Flodden battlefield excavation: no human remains found

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Archaeologists excavating the Flodden battlefield at Branxton have found no human remains.

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An 80-strong team has for the past fortnight been excavating a field adjacent to Piper’s Hill.

There, on 9 September 1513, some 14,000 Scottish and English soldiers lost their lives. The Scottish king, James IV, was also killed in the battle, as was almost all his nobility.

Many of the dead were buried as quickly as possible and as close as was practical to the spot where they fell.

But as excavation work comes to an end today, team director Chris Burgess told historyextra: “We don’t have any human bodies, but have found many animal bodies.

“However, we have learned a lot about the bog which plagued the Scots in battle. All of the trenches flooded out; you could not dig a big burial pit here because it would flood.

“We’re disappointed, but that’s how it goes. This is a slow process, but we will get there eventually. We’ll excavate again the same time next year.

“We would do so sooner but we’re bound by the harvest rota – farmers are sowing barley in the field next week, which won’t come off until next September.”

George Goodwin, a leading historian of the battle of Flodden, said: “I am extremely interested in Chris’s discoveries about the groundwater line. 

“Sudden flooding could change its character from firm to bog in no time at all, creating an unsuspected trap for the Scots. 

“Battlefield archaeology is crucial in helping to understand a battlefield and a battle, as has been found at Bosworth, Towton and indeed at Flodden, with the work Chris and his team have already done on Flodden Hill’.

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To find out more about the excavation, visit www.iflodden.info