Richard III dig: Leicester visitor centre needed 'to capitalise on King'
Plans are under way to capitalise on the enormous potential of the story of Richard III.
Scientists have not yet confirmed that the skeleton found beneath the Greyfriars car park is that of the last Plantagenet king, but University of Leicester archaeologists have said they are quietly confident it is.
Excitement about the find has spread across the county and tourism bosses have already started organising exhibitions and trips.
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said he was hoping the discovery would boost the city's economy – and has spoken of the need for a permanent visitor centre at the dig site in New Street, in the city centre.
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"In the short-term, we've got a display of the artefacts found at the dig at the Guildhall this weekend," he said.
"But long-term, the Guildhall, which is an attraction in itself, is too small, so we need something which will be able to handle the demand that this brings with it.
"There's a range of possibilities but there will certainly be some sort of permanent facilities at the site.
"It has enormous potential to bring visitors to the city and it's a unique opportunity for us to tell the whole story of Leicester, from the pre-Roman times through to the present day.
"Richard III is obviously a vitally important part of that."
Archaeologists dug three trenches – two on council property and one on private land – in their search for the king.
Most of the excavated earth will have to be filled back in to protect the remnants of the Greyfriars church, where the skeleton was found on August 25.
Dig site manager Mathew Morris said: "We have to think about the archaeology we found and what's best for it.
"The third trench will be completely filled in because it's on private land.
"What happens to the other two trenches is up to the council.
"We will recommend filling the majority back up and then possibly excavating in the future when we have more time and better tools."
Richard Buckley, lead archaeologist on the project, said: "We'd have to think about whether we want to display a little bit of it or take it further.
"The friary church could stretch out more than 60m.
"It runs under New Street and then under properties to the west.
"But it's very early days and there are lot of things to think about before we go excavating any more of the city."
A programme of Richard III-themed events has already been put together, with activities happening today at various places in the city.
The dig site, in New Street, will be opened again to the public.
Objects found among the remains will be exhibited at the Guildhall.
There will also be a series of Blue Badge guided walks around the key sites.
Exhibits featuring panels explaining the search are also being displayed at Highcross shopping centre and Leicester railway station.