Archaeologists who discovered and helped to identify the mortal remains of King Richard III have created a 3D interactive representation of the grave and the skeleton of the king under a car park.
The team from University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) has created a fully rotatable computer model which shows the king’s remains in-situ as they were found during the 2012 archaeological excavation.
After careful excavation from the original burial site in 2012, the skull, the lower jaw, and one femur from the skeleton were placed for safe-keeping in the cleanroom in the University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre, which is normally used for the construction of spacecraft components. Due to their preservation, the teeth offered the best hope of intact mitochondrial DNA but the femur was kept as a back-up source.
Read more: King’s Skeleton Unearthed from Parking Lot
Using photographs taken during the project, sophisticated photogrammetry software has been used to create an accurate representation of the grave and the skeleton.
The interactive model, which can be explored via the 3D sharing platform Sketchfab, graphically reveals in a new and immersive way the minimal reverence with which the king was buried.
Mathew Morris, Site Supervisor for University of Leicester Archaeological Services who first discovered the remains of King Richard III on the first day of the dig under the Leicester car park, says, “Photographs and drawings of the grave, whilst dramatic, are only two-dimensional and do not always best show nuances in spatial relationships that a three-dimensional model can.
“Photogrammetry provides a fantastic analytical tool that allows us to examine the grave from angles that would have been physically difficult or impossible to achieve during the excavation, and gives us the ability to continue to examine the king’s grave long after the excavation has finished.”
Before the ancient king was reburied in a ceremony at Leicester Cathedral in March 2015, the university announced that its genetics team had collected DNA from living relatives of Richard III and analyzed several genetic markers, including the complete mitochondrial genomes, inherited through the maternal line, and Y-chromosomal markers, inherited through the paternal line, from both the skeletal remains and the living relatives.
The researchers also used genetic markers to determine hair and eye color of Richard III and found that with probably blond hair and almost certainly blue eyes Richard III looked most similar to his depiction in one of the earliest portraits of him that survived, that in the Society of Antiquaries in London.
The scientists also compared the skeleton’s DNA to samples from living relatives on Richard’s father’s side. No match was found, which questions the nobility of some royals.
The researchers could not say where on the family tree the adultery occurred, but could say that the findings potentially raise questions about the legitimacy of Henry V, Henry VI, and the entire Tudor dynasty, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
Source: University of Leicester