Like "touching the past" - Richard Holmes hails Battle of Bosworth site discovery

By Culture24 Staff | 29 October 2009
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a decorated cross shaped piece of bronze

Gilded bronze horse harness pendant. Courtesy of Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park

Archaeologists have discovered the site of the 1485 Battle of Bosworth in the Leicestershire countryside - a breakthrough TV historian Richard Holmes has likened to "being able to touch the past."

The three-year archaeological survey was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and has found that the battle was fought in the area between the villages of Dadlington, Shenton, Upton and Stoke Golding – a location not previously suggested.

A team of specialists used a variety of battlefield archaeology techniques and eventually came across the site using metal detectors that unearthed an exciting collection of finds.

a round shaped piece of bronze with a hole in the centre

Large Bronze mount or dagger rondel. Courtesy of Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park

"There is still much more to discover, but at last we have a site that goes beyond scholarly speculation and passionate local controversy," said Professor Richard Holmes, President of the Battlefields Trust.

"We can now see where those round-shot thudded into Leicestershire soil when Richard Plantagenet was still King of England and Henry Tudor was a mere pretender. "

"We are given to using expressions like exciting and ground breaking too easily, but no historical discovery has elated me more than this one, and I have seldom felt more conscious of being able to touch the past."

a large stone cannon ball

Lead roundshot showing clear evidence of firing 59.5mm. Courtesy of Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park

The exact location of the site will not be revealed until February 2010 to protect the anonymity of the site from illicit night hawkers.

“This is the second epic victory on Bosworth’s history-steeped soil - and this time it is one for the archaeologists and all who supported the world-class example of what can be achieved through archaeological research,” said Jon Humble, the English Heritage Inspector of Ancient Monuments for the East Midlands.

“After more than 500 years, Leicestershire’s landscape has at last revealed one of its greatest and, until now, most elusive secrets,” he added. “The key message is that this is a truly magnificent result for archaeology, Bosworth and all those who have supported the project.”

an old coin with a shield on it

Double patard of Charles the Bold of Burgundy 1467-77. Courtesy of Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park

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