Yea or nay? Team is set to reveal Richard III findings
After five months of testing, the wait to find out if remains found in the city centre are those of Richard III is almost over.
University of Leicester archaeologists will reveal the results of DNA tests on the skeleton discovered at the Greyfriars car park early next month.
A press conference will be held in the first week in February, ahead of a Channel 4 documentary which has recorded the project from the beginning.
Excitement has been building around the globe since the discovery of the skeleton, which displays battle scars and spinal abnormalities.
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Richard Buckley, lead archaeologist on the dig, said the results of the DNA tests were expected in the next few weeks.
"I'm as excited to find out what the tests have found as much as anyone," he said.
"We've had a few phone calls asking what the results are, but we genuinely still don't know.
"It's really captured people's attention around the world and I'm sure a lot of people eager to hear the results."
Geneticist Dr Tori King, from the university, has used DNA from Richard III's last living descendent, Michael Ibsen – a Canadian-born, London-based furniture maker – to identify the remains.
As well as the genetic tests, academics have also carried out environmental sampling on the site and radiocarbon dating on the bones.
Analysis of burial practices, diet and living conditions will also be used to build a picture of the man found at Greyfriars.
Mr Buckley said: "Some of the strongest evidence which supports the identification was uncovered at the dig site – things cuch as the location of the skeleton, the battle trauma and the scoliosis (curvature of the spine).
"Every piece of evidence adds weight, but, like a colleague of mine said – it might be unlikely but, theoretically, we could have a completely different person who had scoliosis who died 200 years before Richard.
"It's unlikely, but not impossible. That's why we need all the evidence before we make an announcement."
Philippa Langley, from the Richard III Society, was the driving force behind the search for the king and initiated the project last year.
"It's getting really exciting now," she said. "When we exhumed him, all the circumstantial evidence pointed to the fact that we had found Richard.
"I hope the scientific evidence supports that."
The university said it had received documentation which would allow the remains to be interred at Leicester Cathedral if they are confirmed as those of Richard III.