The remains of Richard III could have been relegated to the wasteland of history.
Leading archaeologist Richard Buckley revealed the skeleton was nearly destroyed when a 19th century toilet was built above it.
The controversial king was buried just 68cm under the flag stones of Greyfriars monastery in Leicester but narrowly avoided colliding with the foundations of an outhouse.
The grave was only slightly disturbed by the toilet, which missed the monarch's body by a few inches when it was installed.
Project archaeologist Mr Buckley said that the king's remains were almost flushed down the pan when the outhouse was constructed in the 1800s.
He said: "The remains were very vulnerable because they were only under relatively modern debris.
"A less experienced team could easily have damaged the skeleton whilst using a mechanical digger to open the trench.
"There was trauma to the skull which we believe was caused years after death.
"A 19th-century brick outhouse came very close to destroying the grave altogether."
Richard III's skeleton was positively identified 527 years after his death after his remains were found in a council car park in Leicester