Just like Richard III, another English king may have been spending part of his eternity parked beneath cars — or a school.
Archeologists are launching an operation that may locate the remains of Henry I — William the Conqueror's youngest son, who ruled England for 35 years from 1100 until his death in 1135 with an "energetic, decisive and occasionally cruel" hand, reports the Guardian. He's believed to have died after eating too many lampreys and was buried in a sarcophagus in Reading abbey, which was largely destroyed in the 16th century.
Philippa Langley, who led the search for Richard III's remains, and husband and wife historians John and Lindsay Mullaney are spearheading the project to search the abbey grounds with radar which may discover Henry I's remains — possibly under a playground, school or parking lot that currently occupy a portion of the site. Work starts next year.
The project will focus on the buildings, but could also reveal the king's tomb. It's long been rumoured that the tomb was plundered hundreds of years ago for its silver coffin, and the remains scattered. If the remains or even an intact tomb are located there would likely be public pressure to rebury Henry in a more prominent setting, observers believe.
Richard III was exhumed and re-interred in Leicester Cathedral to much pomp and circumstance after his remains were discovered in 2012 in a local car park. Now tens of thousands of visitors stream through the cathedral site to pay their respects.
It would be far more difficult identifying Henry's remains than Richard's because scientists would have to trace his ancestry back a further 350 yearsI. "We were quite lucky with Richard because of the genealogical evidence, but the further back you go the less reliable it becomes," University of Leicester lecturer Turi King, who conducted Richard's DNA testing, told the Guardian.