Back in April last year I did a post on some interesting recent archaeological research that had revealed the area of marshy ground which, according to contemporary sources, significantly shaped the battle that brought the reign of Richard III, the Plantagenet era and the Wars of the Roses (almost) to an end. The new evidence strongly suggested that the main fighting would have been done some distance to the south of the area generally identified as Bosworth Field. Its discovery resulted from a careful re-evaluation of a number of topographical clues in contemporary or near-contemporary sources, and from fieldwork that mapped the medieval patchwork of cultivation, fen, heath and moorland to enable a reconstruction of the late 15th century landscape. This area of about five square miles was then systematically surveyed with metal detectors
The breakthrough came "in the last week of planned fieldwork in the last possible area" after more than a year's work that had produced no significant finds. Gunpowder weapons, both artillery and hand guns, had recently appeared on the European battlefield and the sources refer to their deployment at Bosworth. The finds that are causing great excitement consist of 22 lead artillery roundshots of various sizes. This does not sound like a very significant number, but it is actually more than the total so far dug up on all other European 15th and 16th century battlefields. The roundshot and a quantity of smaller hand gun bullets were scattered over about 1,000 square yards and work is now being done to map the boundaries of this area as precisely as possible. But it does seem that the true battlefield has, at last, been found. The latest report from the dig goes into more detail, only omitting the exact location to protect any important evidence not yet uncovered from disturbance by amateur "detectorists". I haven't managed to visit Bosworth yet, though it is not far from home, and I think I will now wait a bit until more has been published about the fascinating developments in this important project.
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