The next Greyfriars excavation begins on Monday [today] and I have been lucky enough to be involved this time, I started my role in April so I had to watch the Richard III developments on my computer when they were announced. This time I have been helping with the recruitment of two interns to help the dig team and generally sorting out visits and talks. There has been buzz of excitement about this dig, even though the last English king killed in battle has been found, this one will uncover more secrets of the Greyfriars.
I was a little confused about what the dig was actually for originally, so I had to ask Mathew Morris from ULAS to tell me why they were digging up the car park again.
The previous dig was extremely successful, but it only allowed for a relatively small area of excavation and created more questions than it answered. Mathew described the last dig as a sneak-peek at the original friary and while it allowed for a speculative plan of the friary there is more that can be found out.
With the development of the new King Richard III Centre, this is the last chance to excavate this area. From the dig they hope to find out the exact layout of the church, whether it had a tower, how big it was, where Richard III’s grave was in relation to the rest of the church more accurately, and if the church had changed during its 300 year existence. There were also three more coffins found and evidence that the flooring had been changed three times in the lifetime of the church. The stone coffin has been the centre of some speculation in the office; everyone has a theory as to who it could be. It could be a knight called Moton from Peckleton outside of Leicester who was possible buried in the church. We will only know when the coffin is finally opened up!
The life of the church is not the only historical fact that can be discovered in July. The dig team might be able to find out what was on the site before the church and this might even go as far back as Leicester’s Roman history.
So, even though we aren’t looking for a king this time, there are still many questions that can be answered and parts of Leicester’s history that can be discovered on the dig in July.
Keep up to date with the progress of the Grey Friars Dig Part II throughout July 2013 via regular updates on this site. The body of King Richard III was discovered here in 2012 – who and what else lies beneath this now-famous car park?
There is a selection of images on our Flickr channel