An exciting new piece of research that will shed further light on the Battle of Bannockburn has been announced from the University of Stirling.
Dr Richard Tipping, of the university's history department, has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust to the tune of £120,000 to conduct a detailed forensic study of the battlefield with a view to determining the state of the ground at the time.
Whilst we know broadly what happened at Bannockburn, there are no contemporary or eye-witness accounts of the battle and the detail of the iconic engagement has always been shrouded in mystery. However, improvements in carbon dating techniques should now enable Dr Tipping and his team to map the Carse of Stirling as it was in 1314.
Dr Tipping's work could change our interpretation of the battle entirely. For example, he will be able to determine the position of trees on the Carse and what impact they might have had on the strategy adopted by King Robert I. It has always been assumed that the Carse was marshland, but this study will establish whether or not this was the case, potentially forcing historians to revise their view of the English King Edward II's tactics: the prevailing view is that he made a cardinal error in pitching camp in a bog, which hampered his heavy cavalry the following morning.
It is anticipated that the study will be completed by August and that it will form a centrepiece of the new, state of the art Bannockburn Heritage Centre, which is to be opened by the National Trust for Scotland in time for the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the battle in June 2014.