Archaeologists in England uncovered a mysterious double "coffin-within-a-coffin" this month at the same dig site where King Richard III's remains were discovered last year.
The researchers from the University of Leicester found a fully intact stone coffin and were amazed to discover a second lead coffin inside it. The smaller coffin was taken to the school where tests will be conducted to determine whose remains it contains.
"This inner coffin is likely to contain a high-status burial, although we still don't know who it contains," Mathew Morris, the site's fieldwork director, wrote in a blog post.
"No writing was visible on the coffin lid but it does bear a crude cross soldered into the metal."
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The coffin, which was found with other medieval artifacts under a parking lot that was once Grey Friars Friary, is thought to have been sealed sometime in either the 13th or 14th century. Researchers suspect it might contain the skeletal remains of the founder of the monastery or a medieval knight, according to LiveScience.com.
"None of us in the team have ever seen a lead coffin within a stone coffin before," Morris said. "We will now need to work out how to open it safely, as we don't want to damage the contents when we are opening the lid."
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The remains of King Richard III of England were found at the same site last year, solving the 500-year-old mystery about where the ancient monarch was buried.
Richard III, the last king of the House of York, reigned from 1483 until 1485, when he was killed in battle during the War of Roses. He received a quick burial at the Grey Friars monastery in Leicester as his defeater, Henry Tudor, ascended to the throne.
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