Talk: Finding Richard III

Event Details

April 30, 2014
4:00 pm

Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies

650 East Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA

Handicap access available
Free admission
Sean Gilsdorf

When the University of Leicester Archaeology Service undertook the Grey Friars project, it was thought that the chances of finding the remains of King Richard III were slim to none. Nevertheless, Turi King, with her background both in archaeology and genetics, was approached in the very early stages with the question: if the skeletal remains of a 'good candidate' to be Richard III were to be found, would she be interested in overseeing the DNA analysis?

Turi King will speak about the Grey Friars project, from the early stages of planning the dig through to the excavation, and the results of the various strands of analysis carried out on the remains.

Turi King read in anthropology and archeology at Cambridge University, earning a B.A. (hons) before moving into genetics at the University of Leicester, where she received her MSc. All of her subsequent work has been interdisciplinary in nature, focusing on ways in which genetic research can advance and deepen historical understanding. As a Wellcome Trust Prize Ph.D. student in the Department of Genetics at Leicester, her work focused on the link between British surnames and the Y chromosome, combining molecular genetics with historical data. Dr. King's interdisciplinary work continued during her time as a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Research Associate, combining molecular genetics with history and archaeology in projects examining the genetic legacy of the Vikings in the north of England and in Ireland, the genetic history of the Roma in Britain, as well as further research on the link between surnames and genetics and its implications in the field of forensics. Dr. King was a co-applicant for the Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain project and remains a part time Research Fellow there, allowing her to continue her work on the Vikings in the north of England. She currently is a lecturer in Genetics and Archeology at the University of Leicester, and since 2011 has been the project geneticist with the Grey Friars Project, which led to the recent exhumation and DNA identification of the remains of King Richard III.

There will be a reception with light refreshments and conversation immediately following Dr. King's lecture.


Dr. King's lecture is made possible by the generous support of the Five College Lecture Fund, the Mt. Holyoke College Weissman Center for Leadership, the departments of History, Biology, and Medieval Studies at Mt. Holyoke College, the Five College Medieval Studies Seminar, the University of Massachusetts Department of English, the Smith College Archeology Program, and the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies.



From the South: Take I-91 to exit l9, turn right, cross the bridge and go six miles to the Amherst Common which will face you on the left at a traffic light in the middle of town. Turn left at the lights stay on that road, which becomes North Pleasant St. and then (without turning) East Pleasant St. The Center is 650 East Pleasant Street, about 3 miles from the center of town, on the left and just past the fire station on the right. There is a small white sign out front; there is a sign for Stone House Flower Farm across the road. Turn left into our dirt driveway and come down to the two parking lots at the Center.

From the North: Take I-91 to exit 18; at the exit go to the traffic light and turn left on Damon Road. At the end of Damon Road, at the bridge construction, turn left again over the bridge and follow the directions above.

From the East: Take the Mass Pike (I-90) to Exit 4, go north (toward Holyoke) onto I-91 and follow the directions for those coming from the south. Those using Route 9 from the east or west will come into the center of Amherst. At the traffic light at the Common, turn north along the Common. You are on South Pleasant Street, soon to become East Pleasant Street. Follow East Pleasant Street to 650 and refer to the directions above.

From the West: Take the Mass Pike (I-90) to Exit 4, and follow the directions above.