Durham University archaeologists to hold public consultation on Scottish soldiers

The following is an article provided by Palatinate.

Durham University archaeologists are to present their findings on the Dunbar soldiers, to an audience in Dunbar, Scotland, this November.

The event reflects the desire of the team to consult widely on the next steps of the process.

The Durham University archaeology team, along with Canon Rosalind Brown of Durham Cathedral, will present their findings and ask for feedback on the possibility of further research, reburial and commemoration.

The public consultation event will be held on 30th November, St Andrew’s Day.

Earlier this year, Palatinate reported on the findings of the archaeology team. Since then the revelations have received the attention of much of the national press.

After extensive analysis, the University announced that the remains, whose origin has been unknown for nearly 400 years, were Scottish soldiers who fought in the 1650 Battle of Dunbar.

The team gave a commitment to consult a wide range of interested parties and organisations before making any decisions.

The bodies will eventually be reburied – a condition of the exhumation licence issued by the Ministry of Justice.

Professor Chris Gerrard, Head of the Department of Archaeology, who led the research team, said: “There has been a huge expression of interest in the project.

“We have been engaging with people and organisations from Scotland and throughout the UK and globally, some of whom have a view on what happens to the remains of the Scottish Soldiers.

“From the outset we have expressed our commitment to consulting widely on the next steps.

“Given the strong historical links with Dunbar we thought it fitting to bring our event there to give local people and interest groups a chance to hear from the researchers involved in the project and to give their opinions on further research, reburial and commemoration.”

The Battle of Dunbar was one of the bloodiest of the 17th century civil wars and pitted English Parliamentarian forces against Scottish supporters of Charles II.

In less than an hour the English Parliamentarian army, led by Oliver Cromwell, defeated the Scottish Covenanting army.

The Scottish prisoners were marched south to be incarcerated at Durham cathedral. Around 1,700 people died of malnutrition, cold, or disease after the 100-mile march.

Andy Robertson, Archaeology Officer at East Lothian Council, Scotland, said: “The work of Durham University adds an exciting new element to the story of the Battle of Dunbar and to our understanding of the events surrounding the battle.

“This public consultation is a great opportunity to find out more about some of the participants in this famous battle.”

Photograph: North News