Blood Red Roses: The Archaeology of a Mass Grave from the Battle of Towton AD 1461, second edition [Paperback]

Veronica Fiorato (Author); Anthea Boylston (Author); Christopher Knusel (Author)

ISBN: 9781842172896 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2007 | Language: English 294p, plus 10p of colour plates

Blood Red Roses


The Battle of Towton in North Yorkshire, fought during the Wars of the Roses, was reputedly the bloodiest battle ever seen on English soil. In 1996 a mass grave of soldiers was discovered there by chance. This was the catalyst for a multi-disciplinary research project, still unique in Britain ten years after the initial discovery, which included a study of the skeletal remains, the battlefield landscape, the historical evidence and contemporary arms and armour. The discoveries were dramatic and moving; the individuals had clearly suffered traumatic deaths and subsequent research highlighted the often multiple wounds each individual had received before and, in some cases, after they had died. As well as the exciting forensic work the project also revealed much about medieval weaponry and fighting.

Blood Red Roses contains all the information about this fascinating discovery, as well as discussing its wider historical, heritage and archaeological implications. The second edition features new chapters by a re-enactor and a history teacher, which apply the research from the initial study to produce a veritable 'living history'.

Table of Contents

Site discovery, context and excavation
The context of the discovery (Veronica Fiorato)
The historical background to the battle and the documentary evidence (Andrew Boardman)
The excavation and finds (Andrea Burgess)
Recording the grave (Tim Sutherland)
The Human Remains
The physical anthropology (Anthea Boylston, Malin Holst and Jennifer Coughlan)
Health status (Jennifer Coughlan and Malin Holst)
Dental health and disease (Malin Host and Jennifer Coughlan)
Battle-related trauma (Shannon Novak)
Arms and Armour of the Fifteenth Century: Weapons (Graeme Rimer)
Armour (Thom Richardson)
Combat techniques (John Waller)
The wider implications of the discovery
The potential of the site for improved understanding of the Towton battle and battlefield (Tim Sutherland)
How has the Towton project contributed to our knowledge of medieval warfare? (Christopher Knusel and Anthea Boylston)
Battlefield protection and the current extent of archaeological research (Veronica Fiorato)

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