Researchers will reveal next month whether a skeleton found under a city centre car park is that of Yorkist King Richard III.
The University of Leicester will disclose the results of tests carried out on the remains, thought to be those of the Plantagenet king, at a press conference in the first week of February.
Archaeologists have said there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest the remains are those of Richard III, but did not want to make any academic decision before the skeleton was subjected to a number of tests.
DNA is being analysed and compared with that of Michael Ibsen, a descendant of Richard III’s family. Radiocarbon tests and genealogical studies are also taking place.
The skeleton has also been given a computed-tomography (CT) scan, which should allow scientists to build up a 3D digital image of the individual. From here, they hope to reconstruct the individual’s face, in a similar way to the images created of King Tutankhamun from the mummy.
A spokesman for the university said: “The University is expecting results of the series of tests in the next few weeks, during which period the results will be analysed.
“We aim to announce the conclusions of its investigations at a press conference provisionally scheduled for the first week of February.”
The skeleton, with a metal arrow in its back and severe trauma to the skull, was exhumed from a car park behind council offices in Leicester in September during an archaeological dig.
Initial examinations showed it to be the skeleton of an adult male with the remains said to be in a good condition. It also had a curved spine, consistent with accounts of Richard III’s appearance.
Last month Richard Taylor, director of corporate affairs at the university, said there had always been strong circumstantial evidence that the remains were those of Richard III.
He has admitted it is possible the university could name the skeleton as the monarch even if the DNA results prove inconclusive.
Richard III died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, the last major act in the Wars of the Roses.
His demise was dramatised by Shakespeare, who had the king calling out “a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse” before he was killed on the battlefield.