Posts Tagged With: Nick Austin

Timbers found pre 1294 at Norman Invasion site

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

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Norman Defense at Norman Invasion site (earthworks and ditches) 5th September 2012

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.

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Chris Jordan Fulford post31st August 2012

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-​a_third_battle.htm
 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.

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Phillip Fulford post 31st August 2012

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….

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Phillip post 26th August 2012

Had a rather interesting few days detecting up at the Wilting Upper Fort area along the north stockade wall. Lots of long cast nails, 3-5 inches long, some longer, were found around 6-8″ down. Of course, this paddock has long been a farm site, so the skeptics’ argument will have it that we’re merely finding junk commensurate with farm activity, and yet I haven’t found these type of nails anywhere else in the paddock yet.

 I’m out again tomorrow to continue working this debris field to see if the nail discoveries continue along the north wall. I will also do a control detect in other areas of the paddock to determine if the nail finds are unique to where we believe the fort walls were constructed, or spread across the entire area. The hope is that these nails were accidentally dropped or discarded by Norman workmen as they were busily occupied nailing up the stockade wall to enclose the fort. Of course, nails alone do not a theory prove, but we also found a large broken key, a buckle, the Duke’s stainless steel can opener, and some other interesting bits. Nick’s reviewing these and dropping the hopeful bits into the tank to clean ’em up a bit.

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1st Norman Invasion Landing Site video 24th August 20112

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).

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Horse head stick (iron) 20th August 20112

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 1

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image under

Image of ear split featuring different metal

Item needs xray to determine how fixed – probably to metal handle at bottom back

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Crop damage shows ditches August 18th 2012

And I didn’t expect to see this. The crop has been badly damaged by rain in the last few weeks on the main Saxon battlefield at the bottom of the great feild by the farm buildings. However exactly where the “Saxon defense ditch is located, running across the field at the top of the ridge, looking down to where the Normans would have been, there is a crop mark running right across the field of crop that has stayed untouched (like a road). Its exactly the width of the ditch and convinces me that this ditch, which was dowsed is really there – that is why the crop remains where the ditch is – because the ground is deeper and the crop has got a better footing and water supply than the rest of the field which is now pretty decimated.
Like ·  · Unfollow post · 18 August at 18:42

 image here

Kevin Treacy and 2 others like this.
Tim Bush Excellent bit of evidence, but you really needs a geo phys survey to prove the anomaly dont you Nick. Either that or a couple of test pits put across the feature to get a cross-section look at it.
18 August at 18:54 · Like

Mike Waghorne yes I can see it well especially when the rest of the crop has been trashed
18 August at 22:49 · Edited · Like

We will be doing the geophys in October to confirm as long as we can get landowner permission

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Moving forward again 18th July 2012

Battle of Hastings – the Crowhurst Malfosse video

Here is a further investigation of ‘the Malfosse’, one of the most remarkable episodes in the most famous battle in English history, revealed in HD footage.

Duke William of Normandy lost dozens of mounted knights at the end of the Battle of Hastings following Harold’s death. A sizeable contingent of victorious Normans pursued the English as dusk was falling, cantering off the battlefield after them onto a wooden path where they plunged headlong into a precipitous ravine to their deaths.

The infamous incident became known as the ‘Malfosse’ after the French for ‘evil ditch’. A Malfosse capable of wreaking such havoc does not exist at the purported Battle of Hastings site at Battle Abbey. For more on the fascinating subject of England’s most famous battle misplaced, see “Secrets of the Norman Invasion” by Nick Austin at

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Malfosse walk with family 13th July 2012

The Chronicle of Battle Abbey states:

“Lamentably, just where the fighting was going on, and stretching for a considerable distance, an immense ditch yawned. It may have been a natural cleft in the earth or perhaps it had been hollowed out by storms. But in this waste ground it was overgrown with brambles and thistles, and could scarcely be seen; and it engulfed great numbers, especially the Normans in pursuit of the English. For when, all unknowing, they came galloping on, their terrific impetus carried them headlong down into it, and they died tragically, pounded to pieces. This deep pit has been named for the accident, and today it is called Malfosse.”


malfosse stream

work to start soon

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