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 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........
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