Knusel Christopher and Boylston Anthea. Blood Red Roses. The Archaeology of a Mass Grave from the Battle of Towton AD 1461. 294 pages, il..
In 1996 a mass grave believed to be from the Battle of Towton was discovered by chance. This provided the opportunity for the first archaeological excavation of a mass grave from an English battlefield and was the catalyst for a multi-disciplinary research project, beginning with the excavation of the grave, and then a study of the skeletal remains, the battlefield landscape, the historical evidence and contemporary arms and armour. The discoveries were dramatic and moving, the individuals had clearly suffered traumatic deaths and subsequent research highlighted the often multiple wounds each individual had received before and, in some cases after they had died. The exciting forensic work was documented in the Channel 4 programme Secrets of the Dead. An important and controversial question that emerged was whether the soldiers had been killed in battle, or executed as prisoners in its aftermath. This volume publishes the excavation reports and subsequent research, revealing much information about how and in what circumstances the men died and the fighting techniques, weapons and armour employed. Also discussed are the wider implications of the discovery, both in terms of increasing our understanding of what happened at Towton, and what it contributes to our knowledge of Medieval warfare.
Contents: Site discovery, context and excavation: The context of the discovery (Veronica Fiorato), The historical background to the battle and the documentary evidence (Andrew Boardman), The excavation and finds (Andrea Burgess), Recording the grave (Tim Sutherland), The Human Remains: The physical anthropology (Anthea Boylston, Malin Holst and Jennifer Coughlan), Health status (Jennifer Coughlan and Malin Holst), Dental health and disease (Malin Host and Jennifer Coughlan), Battle-related trauma (Shannon Novak), Arms and Armour of the Fifteenth Century: Weapons (Graeme Rimer), Armour (Thom Richardson), Combat techniques (John Waller), The wider implications of the discovery: The potential of the site for improved understanding of the Towton battle and battlefield (Tim Sutherland), How has the Towton project contributed to our knowledge of medieval warfare? (ChristopherKnusel and Anthea Boylston), Battlefield protection and the current extent of archaeological research (Veronica Fiorato).