Does this skull belong to a soldier of the Battle of Hastings?

25/5/14 .- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

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Does this skull belong to a soldier of the Battle of Hastings? 1,000-year-old remains found near famous battlefield reveal man was hacked six times in the head from behind

* Remains were found Lewes, East Sussex - around 20 miles from the famous battlefield - on the site of a medieval hospital
* They belong to a 45-year-old-man who took six sword blows to the top of his head before dying
* Scientists used radio carbon dating to conclude that the man was probably involved in fighting at the time of the Norman invasion
* They think he was likely British because of the way he was buried
* No bones have previously been recovered of anyone who fought and died in the battle of 1066 and experts are excited by the discovery


The famous battle took place nearly 1,000 years ago, but the badly scarred skull of a man could be the first-ever recorded victim of the Battle of Hastings.

Experts have revealed that it belongs to a 45-year-old man who was hacked six times with a sword to the back of his head – and could provide first-hand evidence of the brutal battle of 1066.

No bones have previously been discovered of anyone who fought and died during the historic event.
The skull forms part of a skeleton that was first dug up in 1994 during excavations in Lewes, East Sussex - around 20 miles from the famous battlefield.

Bones were originally sent to experts at the University of York as part of preparations to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes.
But radiocarbon testing of the remains at the University of Edinburgh dated them to 28 years either side of 1063.

Scientists believe the man was therefore likely to have been involved in fighting at the time of the Norman invasion and the Battle of Hastings.

Based upon the way he was buried, they think he was probably British.

Osteoarchaeologist Malin Holst from the University of York said: ‘The first injury was probably a cut to the right side of the ear and upper jaw.

‘This was then followed by a series of sword cuts, all delivered from the left hand side behind the victim, in a downward and horizontal motion.’

The Norman invaders were thought to have buried their dead in a mass grave, but there were records of the bones of English fighters being visible on the hillsides years later.
This skeleton was found on the site of a former medieval hospital.

Tim Sutherland, a battlefield expert from the University of York, said: ‘The skeleton is apparently unique in that it appears to be the only individual ever recorded which could be related to the Norman invasion. A remarkable new story could be unfolding.’

Edwina Livesey from the Sussex Archaeological Society described the find as ‘shocking’.

‘When I heard the news I was completely gobsmacked. It begins to paint a picture of what might have happened in the aftermath.

‘They haven’t found any grave pits of the Normans. The ground is very acidic so the bones may not have survived.’

Ms Holst said that from bone analysis they could tell that the man ate a diet rich in marine fish and was at least 45 years old.

‘He had some spinal abnormalities and suffered from chronic infection of the sinuses.

‘He showed age-related wear and tear of the joints of his spine, shoulders and left wrist, which might have been uncomfortable.

‘He had lost a few teeth during life, possibly as a result of receding gums. He had two small tumours on his skull.’

Although he was violently killed, the man had sustained some other kind of head injury up to two years before his death.

She said: ‘He had sustained an injury to the left temple which caused a blood clot to form. It was well-healed at the time of his death.’

English Heritage said: ‘This is a fascinating discovery and a potentially very interesting piece of evidence from the second half of the 11th century. It certainly demonstrates the violence of the period.

‘It would be a reasonable hypothesis that this individual could have some links to the Norman Conquest, but further research is essential in understanding the potential significance of this skeleton.’

1066 AND THE NORMAN CONQUEST OF ENGLAND

The Norman conquest of England encompasses the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army of Norman, Breton, and French soldiers led by Duke William II of Normandy, later William the Conqueror.

William's claim to the English throne originated from his relation to the childless Anglo-Saxon King Edward the Confessor. Edward died in January 1066 and was succeeded by his brother-in-law Harold Godwinson.

William was known for his skill as as a military leader. His troops, with both infantry and cavalry, were feared and respected. He had fought and defeated the king of France in 1054 and 1057.

The Norwegian king Harald Hardrada invaded northern England in September 1066, was victorious at the Battle of Fulford, but Harold defeated and killed him at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25 September 1066.

Soon after, William landed in southern England. Harold marched south to confront him, leaving a large portion of his army in the north. Harold's army confronted William's invaders on 14 October at the Battle of Hastings; William's force defeated Harold, who was killed.

In 1066, Battle was an important area. Even in the Domesday Book, the region of Sussex was valued at £48 before the battle and £30 in 1066 itself.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2636252/Does-skull-belong-victim-Battle-Hastings-1-000-year-old-remains-near-battlefield-reveal-man-hacked-six-times-sword.html#ixzz32j4iRTPg
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