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Bone chemistry reveals royal lifestyle of Richard III
Date:8/16/2014

from the isotopes in this bone indicate the greatest change in diet. Although an alteration in the chemistry between the femur and the rib of Richard III could indicate relocation, historical records show that Richard did not move from the east of England in the 2 years prior to his death when he was King. As such, this chemical change is more likely to represent a change in diet relating to his period as King. The difference suggests an increase in consumption of freshwater fish and birds, which were popular additions to royal banquets at the time and included birds such as swan, crane, heron and egret. In addition, the bone chemistry suggests he was drinking more wine during his short reign as King and reinforces the idea that food and drink were strongly linked to social status in Medieval England.

Dr Angela Lamb, Isotope Geochemist and lead author of the paper says, "The chemistry of Richard III's teeth and bones reveal changes in his geographical movements, diet and social status throughout his life."

Richard Buckley from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services and lead archaeologist in the Richard III dig, said, "This cutting edge research has provided a unique opportunity to shed new light on the diet and environment of a major historical figure Richard III. It is very rare indeed in archaeology to be able to identify a named individual with precise dates and a documented life. This has enabled the stable-isotope analysis to show how his environment changed at different times in his life and, perhaps most significantly, identified marked changes in his diet when he became king in 1483."

The Dig for Richard III was led by the University of Leicester, working with Leicester City Council and in association with the Richard III Society. The originator of the Search project was Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society.


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Contact: Sacha Boucherie
s.boucherie@elsevier.com
31-204-853-564
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert  

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