MEMBERS of Stow Civic Society heard how it was a "massive fluke" the remains of Richard III were found, at a sell-out event last week.
Archaeologist Richard Buckley told about 100 members at a special event on Friday that the site of the king’s burial in Leicester city centre was the most difficult of terrain for archaeologists.
Derek Taylor, publicity officer for Stow Civic Society, said it was a real coup to get Dr Buckley to come and speak to them.
"There was a real buzz in St Edward's Hall right from the start," he said. "The story of how he and his team discovered the king's remains unfolded like a detective story, and everyone in the audience gasped when he told us that if they'd decided to dig the trench south rather than north, the excavation would have been over, and that would have been that. A failure.
"Instead he found himself being interviewed by TV crews from as far apart as the US, Eastern Europe and Japan.
"At the end of his talk, Dr Buckley got the loudest round of applause I've ever heard in the old hall. It was a great evening."
Dr Buckley told the audience how identification was confirmed by radio carbon dating, a combination of genealogical and DNA analysis, and a comparison with contemporary accounts of Richard’s appearance, as well as a facial reconstruction.
The discovery has now sparked a controversy about the king’s final resting place with a group calling themselves 'the Plantagenet Alliance' claiming that he should be taken to his ancestral home in York.
The dispute is now being considered in the High Court.