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Battle of Otterburn fieldwork report produced

January 27, 2022

Our fieldwork investigation into the Battle of Otterburn, looking for physical evidence of the battle that took place in 1388, was carried out in August 2021 and involved a mixture of geophysical survey, test pitting and metal detecting survey. A report on the findings of the fieldwork has now been produced and is available to download below.

The main conclusions of the report are:

  • Neither the geophysical survey or test pitting identified the medieval road, which was thought to relate to the battle of Otterburn, or any contemporary features/finds associated with the battle.
  • However, the geophysical survey was generally successful in determining the presence and nature of archaeological remains across the site. Archaeological features identified included:
    •  several pit-like features, possibly containing burnt material, adjacent to a scheduled round cairn, which could suggest funerary practices associated with the monument
    • a series of ditch-like features that define former land parcels and which are probably from the medieval and post medieval period
    • a ditch and bank feature recorded as a footpath on historic mapping, but which may have earlier origins and possibly relate to the scheduled Roman temporary camp at Dargues
  • The gradiometer survey also identified several geomorphological features, most notably a series of former river channels.
  • The metal detecting survey resulted in the recovery of 68 items. The only items possibly relating to the period around the Battle of Otterburn are a belt buckle dating from the mid-14th to 17th century and a sword pommel recovered from a neighbouring field by a volunteer after the fieldwork had been completed, which is probably medieval or post medieval in date. The centuries long date range of these two items means neither of them can be conclusively linked to the battle.
  • The overall conclusion of the fieldwork is that the investigation of the fields available to us at the time of survey have failed to identify any significant evidence that the Battle of Otterburn took place across these land parcels.

If you would like to find out more about the Battle of Otterburn project, we are holding a free online Zoom talk about the project on Thursday 17th February, 8-8.45pm. The talk will be given by the Battlefields Trust and will discuss the findings of the last 3 and a half years of research into the battle as part of the Revitalising Redesdale scheme. You can register for your free place at https://www.revitalisingredesdale.org.uk/events/battle-of-otterburn-conflict-in-a-landscape-online-talk/

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