A year after the reburial of King Richard III, archaeologists have created an interactive 3-D representation of the grave in which the mortal remains were first excavated. They hope this will provide the public with an interesting educational resource to get a sense of the poor conditions in which the defeated king was first buried.
This digital model is the result of a long archaeological project which started in 2012 when the tomb of Richard III was uncovered beneath a Leicester car park.
Richard III was King of England until his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field, in 1485 at the hands of the Tudors. To their surprise, archaeologists found a very poorly dug grave, which was not only too short for the king, but also had sloping sides and an uneven base.
"I have rarely seen such poorely dug grave. Those who put Richard III to rest could have taken just a little bit more time to make the grave neater, but such care was taken confirming that after his death on the battlefield, on the losing side his opponents buried him hastily", Mathew Morris, the archaeologist from the University of Leicester who first discovered the remains told IBTimes UK.
Proper burial and digital tomb
In 2015, Richard III finally received a grand royal funeral when he was reburied near Leicester Cathedral. In order to let the public see in what state they had first found him, archaeologists used photographs taken during the 2012 excavation process and a sophisticated photogrammetry software to recreate an accurate representation of the grave and the skeleton.
"Photogrammetry is interesting from a research point of view because it allows us to manipulate the 3-D models in different ways, and to examine the grave from angles that we would not have been able to before. The things we are able to see with such a model reinforce the idea that the grave was dug in a very hasty way", says Morris.
However, he says digital models can answer a lot of the archaeologists question, but one interrogation will remain without answer in absence of more historical accounts. "Archaeology and photogrammetry can be really useful in piercing secrets of the past, but we will never know the real identity of those who buried Richard III, apart from the facts it wasn't his supporters. Was it religious figures or the Tudors? We won't be able to say for sure, unless we find more written accounts", Morris concludes.