The Greyfriars Project had a series of five progressive research objectives:
Objective 1 was a reasonable expectation; 2 was a probability; 3 was a possibility, 4 was an outside chance; 5 was not seriously considered possible.
Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society commissions ULAS (University of Leicester Archaeological Services) to conduct a desk-based assessment of the Greyfriars area, using old maps and documents to trace the development and use of the land. This identifies two potential areas for excavation: the Leicester City Council Social Services staff car park and the adjacent playground of the former Alderman Newton’s School. A third area, a public car park on New Street, is also potentially available.
A ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey of the three areas reveals modern utilities such as water and gas mains, plus a number of ambiguous shapes. A layer of demolition-related rubble underneath the asphalt is probably disguising archaeological features. A ‘Written Scheme of Investigation’ is produced by Richard Buckley of ULAS with details of the size and position of two trial trenches to be excavated in the Social Services car park and a third in reserve to be opened in the playground.
The Greyfriars Project, a collaboration between the University of Leicester, Leicester City Council and the Richard III Society, led by Richard Buckley of ULAS, is formally launched with a press conference and media opportunities including medieval re-enactors and a direct descendant of Richard’s sister who has kindly agreed to provide mitochondrial DNA. Site director Mathew Morris and archaeologist Leon Hunt lay out the first two trenches and supervise the cutting of the car park surface with a road cutter.