Richard III: Top archaeology award for University of Leicester team
The dig for the car park king has scooped a top archaeology award.
Readers of Current Archaeology voted the University of Leicester's search for Richard III as research project of the year. Richard Buckley, the dig's lead archaeologist picked up the award at a ceremony in London, hosted by the best-selling archaeology magazine.
The discovery of the king was up against five other projects voted on by readers.
Carly Hilts, assistant editor of the monthly magazine, said: "Richard III was a tremendously exciting discovery.
"These things just don't happen in archaeology. In fact, it shouldn't have happened, but we are very pleased it did.
"You just don't set out to find a particular thing or person, and then find them.
"It was wonderful to see the different disciplines at the university come together and work so well, and equally brilliant to see the public so interested in archaeology.
"Richard III got almost 40 per cent of the votes – given we had so many strong contenders this year, that's a really impressive share."
The discovery of the king was up against Cardiff University's discovery of a huge Roman building complex outside the Roman fortifications of Caerleon; findings at Caistor St Edmunds by the University of Nottingham – shedding new light on what happened to the Iceni after Boudicca's revolt against Rome; work at Stonehenge by the Stonehenge Riverside Project, which revealed more about the prehistoric landscape; the Open University's work at Salisbury Plain; and the surprise discovery of warship HMS Namur beneath the floor of a wheelwright's shop by The Historic Dockyard Chatham, University of St Andrews and Oxford Archaeology.
More than 4,500 readers then voted for their favourite, with 37 per cent choosing Richard III.
Mr Buckley thanked everyone involved in the project when he picked up the award.
"For me, what is really nice, having done so much archaeological work in Leicester over the decades, is this discovery has focused international attention on Leicester's fantastic archaeology, which is some of best in Britain," he said.
"I am proud to accept this award for the Grey Friars Project and, in particular, I want to thank Philippa Langley (member of the Richard III Society), who raised the money for the investigation and never doubted for a minute we would find Richard III.
"This discovery is down to the hard work by our team, particularly Mathew Morris, who led the work on site, and our scientific team, who did the osteological and forensic work back at base camp."
About 12,000 people submitted postal and online votes for the entire awards, which also included prizes for book of the year, archaeologist of the year and photo of the year.
The dig for Richard III will be the cover feature of the next issue of Current Archaeology, which hits shelves on Friday.