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Chance for public to view search for Richard III

04/09/2012

THE site of excavations searching for the tomb of Richard III is to be opened for the public to view for the first time.

An open event has been arranged this weekend for visitors to see for themselves the work which is taking place in Greyfriars car park, in Leicester city centre, to search for the last resting place of the last Plantagenet king.

Richard III is believed to have been buried in the city following his death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Excavations in the car park are are making excellent progress to pinpoint the exact location of the long-lost Greyfriars church, and with it, Richard III's grave.

The nature of the painstaking dig, which is being carried out by experts from the University of Leicester, means the site isn't generally accessible to the public. The work involves working in confined conditions with the possibility of discovering human remains, meaning the site must remain uncontaminated by visitors' DNA.

But following a huge amount of local and national interest in the ongoing work, the University of Leicester, working in partnership with the Richard III Society and Leicester City Council, will open the site to the public on Saturday, September 8, from 11am to 2pm.

Assistant City Mayor responsible for heritage, leisure and sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: "The level of interest generated by this excavation has been amazing, and people understandably want to see for themselves the fascinating work which is being carried out.

"With the support of the University of Leicester and the Richard III Society, we're very pleased to be able to offer people the chance to see the site, and get a closer look at some of the finds made so far.

"The University of Leicester and the Richard III Society are uncovering information which will help us to better tell one of Leicester's most remarkable stories, and to understand the last days of one of the most controversial kings in British history."

Richard Taylor, director of corporate affairs at the University of Leicester, added: "The search for Richard III is one of the most exciting projects the University of Leicester has led.

"Members of the public have been hugely supportive of the search and have sent many kind messages to the university.

"It's very important that people are given the opportunity to see the work for themselves."

The site will be accessible from Greyfriars itself, and admission is free. Advance booking is not needed, although some queueing may be needed if large numbers of visitors arrive.

There will also be a small display of some of the finds discovered at the site.

(ENDS)

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