Diggers 'tantalisingly close' to finding Richard III in Leicester car park
Archaeologists searching for Richard III have been given permission to extend their dig for a third week after getting "tantalisingly close" in their search for the king's remains.
Excavation of the Greyfriars site, in Leicester city centre, began on August 22.
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby authorised the extension after hundreds of people queued around the block to visit an open weekend at the site to glimpse the discoveries so far.
He said: "I think it is only right to allow this fascinating archaeological work to continue given its success so far.
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"The turnout at this weekend's open event showed the huge level of interest."
The University of Leicester is leading the search, in association with the Richard III Society.
Team leader Richard Buckley, co-director of University of Leicester Archaeological Services, said a number of major discoveries had been made.
The archaeologists have demonstrated the car park was built on the site of the Franciscan friary.
Specific parts of a church have been identified within the friary, including the eastern cloister walk and chapter house, giving a better picture of where the tomb could be.
Mr Buckley said: "We are tantalisingly close and will investigate the choir where Richard is presumed to be buried.
"Whether we find Richard or not, this dig has been a huge success in terms of revealing the heritage of Leicester and I am proud the University of Leicester has played a pivotal role in the telling of that story.
"There has been global media attention, which is a measure of the power of archaeology to excite the public imagination."
Richard III was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth, in 1485.
His body was taken to Leicester, where he was buried in the church of Grey Friars.
Over time, the exact whereabouts of the church was lost.
More than 1,500 people turned up to view the excavation site.
Jennie Millar, 18, of Knighton, Leicester, who starts an archaeology degree course at Durham University next month, said: "It was really interesting.
"Getting right up close to a dig of such importance gives you a different perspective.
"At many digs, visitors are just left to wander around but on Saturday it was great to be able to speak to members of the team and ask questions.
"It would be great if they find him."
Since the dig started two weeks ago, the team has also unearthed the lost garden of the former Mayor of Leicester, Alderman Robert Herrick.
The dig is also being filmed by Darlow Smithson Productions for a Channel 4 documentary to be aired later this year.