The terrain around Stirling at the battle of Bannockburn 1314: combined scientific and documentary approaches to reconstruction. I. The ‘low road’

Richard Tipping, Gordon Cook, Derek Hamilton, John G. Harrison, Jason Jordan, Danny Paterson, David E. Smith

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Abstract

Bannockburn is of immense importance in the Medieval histories of England and Scotland. Where the battle took place is still unknown, as is the terrain, what the place looked like. The two parts of this paper examine these problems by generating new data on environmental and land use reconstruction. The physical appearance of the landscape was reconstructed from radiocarbon (14C) dating of landforms and palaeo-environmental analyses of sediment stratigraphies; new documentary evidence, specifically on the local environment and land use provided much detail. In Part I, we analyse the early 14th century landscape of the ‘low road’ to Stirling, across the coastal plain. This has been mis-interpreted by historians less concerned than us with detail. We have re-defined the complexity of the coastal plain, emphasized its dynamism, identified natural hazards that may have influenced decision-making by the combatants, including a new understanding of the Bannock Burn itself, debated with new evidence but not resolved key aspects of the land cover, and suggested a setting for the battle itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-47
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Conflict Archaeology
Volume17
Issue number1
Early online date5 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher: 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Journal of Conflict Archaeology Tipping, R, Cook, G, Hamilton, D, Harrison, JG, Jordan, J, Paterson, D & Smith, DE 2022, 'The terrain around Stirling at the battle of Bannockburn 1314: combined scientific and documentary approaches to reconstruction. I. The ‘low road’', Journal of Conflict Archaeology, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 30-47

It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funder

This work was supported by the Leverhulme Trust under Grant RPG-2012-717.

Keywords

  • Bannockburn
  • environmental reconstruction
  • radiocarbon dating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology

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