal

As some of you may be aware, excavations were planned later this summer in Leicester, at a site thought to be the last resting place of English king Richard III. His body was said to have been buried by the Franciscan monks there (the Greyfriars), but the church was demolished centuries ago and its location built over repeatedly. It is presently a parking lot.

[sorry, picture deleted at Ms. Langley’s request. Apparently the location is supposed to be a secret. Apologies to Ms. Langley and anyone else to whom I should apologize.]

The excavations, prepared for with various ultrasound and imaging technologies to locate an exact site, and undertaken under the supervision of scholars at the University of Leicester and elsewhere, were planned to start in August 2012. Unfortunately, one of the sponsors has pulled out at the last minute, leaving a shortfall of £10,000 that will end the excavations for this year. As the area is under commercial development, it’s of some urgency that the excavations, if they are to be conducted, be initiated and completed as soon as possible, before the site gets built over again.

The effort itself is of some cultural interest, as it is the first ever archaeological excavation in search of the remains of an anointed English monarch. (I’m no expert on English history, but I guess we either know for certain where all the other ones are buried, or are completely clueless as to their gravesites?). I can’t resist mentioning that it would be interesting to have a discussion here about the practice of archaeological excavations of gravesites in general. Should a body be found, DNA analysis will be performed to determine as closely as possible its identity, and should it be reasonably identified as Richard III, the remains will be laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral with appropriate obsequies.

Anyway, talk about burying the lede. The main point of this post:

In order to initiate the project this year, the unanticipated shortfall must be made up in pledges by July 20, 2012.

Phillippa Langley, the screenwriter of the Richard III project in which Richard Armitage is interested, has sent out a personal appeal asking for pledges to cover the sudden shortfall. Langley informs us that Armitage is aware of this project but not personally involved in it. I’m not posting the flyer she sent me here, as it includes her personal data, but if you are interested in pledging and would like to see a copy of her personal appeal, leave a note in the comments and I’ll email it to you.

More details about the project and Langley’s appeal, including a form that you can use to make a pledge to help support this project, can be found at the King Richard Armitage website here.


Want to express your support for Richard Armitage’s artistic interest in a Richard III project? Sign the petition.

~ by Servetus on July 11, 2012.

11 Responses to “Pressing Richard III archaeology appeal”

  1. Ooh interesting…especially as Leicester is where I live and I had no idea about this. There is of course, the possibility that my dad has mentioned it to me and I’ve promptly forgotten (happens a lot)! I’m pretty sure I know where the site is as there’s been massive controversy over it’s redevelopment…and not because of what may lie beneath it.


  2. What an endeavor to find King Richard. I would like to be there and see what the archaeological team can unearth.
    Kathrynruthd, you fortunate, please keep us updated, if you hear some local news about it. I am really curious about the whole approach and hope it can fund the gap in time and start as planned.
    We no longer need to search for RA, as he is promised to attend ComicCon, but now we have a new search, for his king of interest Richard III. ;o)


    • Maybe once they dig up RIII, we can hold him hostage until someone agrees to make a film with RA in it.


      • Oh, what a brilliant idea, Servetus. I am part of the team ;o)
        Just imagined what the headline in newspapers would be 😉 – ‘bones for film’


  3. […] And finally — it went under in the general excitement of last week — supporters of a project to excavate the possible resting place of English king Richard III in Leicester need £10,000 by July 20. Information about the project and pledging in support are found here. […]


  4. You’ve reminded me that I asked my dad about this and he, who always seems to know about everything, knew nothing! Although after talking to him I think I was wrong about the location!


  5. Thought you might be interested to read this:


  6. […] Today’s press reports from the University of Leicester confirm what’s been rumored for weeks — that multiple types of evidence definitively link the remains found in their excavation during the summer of 2012 to Richard III. This find is certainly significant for archaeologists, Ricardians and others with emotional ties to the Richard story, those among the Richard Armitage fan community who support Armitage’s ambitions, and, of course, for royalists everywhere. Congratulations to Philippa Langley et al. for their perseverance in pursuing their goals — and a special thanks to those fellow Armitage fans and all the others who donated their own money for the excavation when a big donor pulled out at the last second this s…. […]


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