Skip to comments.Mystery deepens in coffin-within-a-coffin found at Richard III site
Posted on 07/30/2013 7:56:16 AM PDT by Red Badger
Archaeologists have unearthed a mysterious coffin-within-a-coffin near the final resting place of Richard III.
The University of Leicester team lifted the lid of a medieval stone coffin this week the final week of their second dig at the Grey Friars site, where the medieval king was discovered in September.
This is the first fully intact stone coffin to be discovered in Leicester in controlled excavations and is believed to contain one of the friary's founders or a medieval monk.
Within the stone coffin, they found an inner lead coffin and will need to carry out further analysis before they can open the second box.
Archaeologists have taken the inner lead coffin to the University's School of Archaeology and Ancient History, and will carry out tests to find the safest way of opening it without damaging the remains within.
It took eight people to carefully remove the stone lid from the outer coffin which is 2.12 metres long, 0.6 metres wide at the "head" end, 0.3 metres wide at the "foot" end and 0.3 metres deep.
The inner coffin is likely to contain a high-status burial though we don't currently know who it contains.
Tantalisingly, the individual's feet can be seen through a hole in the bottom of the casket.
The archaeologists suspect the grave could belong to one of three prestigious figures known to buried at the friary.
These include two leaders of the English Grey Friars order - Peter Swynsfeld, who died in 1272, and William of Nottingham, who died in 1330.
Records also suggest the friary contains the grave of 'a knight called Mutton, sometime mayor of Leicester'.
Grey Friars site director Mathew Morris, of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), said: "The stone coffin was always the big thing we wanted to investigate during this dig. 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.
"None of us in the team have ever seen a lead coffin within a stone coffin before. We will now need to work out how to open it safely, as we don't want to damage the contents when we are opening the lid.
"The coffin could contain William de Moton, Peter Swynsfeld or William of Nottingham who are all important people. Swynsfeld and Nottingham were heads of the Grey Friars order in England."
Leading UK construction and infrastructure company Morgan Sindall is currently on site constructing a King Richard III Visitor Centre to showcase some of the finds from the site. Morgan Sindall is working with the archaeological team to enable access to the site whilst building work continues.
This shows lifting the lid on the Stone Coffin. Credit: University of Leicester
This is the Stone Coffin at the Greyfriars dig site. Credit: University of Leicester
Lead???? Whoever it is, somebody didn't want them to ever get out.......
Whatever happened to allowing the dead to rest in peace?
My guess is Jimmy Hoffa.
Lead???? Whoever it is, somebody didn’t want them to ever get out.......
This does not bode well for us methinks.
Headline: Construction crew drops dead on mysterious
job site, more at 11.
Whoa...now there’s some history.
Imagine if, in a strange, macabre twist, the gentlemen were still alive at burial. He awakes, tries to scratch, kick, and chew is way out, then dies of lead poisoning.
I'm assuming it is not the foundress of the Friary. I believe she was also found at the same time they found Richard.
Within the stone coffin, they found an inner lead coffinClearly, this is the final resting place of Spock, who was sent back in time after having been contaminated with ganymede radiation, during the third Star Trek reboot.
Resting in peace for these burials went away a long time ago. I believe the priory and church were destroyed as a part of Oliver Cromwell’s campaign in the 1600s and these burials were under a current parking lot. Better for history knowledge to map the site, investigate the burials, and then reinterr them in a more secure resting place.
This does not bode well for us methinks.
Headline: Construction crew drops dead on mysterious job site, more at 11.
The Black Death to make a resurgence?
Cor Blimey, they can’t X-ray it either.
And now, for something completely different.
I’m pouring salt along the doorways and windows immediately!
Salt? You’re supposed to use Salt?
OMG, I used sugar and now the giant ants are
tearing down my front door.....
May I use the lead for making ammo, now that the original user won’t need it any longer?
Wonder if this is a child? A king who was never to be.
Do use too much salt....There’s deer in them thar woods.
So does this mean they’ll let the original occupant of the grave have his place back, maybe move Richard III to Westminster Abbey? I can’t imagine the current royal descendants of German descent have any reason to oppose the last Plantagenet king getting in there?
I know, between them and the squirrels I don’t
have a blueberry left.
My time is coming though.
.... Lead coffins in the days of olde were used to bury wealthy and important people of the day. Something called logic tells me it wasn’t just used to entrap the imaginatively created Hollywood glamorized versions of undead and evil creatures and beasties. At least not very often that is LOL.
This article sheds interesting light on the use of lead in Catholic burials:
They are probably going to move all the ‘occupants’ elsewhere in time. It’s currently a parking lot............
The damned squirrels ate all my garden corn.............
No, it’s an adult. But most likely a revered person of the times. The use of lead is a preservative measure..........
Now every porcupine within ten miles will be gnawing away at your house to get the salt.
You'll be amazed at how much they eat quickly.
What did they do, bury him in a Russian Nesting Coffin?
Records also suggest the friary contains the grave of ‘a knight called Mutton, sometime mayor of Leicester’.
There’s got to be a limerick here...
I’m low on salt. Will Goofer Dust work?
Don’t forget the badgers...
..but karma has a way of anwering the score.
The drunken execution took 4 chops trying to kill him, finally the Beefeater took the ax from the executioner and finished him off.
John Paul Jones was buried in a lead casket.
In Maryland, there is an historic city called St. Mary’s, which has had and continues to have quite a bit of excavation and study. The restored parts are open to the public.
Anyway, several years ago, there were coffins discovered that had lead linings. I can’t remember anymore what the archaeologists’ thoughts were as to the reason for the use of lead. I am thinking that it would be to delay the onslaught of the soil organisms, but I am just guessing.
The people at the dig are even dressed like a contstruction crew...
Read that Richard was given a hasty burial. Here is an article that supports some of that.
“Gasps as archaeologists reveal brutal death of Richard III”
I am no student of English History. I am not little taken by the ideas of Kings & Queens. See absolutely nothing Noble about Nobility. They were men, they died like all of us.
And don’t forget to hang the garlic from the door & window lintels. Maybe use garlic salt?
OMG! I just realized: everybody always forgets to ward the FIREPLACE!
Richard is being buried in Leicester Cathedral. York is vying for him but that relocation is very doubtful. They say there is no room for this king in the Abbey although his wife is there.
Wouldn’t that mean that perhaps they thought this person was really evil.
Maybe they thought he was a vampire.
That was a good movie. I love all Johnny Depp’s movies.
Heard that he is thinking of retiring soon........
You are correct. Lead and lead oxides kill bacteria, fungus, mold mildew and algae, though they were unknown organisms at the time. Lead also would absorb all the oxygen in the coffin fairly quickly in the form of lead oxides......
Wasn’t he buried at sea? That would be a good reason...........
Vampires weren’t ‘invented’ until the 18th century......
That we know of anyways.
Investing in garlic just in case
and silver bullets...........
No, he was buried in Paris.
He’ll always have Paris............
Johnny Depp has always had a penchant for taking on eclectic roles. He may “retire” for awhile, but if a producer finds a role that’s weird enough, he may take on the job. After the Lone Ranger debacle however, he may go on extended haiatus...
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