The need for scientists to add objective data to historical studies is argued using as a case study the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The terrain was critical in this battle, as in so many others, but cannot be understood from the few primary sources, which are not contemporary and are strongly biased. Scientific techniques can cut through hyperbole. The methodology and techniques used to better understand the landscape around the battle are briefly discussed, particularly new advances in radiocarbon dating which enable analysis to approach the chronological precision of the archaeologist, if not the historian. Our data are argued to have clarified muddled interpretations.
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- Bannockburn 1314
- Battlefield archaeology
- Environmental history
- Environmental reconstruction