Richard III - Discovering the Fatal Blow
This video shows the initial examination of the trauma to the skeletal remains of Richard III by Professor Guy Rutty of the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit together with Dr Jo Appleby of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History. Following the identification of a major sharp force trauma to the base of the skull, which was probably inflicted by a sword or the top spike of a bill or halberd, the researchers were interested to determine the angle of the blow.
During filming, Professor Rutty noted a small traumatic lesion on the interior surface of the cranium, directly opposite the sharp force trauma. Careful examination showed that the two injuries lined up with one another, and also with an injury to Richard’s first cervical vertebra. The combination of all three injuries provided evidence for the direction of the injury and also the depth to which the weapon had penetrated the skull.