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English Parking Lot (And Longtime Burial Site Of King Richard III) Is Deemed A National Monument


Let's go to England now to the city of Leicester, where a municipal parking lot has been crowned a protected monument. That's because of what was found underneath it five years ago - the remains of King Richard III.


Archaeologist Richard Buckley led the team that dug it up.

RICHARD BUCKLEY: The site when we first got there was jungle of cars most of the time. It was in a sort of a courtyard. All the streets around the site were lined with buildings. And you'd go around the back where gardens and old houses used to be, which was then paved over and used as this parking lot.

SHAPIRO: If you go back about 500 years, this was the site of a friary. Richard III was buried there after he was killed in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

BUCKLEY: And so Richard's naked body was brought back to Leicester, swung over a horse and, there, buried in the church of the Franciscan friars in the middle of Leicester.

MARTIN: The friary was eventually demolished, and for centuries, no one knew exactly where Richard III was buried until the archaeological dig in 2012. The king's remains were reinterred three years later at Leicester Cathedral.

SHAPIRO: Since all of this happened, archaeologist Richard Buckley says new hotels and restaurants have been built in his hometown.

BUCKLEY: It's breathed a new life into the city really. This - it was never particularly a tourist destination. So it's really pleasing to see that people are now beginning to come to this town following the discovery.

MARTIN: And now people can add a stop at a new monument - the parking lot which held Richard III's remains for 500 years. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.