Richard III



The National Archives Kew,Writer of the Month November 2015

Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Society October 2015

Art Fund, London October 2015

Beaminster Festival, Dorset June 2015

Richard III Society, London & Home Counties Branch June 2015

Richard III Society Triennial Conference April 2015

National Portrait Gallery June 2014

Ashmolean Museum July 2014

Marlborough Literature Festival September 2014

Ilkley Literature Festival October 2014

Theatre Royal, Bath November 2014

National Public Radio Weekend Edition November 2014, talking with Rachel Martin

Richard III front covers

“An entertaining, knowledgeable and forensic examination of one of the most extraordinary archaeological digs ever!”
Sir Tony Robinson

“A fascinating glimpse into the 21st-century world of faith, science and publicity. Compulsively readable.”
David Miles, former Chief Archaeologist at English Heritage, author The Tribes of Britain

“A balanced view of all the historical and archaeological evidence. A real page-turner. I couldn’t put it down.”
Francis Pryor, author Britain BC and Britain in the Middle Ages

“The best impartial approach.”
BBC History Magazine 2016

US REVIEWS (BOOK AS RIGHT ABOVE): PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 11 2014 No. 1 in Archaeology, European history and England history.

Mesmerizingtruly captivating… When Pitts describes the actual details of the dig and the subsequent discoveries and revelations, the book becomes spellbinding… pulls the reader most emphatically into the thrill of the story.” Vail Daily Oct 14 2016

“Archaeologist and journalist Mike Pitts fills in the fascinating details of the dig, the surprising findings, and what it all means.” The Oak Ridger (TN) Feb 10 2015

“The page-turning tale of how the centuries-lost tomb of one of England’s most legendary monarchs was found and recovered from underneath a parking lot.” Grand Forks Herald Jan 18 2015

Exciting and illuminating… What an amazing story.” Rob Hardy, The Dispatch Jan 13 2015

“Reads like an Indiana Jones adventure.” Portland Book Review (5 stars) Jan 1 2015

“The story of one of the most exciting finds of our time… reads like a police procedural, with clues, false leads, and finally a killing unraveled and a mystery triumphantly solved.” Dallas Morning News Dec 14 2014

“Recounts the exhilarating dig and the revelations about Richard III that followed from the discovery. Recommended.” Scientific American Dec 2014

Engaging account of the scientific sleuthing, historical research, and public fascination that drove this unusual excavation.” Christian Science Monitor Nov 20 2014

“Highly recommended… a readable archaeological perspective on the dig that led to the sensational discovery.” Choice (Starred) Oct 2014

“The author seamlessly weaves this centuries-in-the-making tale into a dramatic thriller. Pitts is an archaeologist himself, and his passionate enthusiasm for his subject matter is contagious… [A] compelling and easily accessible account.” Booklist Oct 15 2014

Highly recommended… effectively conveys the excitement of the discovery, clearly and vividly describing the process and the personalities. Writing this book must have been the dream of a lifetime for Pitts, and he has risen to the occasion.” Kirkus Reviews (Starred) Aug 2014

“As gripping as any detective fiction… Pitts’ book is proof that one doesn’t need to be fascinated with Richard III to be enthralled by the story of his body’s discovery.” Publishers Weekly Jul 7 2014

Books That Buzzed at BEA (BookExpo America):“Mike Pitts, Digging for Richard III: The Search for the Lost King (Thames & Hudson), with Anglophiles carting off all the available copies.”

“VERDICT This remarkable cold-case-file narrative, intended for general readers, is a must for all English history buffs as well as readers interested in contemporary urban archaeology.” Library Journal Aug 2014

UK REVIEWS (BOOK AS LEFT ABOVE) No. 1 in King Richard III and European archaeology.

“As a chronciler of The Greyfriars Dig… Mike Pitts is ideal.” The Ricardian XXV (2015)

“Both enlightening and a pleasure to read.” David Baldwin, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological & Historical Society 88 (2014)

“As this vivid, gently searching book shows, the past has room and more for different kinds of questions from different audiences… [a] well-crafted, fine-grained account of the search for Richard III.” Richard Morris, British Archaeology Nov/Dec 2014

“Well researched, with footnotes, an extensive bibliography and excellent illustrations, Pitts’ dramatic narrative retains the audience’s attention… a balanced and informative review”. Ricardian Bulletin Sep 2014

“Beautifully and knowledgably written, moving and funny, it’s a real page-turner I wasn’t able to put down… wonderfully entertaining”. Family Tree magazine Aug 2014

“The first book to give full details of the discovery and the science that led to their identification… presented in an attractive design… a fascinating account of history, science and collaboration.” Your Family Tree Jul 2014

“This book is about far more than the mere killing of a king. It’s about life, discovery and death… gripping detail… original and intriguing… as good as being there.”  Francis Pryor, BBC History magazine Jul 2014

“Pitts has created an utterly compelling read… successfully conveys the excitement of the discovery… His description of the subsequent scientific analysis… is at once knowledgeable and readable… This is a book which tells us as much about modern archaeology and the personalities of those who found Richard, as it does about a long dead king. By the end you may well be dusting down your trowel and setting out for the nearest dig.”  Will Gore, Independent on Sunday May 18 2014

“Clearly a story like no other, and Mike Pitts… is the perfect person to tell it… a chatty page-turner of a story which really gets across the excitement and inside track of this amazing find.” Trevor Heaton, Eastern Daily Press May 24 2014

“Reads like the screenplay of a TV drama and is full of tense moments… Mike grips the reader with the story of how the remains of Richard III were found, subjected to a battery of tests and declared to be the real thing… potential best-seller”. Salon May 12 2014 (Society of Antiquaries of London Newsletter)

“The definitive book on the search for the skeletal remains of Britain’s iconic King Richard III… With expert commentary and intimate photographs as the discoveries were made, this is a terrific slice of archaeological investigation that calls into question Channel 4’s decision to axe the excellent Time Team series, because public interest in such matters is still there… both timely and informative”. Books Monthly May 2014

“I really do congratulate and thank you for producing such a well-written and informative publication. I’m sure it will be regarded as essential reading for many future archaeologists and historians.” Loyal Ricardian, Amazon

“There is a lot to be said for a writer with an academic background who can make history and academic sciences appealing and accessible to the general reading public. Mike Pitts in ‘Digging for Richard III’ has achieved this with panache” (Pamela), “An easy read that just rips along like a good mystery should. This will be one of all time favourite books!” (John), Goodreads

“I followed the dig as it unfolded in the news and Pitts really does capture the excitement and significance of this important archaeological find. I highly recommend this book!” Shane Lowe, Waterstones



DIGGING FOR RICHARD III describes archaeological events until the beginning of 2014. I didn’t write about the reburial dispute in the book – partly because I wanted to end positively, but mainly because it was far from being resolved when we went to press, and, along with all sorts of developments, is a completely separate story (BURYING RICHARD III: WHAT THEY DID WITH HIM, perhaps). I continue to write about things as they happen on this blog (the oldest posts date from before I knew I was to write the book). See, most recent first:

As became his birth (Apr 11 2015): picture story about the start of the reburial week

Reburying Richard (Oct 14 2014): mapping newly announced route of hearse

Richard III’s death – the grim details (Sep 17 2014): peer-reviewed article detailing the skeletal wounds

Richard III’s teeth and bones: why we didn’t know it all before (Aug 17 2014): on the fourth peer-reviewed article, about teeth and bone stable isotopes

What makes the new Richard III Visitor Centre “insulting”? (Aug 10 2014): long look at the Leicester visitor centre, and what’s upsetting the Looking for Richard Project (and first news of the reburial ceremony)

A nice guy (Jun 19 2014): Horrible Histories song

Leicester celebrates its king (May 29 2014): analysis of the Judicial Review Judgment

Judgement day (May 23 2014): photos in Leicester cathedral

Richard III announcement (May 21 2014): news of imminent judgment

Is the car park skeleton Richard III? Of course not. It’s a skeleton (Apr 4 2014): analysis of a recent “debate”

Richard III in court (Mar 16 2014): review of the curiously entertaining judicial review, as it happened

Does handling of Richard III’s bones raise serious questions? (Mar 11 2014): long post about some of the complex issues of “ownership”

Our universities do wonderful things (Feb 27 2014): Leicester University receives a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education

Reburials, art and DNA: another month for Richard III (Feb 14 2014): round-up of developments

A year in the death of Richard III (Feb 4 2014): quick thoughts on the anniversary of the announcement

What’s in store for Richard III in 2014? (Jan 4 2014): as it says

The peers in the car park (May 29 2013): A report in Antiquity, the first peer-reviewed publication from the project

And Richard it was (Feb 6 2013): long piece written after I attended the press conference announcing that Richard III’s remains had been positively identified

It’s Richard III! (see footnote) (Feb 1 2013): thoughts before that conference

Richard III back covers


And now in Estonian! The King beneath the Asphalt…

7 thoughts on “Richard III

  1. Love your book, made me relive the excitement of these last almost 2 years, prompted by Philippa Langley’s appeal to us Richard III Society members to raise the missing funds for the dig, to this day, when we finally can see things move on to final reburial in historical and local context.

      1. Yes, these are UK and US editions, the only difference being in the covers and title pages. I will be bringing things up to date with a new chapter and revisions throughout in a paperback edition (a lot has moved on since the moment at which the current book ends, and I’m following the reburial closely). I’ll post news of this here as it happens.

    1. The paperback came out in September 2015, with a lot of minor revisions throughout and a new and longer final chapter. Second editions are always the best!

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