Elderly Mystery Woman Found Buried in Coffin Near Richard III

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/ Source: Live Science

Archaeologists found a lead coffin buried in the ruins of an English medieval church, just feet from the grave of England's King Richard III. When they opened the tomb, they expected to find the skeleton of a knight or a friar. But instead, they found the bones of an elderly woman.

The woman's identity remains a mystery, but a study of her bones has revealed some key details about her life, the excavators announced Sunday. She was interred sometime in the late 13th or 14th century, before Richard was hastily buried at the monastery known as Grey Friars in Leicester, England. She must have been of a high status, because her bones show signs of a lifetime of eating well.

The lead coffin containing the bones of a woman was found inside a stone coffin just feet from the grave of British King Richard III in the ruins of Grey Friars in Leicester.University of Leicester

She's also not the only woman buried on the grounds of Grey Friars. In fact, Richard III is the only man archaeologists have examined from the site so far. The four other graves, including the lead coffin, belonged to women, archaeologists said. [See Images: The Search for Richard III's Grave]