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Battle Of Bannockburn

Battle Site (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Battle Of Bannockburn

Classification Battle Site (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Bannockburn Battle

Canmore ID 47243

Site Number NS89SW 11

NGR NS 815 917

NGR Description Centred NS 815 917

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/47243

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Administrative Areas

  • Council Stirling
  • Parish St Ninians
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Stirling
  • Former County Stirlingshire

Archaeology Notes

NS89SW 11 centred 815 917

(NS 816 918) Site of (NAT)

Battle of Bannockburn (NR)

24th June 1314 (NAT)

OS 6" map (1967).

For Bannockburn Heritage Centre (NS 79766 90550: including Rotunda and Statue of Robert the Bruce), see NS79SE 15.00.

The Battle of Bannockburn, decisive battle in the Scottish Wars of Independence, was fought between Robert I and Edward II on June 23rd and 24th 1314, resulting in the defeat of the English army. Doubt has existed as to the exact site of the battle but recent research has narrowed the choice of sites to two adjacent areas - the Carse of Balquhiderock (area centred NS 815 917) proposed by Christison, and Dryfield of Balquhiderock (area centred NS 807 909) suggested by Barrow. Barrow's site might be favoured on the strength of the argument that Edward II could not have committed his heavy cavalry on marshy carse-land, but there is no conclusive proof either way. (See NS79SE 15 - Bore Stone).

P Christison 1959; G W S Barrow 1965

Brander gives a description of the battle, and his plan agrees with Barrow.

M Brander 1975

This battlefield was included in a nation-wide study of key battle sites. A detailed gazetteer was created by The Battlefield Trust, which includes an historical overview of each site, detailed assessments of the action and its location and the number of troops involved, casualties, sources of information and an interpretation of the events and its impact on history. For more detail see the gazetteer and associated materials - MS 2522.

The site of this key battle is hotly disputed by historians, with around 5 different locations suggested. The key area where the English army was largely destroyed was the large ditch of Bannockburn, where the fleeing English army was routed, with many drowning in the water.

G Foard and T Partida 2005.

Architecture Notes

EXTERNAL REFERENCE

NATIONAL LIBRARY:

Earnock Manuscripts no 109 - 1 engraving.

Activities

Test Pit Survey (22 August 2013 - 30 August 2013)

The investigations at Cambusbarron and Redhall involved 44 volunteers in a metaldetecting survey, a geophysical survey and in the excavation of 24 targeted hand excavated 1 m² test pits. This work was carried out as part of ongoing work leading up to the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in June 2014, in collaboration with The Centre for Battlefield Archaeology, The National Trust for Scotland, Stirling Council and BBC Scotland.

The metal-detecting survey retained a total of 560 finds. The discard included post imperial coinage, agricultural machinery debris and modern refuse. The retained finds included 12 coins ranging from a hammered copper alloy (pre-seventeenth century) coin. There were coin identifiable to the nineteenth and twentieth century although most of the milled coins bore no unidentifiable marks. Other finds included equestrian items such as 26 horse shoes (or fragments) and one spur fragment. Also recovered

were six copper alloy buttons, two lead buttons and four buckles (2 iron, 2 copper alloy). The remaining majority of finds are as yet unidentified.

The geophysical survey did reveal several anomalies using resistivity. Unfortunately on this occasion none of the test pits targeting the anomalies uncovered built remains, human remains or features that could be definitively related to the Battlefield of Bannockburn or the site of the chapel. However the anomalies found in the common area did correspond to early attempts at terracing the slope at Cambusbarron. These topographic modifications may well be contemporary with the use of this site for the medieval chapel.

The material culture recovered from the test pits included medieval ceramic dating from thirteenth through to the fifteenth century. The assemblage at Cambusbarron included one sherd of white gritty ware, some Scottish red ware sherds and reduced green-glazed pottery as well as considerable amounts of late medieval 14/15 th C green-glazed pottery sherds. Finds from the test pits at Redhall also included pottery of similar 14/15th C date, a copper alloy tool and a small lentoid copper alloy object

with a pointed end.

Information from Oasis (darc1-172403) 10 March 2014

Geophysical Survey (22 August 2013 - 30 August 2013)

NS 77846 92514 (Cambusbarron) and NS 81712 91148 (Redhall) The investigations undertaken 22–30 August 2013 involved 44 volunteers in surveys and the excavation of 24 targeted hand excavated 1m² test pits. This work was carried out as part of ongoing work leading up to the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in June 2014, in collaboration with The Centre for Battlefield Archaeology, The National Trust for Scotland, Stirling Council and BBC Scotland.

The metal detector survey retained a total of 560 finds, including 12 coins ranging from a hammered copper alloy (pre-17th century) coin to 20th-century coins, although most of the milled coins bore no identifiable marks. Other finds included equestrian items such as 26 horse shoes (or fragments) and 1 stirrup fragment. Also recovered were 6 copper alloy buttons, 2 lead buttons and 4 buckles (2 iron and 2 copper alloy).

The geophysical survey identified several anomalies using resistivity. Unfortunately none of the test pits targeting the anomalies uncovered built remains, human remains or features that could be definitively related to the Battlefield of Bannockburn or the site of the chapel. However the anomalies found in the common area did correspond to early attempts at terracing the slope at Cambusbarron. These topographic modifications may well be contemporary with the medieval chapel.

The material culture recovered from the test pits included 13th- to 15th-century medieval ceramic. The assemblage at Cambusbarron included one sherd of white gritty ware, some Scottish red ware sherds and reduced green-glazed pottery as well as considerable amounts of late medieval green-glazed pottery sherds. Finds from the test pits at Redhall also included pottery of similar 14th/15th-century date, a copper alloy tool and a small lentoid copper alloy object with a pointed end.

Archive: RCAHMS

Funder: NTS and BBC Scotland

Warren Bailie, GUARD Archaeology Ltd, 2013

(Source: DES)

Test Pit Survey (17 June 2013 - 23 June 2013)

The investigations at the ‘Bannockburn Big Dig’ at Braehead, Balqhidderock Wood, Broomhill and residents’s gardens involved 250 volunteers in a metal-detecting survey, a geophysical survey and in the excavation of 139 targeted hand excavated 1 m² test pits. This work was carried out as part of ongoing work leading up to the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in June 2014, in collaboration with The Centre for Battlefield Archaeology, The National Trust for Scotland and BBC Scotland.

The metal-detecting survey retained a total of 133 finds (78 from Braehead, 55 from Balqhidderock Wood). The discard included post imperial coinage, agricultural machinery debris and modern picnic refuse in the form of bottle tops and ring pulls. The retained finds included 21 coins ranging from an Elizabethan penny to coinage from the mid to late twentieth century with five as yet unidentified coins. Other finds included equestrian fittings and buttons. The remaining majority of finds are as yet unidentified.

The geophysical survey did reveal several anomalies on the resistivity and gradiometer plots. Unfortunately on this occasion none of the test pits targeting the anomalies uncovered features that could be directly related to the Battlefield of Bannockburn.

From the 139 test pits excavated across the three areas the material culture included medieval ceramic dating from thirteenth through to the fifteenth century. The assemblage included one sherd of white gritty ware, some Scottish red ware sherds and reduced green-glazed pottery as well as considerable amounts of late medieval 14/15 th C green-glazed pottery sherds. Finds from the test pits also included a copper alloy belt buckle fragments and a copper alloy button. One test pit at Braehead revealed a possible fire pit of unknown date.

Information from Oasis (guardarc1-154970) 11 February 2014

Test Pit Survey (13 September 2013 - 14 September 2013)

The investigations at the Braehead Community Garden was achieved with the help of volunteers from the local community, including 350 school children from the nearby Braehead Primary School and Nursery. The metal-detecting survey was conducted across the 1.5 hectare site by members of the Scottish Artefact Recovery Group (SARG) and Detecting Scotland working alongside GUARD Archaeology staff. 21 test pits were excavated during the course of the two day project. This work was carried out ahead of the construction of a Community Garden at Braehead.

The metal-detecting survey retained a total of 97 finds. The discard included modern picnic refuse in the form of bottle tops and ring pulls. The retained finds included a musket ball, a copper alloy decorative shoe/buckle piece, an iron plated button with crowned lion design, a copper alloy button and a small copper pointed object (possible part of a writing implement). Many of the corroded iron objects are unidentifiable but

are likely to be debris form post-medieval agricultural machinery.

From the 21 test pits excavated across the three areas the material culture included medieval ceramic dating from thirteenth through to the fifteenth century. The assemblage included one sherd of reduced green-glazed 15th Century pottery as well two unglazed sherds of similar date. A copper alloy thimble and a small blue glass bead were also recovered from the test pits.

Information from Oasis (guardarc1-173909) 10 March 2014

Project (25 September 2015 - 2 June 2016)

An archaeological evaluation and metal detecting survey was undertaken by AOC Archaeology Group prior to the development of an Audi Workshop (Planning Application No. 14/00222/FUL) at Plot 12, Craig Leith Road, Stirling (NGR: NS 81366 88189).

Information from Yvonne Robertson and Kevin Paton (AOC Archaeology Group) 3 June 2016. OASIS ID: aocarcha1-253660

Metal Detector Survey (25 September 2015)

The metal detecting survey was conducted on 25th September 2015. Detecting conditions were good and full coverage of the area was achieved. The development area appears to have been waste ground

for some time and had previously contained large amounts of vegetation and contains some areas of made ground and underground services. The ground was contaminated with wire, nails, tin cans, ring pulls and other detritus. All finds were modern and were not recovered.  

Information from Yvonne Robertson and Kevin Paton (AOC Archaeology Group) 3 June 2016. OASIS ID: aocarcha1-253660

Archaeological Evaluation (2 June 2016)

The archaeological evaluation was conducted on the 2nd June 2016. The workshop construction had almost been completed upon arrival on site with the areas to be evaluated at the N and NE edge of site left without tarmac. A single 15 m long trench was excavated through an area in the NE corner, encountering modern type 1 sitting upon a geogrid that overlay the 0.2 m thick former dark brown clayey topsoil. This in turn overlay 0.17 m of made ground consisting of grey and orange clay that directly overlay the natural orange clay subsoil.

Information from Yvonne Robertson and Kevin Paton (AOC Archaeology Group) 3 June 2016. OASIS ID: aocarcha1-253660

References

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