Posts Tagged With: author nick austin
We visited the Oxford Archeology excavations down on the marsh at the old port of Hastings. Here are the images of the timbers and location:
Amazing archaeological discoveries on the Combe Haven marsh confirming this marsh was the port of Hastings pre 1066. See location detail at this map, pan out and see the other elements that are detailed by pins
This is the revised map of Upper Wilting Farm – Chapel Field – through which the A259 link road is planned (red lines mark the land envelope through which it will be dug). We will be showing this on the video soon when we have the right material. It forms definitive proof that the Normans were camped here because no-one had any need to do this work except the Normans. Its not Iron Age and its not medieval and its not farming – it is a serious earthworks defense with ditches and post holes to hold the fences to fall back upon if required. They had two weeks to prepare it. It is currently hidden and only revealed by dowsing. Earth levels shown in the Wessex Archaeology dig of 1979 confirm that earth has been removed from one side of the field and put on top of earlier inhabitation (probably Iron Age) thus confirming the description in the Carmen of Hastings which states the place where the Normans landed had “dissmantled forts” – in this case one at the top of the field and one at the bottom as shown in the Bayeux Tapestry.
Nothing like a real test to sort things out. If the road builders are so confident then they must make sure this claim is investigated by the Oxford archaeologists. After all if I am wrong then its full speed ahead, but theres the double edge to the challenge, because if I am right then these trenches form proof of the Normans. Maybe I am sticking my neck out on this but why not? Dowsing isn’t an infallible art but it works for me most of the time and if I’m right people will know the truth what ever excuse they come up with this time. These ditches can be seen on the LIDAR scans and the eareth is physically piled up on the defense at the East end and the ditches can be seen at the West end of the fort.
Hi Nick,I’ve been following your work & website with a great deal on interest.
I think your arguments for the landing site and the location of the Malfoss as being very persuasive. I hope you are able to find concrete proof.
As regards battlefield finds – you may find the work carried out by Charles Jones in locating the battlefield at Fulford helpful-
Charles verified the site by finding that the waste left after the battle was in fact recycled by the Vikings into new weapons & armour & it was this residue from the smelting operation that helped clinch it.
Like you though Charles is fighting to save the Fulford site from developers.
Anyway, good luck with your fight
Nick: this gives some idea of the difficulty we face – no recoverable iron objects found to date on any battlefield of this age etc and why earthworks are so important.
Though things have been a little quiet here for a few days, the wheels of progress are turning. I’ve been down to Wilting three times in as many days to continue with the scanning of the upper fort site. I’ve been using a non-ferrous detect to concentrate on picking up any unusual jewellery or gew-gaws that could have been dropped within the fort perimeter relevant to the period.
Chris Jordan’s recent post linking us all to the excellent Fulford battle site raises an important point regarding medieval battle sites:
“Little evidence could have survived the 938 years separating us from the battle on 20th September 1066 [Fulford], they pointed out. Medieval battlefields are not artefact-rich environments. The armies arrived, fought, died, fled or marched away after a few hours. The combatants came clad in iron armour, clutching iron weapons. Such ferrous fragments that survived the attention of scavengers would rust, so the material is not popular with archaeologists or conservationists. No site of this antiquity has so far yielded a recognizable weapon….
“The location of any mass graves was also unlikely. The damp, acid soil and subsequent agricultural activity would have dissolved and distributed any mortal remains within a century of the battle. Contemporary accounts record that wolves lived in the nearby woods ready to accelerate the dispersal process.”
Three battles were fought in 1066: Fulford (Norway v. northern English eorls), Stamford Bridge (King Harold v. Norway) and Hastings (King Harold v. Normandy). Of the three, only Hastings shows evidence in the literature of having substantial structures relevant to the site. Also, the Hastings site in general is vast, taking in the port, landing areas, two forts, the Crowhurst abbey and battlefield itself. It’s pushing it a bit to imagine nothing of significance remains. Troops often buried personal stuff before going into battle. If they subsequently died, no-one went back for the stuff.
Nick wants to find some Norman pottery, possibly in surviving postholes, which would be conclusive. Today I unearthed a third bronze ring which could be a horse bronze, we’re not sure yet. All three are heavily accreted and found reasonably deep. Some other curious artefacts have also come to light which are gracing the tank as we speak. We’re after the elusive find which will prove the game-changer. We’re also after the bodies.
In the two weeks leading up to the Battle of Hastings itself, William and his comitatus would have been in constant planning. We know that such planning would have taken place at William’s camp at the upper fort. We also know that provision would have to be made for the burial of Norman casualties if William won the battle. Poitiers indicates that the subsequent Norman dead were buried before Harold’s body was returned to William’s camp (at the upper fort at Wilting). That being the case, did William go to the trouble of carting hundreds of his dead nobles two miles back to Wilting, or did he inter them at the field? Investigations are continuing….
Saturday, 25th August 2012 – A further walk of the Norman Invasion landing site. Also, a brief overview of the LIDAR scans covering the area. The LIDAR was supplied by East Sussex County Council. It confirms the presence of the ditches and earthworks which were claimed to exist at the Public Inquiry but denied by the legal representatives of the Highways Agency. Now the work has been done this evidence confirms those Norman earthworks exist at the upper fort and lower fort where the ditch being dug is shown in the Bayeux Tapestry. Ditches dug by the Normans for defences form the major evidence of the use of the land. It can no longer be denied they are there.
There is a good possibility that the boats which are held in the Combe Haven can be identified by non intrusive magnetometry survey – which we plan to do later this year (funds permitting – donate donate donate:).
Point of interest: The mystery seam on the LIDAR is a secondary ditch in front of the mainNorman defense and the reason I have listed this entry from the blog in the discoveries secion. In the past evidence has been provided by the Highways Agency paid archaeologists that has proven to be incorrect. At Public Inquiry it was claimed the earthen bank at the top of the hill at Wilting, now known to be the fort of William whilst he camped at Wilting, was natural and not man made. This false evidence is repeated time and time again by those who oppose the detailed historical evidence that points to this site as the Invasion camp. In order to be clear: the evidence provided by Wessex Archaeology was an assumption put forward by Dr Gardner who sought to dissprove the Norman habitation evidence, by claiming it was a natural lynchet, which form on hillsides or slopes. However once Wessex had done the archaeology it was shown conclusively that it could not be a lynchet because the slop of the underlying hillside was less than 5% – the minimum slope required for one to form. Lynchets do not form on four sides of the same field. The inspector was therefore missled and therefore he dissmissed the evidence of the Norman earthen defense, because he was given false expert evidence at the Inquiry. Similarily post hole evidence containing 11th century pottery was ignored because the expert witness claimed at Inquiry that a very large post hole with 11th century pottery in it did not mean it was an 11th century post hole. If this principal were accepted by archaeologists as true no post holes could ever be used to date sites.
We are now going to look for the other ditches that may be there which we can see on the Lidar.
More video footage to help you understand the landing site at Wilting. No digging this weekend as its family time bank holiday – thanks to Phillip.
Did William, 7th Duke of Normandy. really land his invasion fleet at Pevensey? Not according to some surprising evidence. William had very good intelligence on the best landing sites to use and planned the landings down to the last detail with William Fitzosbern and Roger of Montgomery, the chief architects of the invasion. FitzOsbern’s younger brother, Osbern, was one of Edward the Confessor’s chaplains and possessed the church of Bosham in Sussex. As such he was well placed to pass along intelligence on the situation in England prior to the invasion.
This film covers a preliminary recon of William’s Combe Haven landing site at the Bulverhythe by Hastings Old Port, as well as the lower and upper fort areas he constructed, depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry and original literary sources.
There’s evidence some, if not all of the 700 plus boats of the Norman fleet were specially designed and built so they could be dismantled in England and the wood used to construct forts. The literature implies that some boats were burnt as a statement of intent of ‘no going back’. Others were dismantled for further use. Still others earthed up on the shore. The question is, are those still earthed up below the old shoreline and what might be left?
For more information, see Secrets of the Norman Invasion on Facebook. (Film best viewed in 720p, full screen).
I went up to see Alan Williams the metallurgist at the Wallace Collection in London yesterday to see if we could make any progress on the metal rings. Alan was extremely courteous and showed me their three rooms of armor in all its glory. A national museum hardly anyone knows is there in Manchester Square just behind Selfridges – well worth a visit (free). Unfortunately the earliest exhibits he had were 14th century and he had never seen anything like what we found. His view was it did not look like any armor he had experienced and had not seen a metal ring attached to a helm. Which of course was the reason I was there – so it was a rather frustrating day without any conclusion – other than I probably need an archaeological recovery person rather than a metallurgist. Alan did however inform me that they would not be able to identify the source of the metal from tests so that was useful to know. Armour in those days was exceedingly valuable with chain mail often having many thousands of rings – meaning everything was normally recovered from a battlefield (his view). In consequence we are left with the location being the most likely indication of its use and being on a farm he thought it might be a farm item. To be expected I suppose, but I know this is not correct, so I will not give up yet. He had not read anything on helms as early as 1066 so I sent him the reference document and he thanked me.
A bone found in the north malfosse stream responds to horse in dowsing but we have been unable to get confiration. Several vets have looked at it and shrugged. One suggested it might be a sheep but it doesnt appear to be a badger as first though and may be relevant – so we are not throwing it away because it was found just downstream of the Malfosse incident site. If ever we get the facilities we will get it confirmed by an expert. Dowsing responded to Norman Horse:)
Which goes to show even identifying a bone is difficult. It looks like the canon bone of a horse to me – a small horse.
This is what was at the center of the footwell ball of clay (mr footwell). At first it just looked like a bit of iron slag. But after going in the tank it now looks like a horse head on a stick of some kind, again someone has to look at this. The slit in the top where the ear would be initially looks like a split in the iron but careful examination shows the metalwork on the flake away from the main body of the head is a different metal on the inside of the split. Its is definitely a personal weapon of some sort according to the sticks.
Image of ear split featuring different metal
Item needs xray to determine how fixed – probably to metal handle at bottom back
Top Posts & Pages
- January 2018
- October 2016
- July 2016
- April 2016
- January 2016
- September 2015
- April 2015
- November 2014
- October 2014
- August 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012