Wednesday, May 19, 2010
A knight rebuilt
This is the University of Dundee's CSI style reconstruction of a knight who would have died in a tournament around the time of the battle of Stirling Bridge. (1297) The scar on his forehead was a healed battle axe wound, (must have bled like hell!) and there is a second one on his left brow. The fact that he survived it shows the value of a helmet! In addition to his damaged noggin, he had an arrowhead lodged in his chest. That arrow might have slowed him down some, but the sword blow would have finished him off.
This is what the fellow would have looked like before the sudden violent blow which eventually killed him...a sword blow which sheared through his nose and jaw.
Considering where he died...Stirling Castle....there is a certain amount of question about his identity, however at five foot seven inches, and very solidly built, the young man (in his mid 20's) was used to handling weapons. His bones were very solid, and the insertion points of tendons indicate that he was very solidly built. No doubt his physique would have resembled that of a modern rugby player. He also had the characteristic bone spurs on his hip bones of extensive and regular horse-back riding.
Best guess of his identity...Robert Morley, English knygt, died in tournament at Stirling Castle 1388. Though apparently the Time Team people have a different theory, and are putting an entire episode together to prove it. Well, we will see now won't we!
The University of Bradford's Dr Jo Buckberry examines a female skeleton which was found alongside that of the knight underneath the castle chapel.
One of the best articles about this work may be found here.
It is by examining the relics of the past that we learn so much of how they lived, and in this case, died. It is interesting of course to see what the bones can tell us about the individuals involved, however as Dr. Jo Buckbury (who did the excavation) states, "This group is highly unusual, because of where and when the people were buried, suggesting that they might have been socially important and have died during extreme events such as sieges. "
The "Time Team" people will have a whole episode on this fellow on Thursday. "Stirling Man". In it they will attempt to show why this fellow is NOT Bob Morley, and who he might be instead. Can't wait!