First it was Richard III, whose bones were found under a car park in Leicester. Now it appears that Henry I may have met a similarly undignified fate. Archaeologists have discovered what could be King Henry?s remains languishing beneath a Ministry of Justice car park on the site of Reading prison.
The bones were detected among a series of graves discovered by archaeologists using ground-penetrating radar (GPR), during an exploration of the site containing the ruins of Reading Abbey. They came across the graves, along with a number of other potentially significant archaeological finds, while scanning tarmacked land close to the Abbey?s High Altar.
The graves beneath the car park at the former Reading Gaol where discovered as the result of an ambitious project to establish the full historic significance of the Abbey. Reading Abbey was founded by Henry I in 1121 and was always known to have been the final resting place of the King and his Queen Adeliza. However, there has long been speculation about the precise location of his remains, as a result of grave robbers raiding the area for the silver coffin the king was reportedly buried in. A spokeswoman for Reading Borough Council, which is leading the project along with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth and the Ministry of Justice, said:
?The graves are located behind the High Altar in an apse at the east end of the Abbey. They are located east of the area where King Henry I?s grave is believed to be. No direct connection between these features and King Henry can be made using these results alone.?
Archaeologists are hoping to begin digging the area beneath the car park this autumn as part of the Hidden Abbey project, which has been backed by the historian and screenwriter Philippa Langley, who instigated the search for Richard III. She has described Henry as ?our forgotten king? and says Reading has ?a fascinating and unique story to tell?.
Henry I founded Reading Abbey intending it to be his final resting place. When he died in Normandy, in December 1135, his body was embalmed and sewn into a bull?s hide for the journey to Reading, where he was buried the following month.
Stormy weather in the Channel had delayed the crossing to England by four weeks. His body was eventually brought up the River Kennet to the Abbey?s wharf. Henry was buried in front of the High Altar, the most prestigious location for a burial. However, the tomb did not survive the destruction of the Abbey after the Dissolution in 1539.
More here: http://www.telegraph.co.u...emains-found-beneath-tar/
and here: http://www.dailymail.co.u...enry-s-resting-place.html