Bone Chemistry Reveals Royal Lifestyle of Richard III; Television Coverage Sunday Evening (August 17)

A recent study by the British Geological Survey, in association with researchers at the University of Leicester, has delved into the bone and tooth chemistry of King Richard III and uncovered fascinating new details about the life and diet of Britain's last Plantagenet king. The study, published online on August 16, 2014 in an open-access article in Elsevier's Journal of Archaeological Science indicates a change in diet and location in his early childhood, and in later life, a diet filled with expensive, high status food and drink. This forensic study, the most complete to have been conducted on a medieval monarch, will feature in a documentary, Richard III: The New Evidence, airing on Channel 4 on Sunday August 17, 2014, at 9 pm. Isotope analysis of bone and tooth material from King Richard III has revealed previously unknown details of his early life and the change in his diet when he became King two years and two months before he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth. The research examines the changes in chemistry found in the teeth, the femur, and the rib; all of which develop and rebuild at different stages of life. Isotope measurements that relate to geographical location, pollution, and diet (strontium, nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, and lead) were analyzed in three locations on the skeleton of Richard III. The teeth, which form in childhood, confirmed that Richard had moved from Fotheringay castle in eastern England by the time he was seven. The data suggest that during this time he was in an area of higher rainfall, older rocks, and with a changed diet relative to his place of birth in Northamptonshire.
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