Richard III Dig: 'Strong Chance' Body Is King

Archaeologists digging beneath a car park for the remains of Richard III believe a skeleton of a man who had been shot with an arrow could be that of the dead king.

The skull shows signs of trauma consistent with wounds incurred in battle, and the man also had a curved spine - matching contemporary descriptions of the king as being a "crookback" who had one shoulder higher than the other.

Bones unearthed during the dig have been sent for DNA testing and experts believe the skeleton is "a very strong candidate" to be that of the medieval monarch.

Richard III is thought to have been buried in Leicester after his defeat in the Battle of Bosworth by Henry Tudor in 1485.

A team from the University of Leicester has been excavating the car park behind council offices in the city for three weeks.

Revealing more details about the remains at a news conference in the city, Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, said: "The skeleton was buried in a grave without a coffin. It was probably a shrouded burial, just buried in a shroud, with no grave goods.

"The head shows sign of trauma consistent with wounds incurred in battle.

"Between two of the vertebrae was an iron arrowhead, possibly with barbs and also the individual has curvature of the spine and it's a male."

When asked whether he believed it was the remains of the king, Mr Buckley said: "He's a very strong candidate indeed, but it's going to take a few weeks for the DNA analysis to come through."

The DNA samples from the skeleton will be analysed and compared with those of Michael Ibsen, a descendant of the king.

Mr Ibsen, 55, lives in London but was born in Canada to Joy Ibsen, a direct descendant of the king's eldest sister Anne of York.

Reacting to the discovery of human remains at the site, Mr Ibsen told Sky News: "It is stunning really, quite extraordinary... to find a skeleton with all the marks of Richard III, and more or less intact.

"To be a part of it in some small way is both fascinating and is really surreal.

"It is just bizarre in a way. You never know what lurks in the background of your family history. It is surprising, shocking, but fanstatically interesting."

The dig has already unearthed the Franciscan Friary which contained the church known as Grey Friars, under which the medieval monarch is believed to have been buried.

Archaeologists have also found paving stones which they believe were part of a garden which belonged to a mayor of Leicester, Robert Herrick, where it is recorded that there was a memorial to Richard III.

Research at the site, which is owned by Leicester City Council, began on August 24 with ground-penetrating radar equipment finding the best areas to begin the search.

Mr Taylor described the find as "truly remarkable" and said the search had taken "a dramatic new turn".

DNA testing will take between eight and 12 weeks, he said.

Other medieval finds from the dig include inlaid floor tiles from the cloister walk of the friary, elements of the stained glass windows of the church and a stone frieze believed to be from its choir stalls.

Mr Soulsby said: "This discovery adds a whole new dimension to a search which has already far exceeded our expectations. This is exciting news and I know that people across the world will be waiting to hear more about the university's find."

The dig is being filmed for a documentary to be broadcast later in the year.