Will Alfred the Great Be the Next Unearthed British King?

  @ibtimesau on

Following the confirmation on Monday that the skeletons of King Richard III were those found in 2012 under a former car parking lot, speculations are rife that the next kingly remains to be dug up are that of Alfred the Great.

Reports said that archeologists and royal enthusiasts are seeking permission from authorities to dig up the suspected grave of Alfred the Great and carry out forensic tests to confirm if the human remains are of the king or Queen Alswitha or Prince Edward.

Alfred the Great is believed to be buried in an unmarked grave in Winchester, specifically at St Bartholomew's Church.

The search for Alfred's bones was spurred by the recent discovery of the skeletons of Richard III underneath a car park in Leicester. He is the last of the Plantagenets and was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field.

Alfred the Great is remembered for making peace with the Danes, crafting a code of laws, reforming coinage and his lack of cake-baking skills.

Once the bones are found, the analysis to confirm if it is that of Alfred the Great would be led by Katie Tucker, an archeologist from Winchester University. She expects the analysis to be harder than the one done to confirm Richard III's skeletal remains.

"As far as we're aware there are five skulls plus other bones. The most simple part will be to work out ages, sexes, and put the bones back together," The Australian quoted Ms Tucker.

The process includes comparing the DNA from the bones with that of a living relative. To confirm Richard's DNA, researchers located a living relative who is now a cabinet maker in Canada, a descendant of his sister, Anne of York.

One challenge the team would have to hurdle is to trace a living descendant of Alfred the Great. Another challenge is the impact of the search on residents since the place would likely become a tourist attraction.

Another British monarch whose remains are still unknown is Richard's predecessor, Edward V, who is traditionally believed to have been murdered and secretly buried in the Tower of London.

Abbeys and cathedrals are often where the bones of British royals are interred. These include Winchester Cathedral and Abbey, Sherborne Abbey in Dorset, Glastonbury Abbey, Westminster Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral and Worcester Cathedral.

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