Blood Red Roses: The Archaeology of a Mass Grave from the Battle of Towton, AD 1461 by Veronica Fiorato
In 1996 a mass grave believed to be from the Battle of Towton was discovered by chance. This provided the opportunity for the first archaeological excavation of a mass grave from an English battlefield and was the catalyst for a multi-disciplinary research project, beginning with the excavation of the grave, and then 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. The exciting forensic work was documented in the Channel 4 programme Secrets of the Dead. An important and controversial question that emerged was whether the soldiers had been killed in battle, or executed as prisoners in its aftermath. This volume publishes the excavation reports and subsequent research, revealing much information about how and in what circumstances the men died and the fighting techniques, weapons and armour employed. Also discussed are the wider implications of the discovery, both in terms of increasing our understanding of what happened at Towton, and what it contributes to our knowledge of Medieval warfare.