9 'Unsolved' Mysteries That Have Been Solved


How Did King Richard III Die?

richard iii
King Richard III was killed during the Battle of Bosworth Field, during the Wars of the Roses in 1485. His remains were found in 2012. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The English monarch Richard III, whom Shakespeare portrayed as a megalomaniacal, malevolent hunchback, is one of the most famous villains in history. But while we've long known that Richard met defeat and apparently suffered his demise at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, it remained a mystery exactly how he died [source: Blaszczak-Boxe]. Was he killed in battle? And if so, what happened to his body, which was never found and identified?

After more than 500 years, those questions were finally answered. In 2012, an old grave was discovered under a parking lot in Leicester, England, and five months later, DNA tests confirmed that the bones buried there belonged to Richard III. Additionally, in a 2014 study published in the Lancet, researchers revealed that forensic evidence showed that Richard had suffered 11 wounds, including nine blows to the skull. The lack of defensive wounds on his arms or hands led researchers to conclude that he had lost his helmet or removed it during the fighting, and then was killed either in sustained combat with an opponent, or else had been set upon by multiple attackers. They also found that while Richard had a spinal deformity (scoliosis), he did not have a withered arm or a limp, as Shakespeare depicted him [source: Blaszczak-Boxe].