Local schoolchildren to learn about Richard III discovery

For the third year running Leicester schoolchildren will learn the scientific and archaeological skills used to uncover King Richard III at a series of workshop days starting on Monday 23 February 2015.

Around 200 pupils from Leicester City primary schools will hear from archaeology and genetics experts at the Richard III Campus Visit days on Monday 23, Thursday 26 and Friday 27 February.

Groups of 30 - 60 children from years 5 and 6 will travel to the University campus, where they will hear from academics from the School of Archaeology and Ancient History and from the Department of Genetics.

The children will discover key archaeological skills, including:

  • Identifying medieval pottery
  • Learning about the wounds suffered by Richard III during battle and how archaeologists identify someone’s age, gender, evidence for diseases from just their bones
  • An opportunity to learn about the weapons used during the Battle of Bosworth to inflict wounds to King Richard, including the sword that delivered the killer blow to his neck and up through to the top of his head
  • An opportunity to handle replica weapons and chain mail and try on medieval style helmets

During the Genetics session, the children will learn how to how to extract DNA from biological material and how to match DNA patterns by finding overlapping short pieces of ancient DNA to match a large piece of modern DNA. This technique shows the basic theory behind how Richard III was identified using the DNA of his sister’s descendants.

They will also draw Richard III’s family tree and have a go at mapping their own.