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Archaeologists defied immense odds to find long-lost monarch
2:14pm Monday 11th March 2013 in News
THE discovery of Richard III under a city centre car-park was even more remarkable than first thought – at least in mathematical terms.
Number-crunching eggheads have calculated that archaeologists had less than a one per cent chance of finding the king when they began their search.
And they have further worked out that the chances of discovering him on the very first day, as the archaeologists did, were just 0.0554 per cent – equivalent to odds of 1,785-to-1 against.
The remains of the long-lost monarch, killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, were found under a car-park in Leicester, the site of the city’s old Grey Friars precinct - last September by a team from the local university.
And while the battle still rages over where he should be re-interred – at Leicester Cathedral or in his spiritual home of York Minster – mathematicians at the former have been doing their king-related sums.
Looking at all the facts that were known to the archaeology team before their excavation began, the maths group concluded there was only a 0.84 per cent chance of the team discovering Richard at all - or about 120-to-1 against.
Visiting maths lecturer Dr Clive Rix said: “The odds of actually finding King Richard III were very low indeed.
“Any commercial organisation would be looking for the potential of fairly spectacular returns to justify an investment with such a low chance of success – but, of course, this was not a commercial venture.”
Dig supervisor Mathew Morris was the first person to discover the remains. He said: “Had the first trench been laid just 50cm to the east of where it actually was - we might never have found Richard.”