View Full Version : Face of Stirling Castle warrior reconstructed

05-18-2010, 08:49 AM
A reconstruction has revealed the face of a medieval knight whose skeleton was discovered at Stirling Castle.

Experts are now attempting to discover the identity of the warrior, who is likely to have been killed in the 13th or 14th Century.

The skeleton is one of 10 excavated from the site of a lost royal chapel at the castle. The skeleton of a woman was found near the knight.

Forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black is leading the investigation.

It is believed the knight could have been killed during Scotland's Wars of Independence with England.

Techniques have advanced a long way and we can now tell much more about where people came from, their lifestyles and causes of death

The castle changed hands several times and scientific tests have been used to work out whether the knight might have been a Scot, an Englishman or even French.

Efforts by Prof Black, of Dundee University, to find out more about the warrior's life and death will be featured in BBC Two's History Cold Case series on Thursday.

Richard Strachan, senior archaeologist with Historic Scotland, said the facial reconstruction gives a "powerful impression" of what the knight may have looked like.

"He was a very strong and fit nobleman, with the physique of a professional rugby player, who would have been trained since boyhood to handle heavy swords and other weapons and who would have spent a great deal of time on horseback," he said.

'Unusual' group

Historic Scotland, which cares for the castle, has announced it is commissioning further research to find out more about the 10 skeletons, which include two infants.

They date from the 13th to 15th Centuries and were found during preparatory work for a 12m refurbishment of the castle's Renaissance royal palace.

Biological anthropologist Dr Jo Buckberry, of the University of Bradford, is part of the team which will carry out the research.

She said: "Techniques have advanced a long way since the skeletons were discovered in 1997 and we can now tell much more about where people came from, their lifestyles and causes of death.

"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 facial reconstruction and other research results, will feature in a permanent exhibition due to open at Stirling Castle next spring

Source (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/8687199.stm)

The Black Prince
05-19-2010, 07:46 PM
Here is some background, this guy was a beefy character.:cool:
And that skull, it looks like a brother of Cro-Magnon.

One of the wounds can be seen on the front of the skull.

Archaeologists believe that bones discovered at Stirling Castle may have belonged to a knight killed in battle or during a siege in the early 1400s. It is thought that despite the warrior's relatively young age of about 25, he may have suffered several serious wounds from earlier fights.

Researchers thinks it is also possible he may have been living for some time with a large arrowhead in his chest. The bones were discovered in a chapel at the castle in 1997. They were excavated when archaeologists were working in an area of the castle which turned out to be the site of a lost medieval royal chapel.

Peter Yeoman, from Historic Scotland, said because the man was buried at the heart of a royal castle, it was indicative he was a person of prestige, possibly a knight.Some research was carried out on the skeleton at the time of its discovery, but a lack of technology meant it was difficult to assess the remains in more detail. Since then scientists have been able to perform laser scanning which revealed the wounds.

Bone regrowth around a dent in the front of the skull suggested the man had recovered from a severe blow, possibly from an axe. The warrior had also lost a number of teeth - perhaps from a blow, or a fall from a horse. The fatal wound, however, occurred when something, possibly a sword, sliced through his nose and jaw.

Mr Yeoman said: "We know little about this burial area but the evidence suggests it was sometimes used during extreme circumstances, for example to bury the dead during a siege. "However, by using modern analysis techniques we have started to discover quite remarkable information about this man. "It appears he died in his mid-20s after a short and violent life.

"His legs were formed in a way that was consistent with spending a lot of time on horseback, and the upper body points to someone who was well-muscled, perhaps due to extensive training with medieval weapons."

A large, tanged arrowhead was found in skeleton and appears to have struck through the back or under the arm. Crystalised matter attached to the arrowhead may have been from flies or other insect larvae and could have been from clothing the arrow forced into the wound."At first we had thought the arrow wound had been fatal but it now seems he had survived it and may have had his chest bound up."

Little is known about who the man was or where he came from. Further study is planned on tooth enamel and bone samples which may shed light on his origins. His body appeared to have been buried in the same grave as a small boy of one to three years old.

Archaeologists cannot be certain that the two were linked but radiocarbon dating suggests both date from the early 15th Century, and there was no evidence of one grave having been cut through the other. They were part of a group of 12 skeletons, some highly fragmentary, which were discovered.

Among them was a female, probably buried some time in the 13th Century, who had two neat, square holes through her skull which were consistent with blows from a war hammer.

05-21-2010, 02:43 AM
Obviously mostly Cromagnid type - but with Nordid influences.

Also the first thing which came to my mind in this setting was William Wallace and "Braveheart" I have to confess. ;)