Does this skull belong to a soldier of the Battle of Hastings? 1,000-year-old remains found near famous battlefield reveal man was hacked six times in the head from behind
By Sarah Griffiths
Published: 08:38 EST, 22 May 2014 | Updated: 11:15 EST, 22 May 2014
The famous battle took place nearly 1,000 years ago, but the badly scarred skull of a man could be the first-ever recorded victim of the Battle of Hastings.
|Battle scarred: The badly damaged skull of a man (pictured) |
could be the first-ever recorded victim of the Battle of Hastings.
Experts have revealed that it belongs to a 45-year-old man
Experts have revealed that it belongs to a 45-year-old man who was hacked six times with a sword to the back of his head – and could provide first-hand evidence of the brutal battle of 1066.
No bones have previously been discovered of anyone who fought and died during the historic event.The skull forms part of a skeleton that was first dug up in 1994 during excavations in Lewes, East Sussex - around 20 miles from the famous battlefield.
|The skeleton, which bears the marks of battle, was found in Lewes, around 20 miles from the famous battlefield, thought to be located in Battle, East Sussex|
Bones were originally sent to experts at the University of York as part of preparations to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes.
But radiocarbon testing of the remains at the University of Edinburgh dated them to 28 years either side of 1063.Scientists believe the man was therefore likely to have been involved in fighting at the time of the Norman invasion and the Battle of Hastings.
Based upon the way he was buried, they think he was probably British.Osteoarchaeologist Malin Holst from the University of York said: ‘The first injury was probably a cut to the right side of the ear and upper jaw.
‘This was then followed by a series of sword cuts, all delivered from the left hand side behind the victim, in a downward and horizontal motion.’
This skeleton was found on the site of a former medieval hospital.
|No bones have previously been discovered of anyone who fought and died during the historic event, so the remains of the 45-year-old (pictured) thought to have died in battle, are a first|
Edwina Livesey from the Sussex Archaeological Society described the find as ‘shocking’.‘When I heard the news I was completely gobsmacked. It begins to paint a picture of what might have happened in the aftermath.
‘They haven’t found any grave pits of the Normans. The ground is very acidic so the bones may not have survived.’Ms Holst said that from bone analysis they could tell that the man ate a diet rich in marine fish and was at least 45 years old.
‘He had some spinal abnormalities and suffered from chronic infection of the sinuses.‘He showed age-related wear and tear of the joints of his spine, shoulders and left wrist, which might have been uncomfortable.
‘He had lost a few teeth during life, possibly as a result of receding gums. He had two small tumours on his skull.’Although he was violently killed, the man had sustained some other kind of head injury up to two years before his death.
She said: ‘He had sustained an injury to the left temple which caused a blood clot to form. It was well-healed at the time of his death.’English Heritage said: ‘This is a fascinating discovery and a potentially very interesting piece of evidence from the second half of the 11th century. It certainly demonstrates the violence of the period.
‘It would be a reasonable hypothesis that this individual could have some links to the Norman Conquest, but further research is essential in understanding the potential significance of this skeleton.’
HAROLD'S LAST STAND WAS ON THE A2100, NOT AT BATTLE ABBEY, EXPERTS CLAIM
In late 2013, experts claimed that King Harold died with an arrow in his eye not at the site of Battle Abbey (which has a dedicated vistor's centre - but on a spot that is now a roundabout on the A2100.Archaeologists from Channel 4's Time team excavated grounds around the Abbey and the other site proposed by historian John Grehan.
They found no evidence that either place was where the army of William the Conqueror triumphed over the forces of Harold, the English King.Using aerial laser imaging, Time Team then mapped the terrain - on the basis of which a group of experts agreed that the most likely location for the battle was a roundabout joining Upper and Lower Lake in the town of Battle.
Time Team said the mapping had ‘proved’ that the traditional battlefield - on the land directly below the Abbey - would have been too boggy for William’s cavalry.‘Military analysts studied the data to see where Harold, a skilled commander, would most probably have mounted his defence,’ explained a Channel 4 spokesman.
‘They identified the only ideal battlefield. It seems Harold’s fearsome Saxon shield wall straddled a narrow strategic pass that is on today’s A2100.’
|A new battle: In late 2013, experts claimed that King Harold died with an arrow in his eye not at the site of Battle Abbey (which has a dedicated vistor's centre - but on a spot that is now a roundabout on the A2100|
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2636252/Does-skull-belong-victim-Battle-Hastings-1-000-year-old-remains-near-battlefield-reveal-man-hacked-six-times-sword.html#ixzz32TbkGIky