Volunteers needed to dig up real story of Flodden

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A team of volunteers is needed to quite literally unearth more of the story behind the Battle of Flodden.

An archaeological dig will investigate the area around Norham Castle which was seized by Scottish troops as they crossed the border.

Flodden 1513 archaeological manager Chris Burgess is looking for volunteers to join the dig from April 6 to 16, to investigate the features identified in a geophysical survey of Flodden Hill, Flodden battlefield and the surrounding area in May last year.

The survey concentrated directly on the field to the south of the castle. The team will investigate earthworks visible in the geophysical survey to ascertain if any of them can be directly attributed to the 1513 siege.

Chris said: “We know that after they crossed the Border, James IV and his army beseiged and partly destroyed Norham Castle so we are keen to find any artefacts or evidence associated with these events.

“Everybody is welcome to come and help us find out more about this important part of our local history, no previous experience is necessary.”

For those keen to find out more about their local history, the dig will be part of an extensive range of training courses, taster courses and archaeological excavations on both sides of the border.

Chris is also planning further excavations at Ladykirk, Flodden Hill and Flodden Hill as well as some back-garden digs in Branxton and Crookham.

To help with the projects, volunteers will also be able to attend training in metal detecting, finds handling and recording, archaeological illustration and surveying.

Archaeology runs in the Burgess family. As a child Chris spent many weekends and holidays on digs with his father in north Northumberland.

He is now one of the part-time county archaeologists for Northumberland County Council and even before this appointment, he was involved in the Flodden project on a voluntary basis.

Anyone wishing to join the Norham Castle excavation project can email Chris at Flod den500@gmail.com indicating the dates they want to help with the dig.

To ensure they have the necessary insurance, anyone working on the dig will need to be a member of Till Valley Archaeological Society or take out its annual fieldwork membership costing £2.

Any findings will form part of the wider Flodden 1513 project to commemorate the battle’s 500th anniversary.

Chris said: “This is a great opportunity to strengthen cross-border relations. I am hoping that the research and archaeological digs will help us have a better understanding of the stories behind the battle. This is not just a date in the history books, it is an event which changed the future of thousands of individuals and families and knowing more will help us to remember the dead of both sides.”