By Megan Gannon | BusinessInsider
King Richard III’s rediscovered resting place is turning out more mysteries this summer. Excavators finally lifted the heavy lid of a medieval stone coffin found at the site in Leicester, England, only to reveal another lead coffin inside.
A lead coffin found inside a stone coffin in the ruins of Grey Friars in Leicester is believed to contain a high-status medieval burial.
The "coffin-within-a-coffin" is thought to have been sealed in the 13th or 14th century — more than 100 years before Richard, an infamous English king slain in battle, received his hasty burial in 1485.
The team of archaeologists from the University of Leicester thinks this grave in the Grey Friars monastery might contain one of the friary’s founders or a medieval knight.
"The inner coffin is likely to contain a high-status burial — though we don’t currently know who it contains," reads a statement from the university.
The outer stone coffin measures about 7 feet (2.1 meters) long and 2 feet (0.6 meters) wide at the head and 1 foot (0.3 meters) at the feet. Eight people were needed to remove its lid.
The lead funerary box inside has been carried off to the university, where researchers will conduct tests to determine the safest way to open it without damaging the remains. But so far, they’ve been able to get a look at the feet through a hole in the bottom of the inner coffin.
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