The grave of King Richard III was discovered beneath a parking lot a parking lot in England in 2012, but now, experts say a mysterious coffin they unearthed near where the king was buried contains the remains of a woman.
Archaeologists had guessed they’d find the remains of a prominent man inside the coffin, but they were shocked when they opened it up and discovered that it was an elderly female. The woman was placed in a lead coffin that was then placed inside a larger stone coffin before being buried, and because she was buried so elaborately, researchers believe she may have been an important figure at the time of her death.
“A grave like this — very elaborate stone sarcophagus, lead inner casket buried in a very prominent position in the church, close to the high altar — you've got to think this person was important,” University of Leicester archaeologist Matthew Morris theorized.
Experts say that the woman was more than 60 years old when she died and was in fairly good health, having never suffered from malnutrition.
This mystery woman wasn’t the only female found at the burial site; three other graves at the burial site were determined to be females. What sets them apart from the mystery woman, is the care taken during the burial.
Records in Leicester from the time of her burial suggest she may have been named Emma, but despite further speculation, researchers say they may never know exactly who this woman was before she died.
“We know little about (Emma) and a lack of fundamental information, such as her age at death, what she did for a living, what she looked like or where in the church she was buried, coupled with no known descendants who can provide a DNA sample, make it impossible to say for certain (if the skeleton) is that of Emma,” Morris said, adding that the skeleton will most likely “forever remain anonymous.”