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28 September 2009

A lucky find by one of the youngsters talking part on the festival to commemorate the 1066 battle at Fulford has opened up a new area of research for the battlefield archaeologists.


One young visitor handed some iron to John Chapman who recognised the piece of iron was very similar to other finds from the battle site, some of which were on display last Sunday. The event coincided with the 943rd anniversary of the battle which took place on 20th September 1066.


“This shows what a very important role members of the public can play in uncovering our heritage,” commented Chas Jones who has been leading the work at Fulford for the last 10 years. “We had not actually bothered to search for material in the area where this was found because I though the land had been too disturbed over the years. But from the landscape reconstruction we have done to work out the exact shape of the landscape in 1066, I can now see that this patch is very much the same it was then.”

So the Parish Council has been approached to obtain permission for a proper search by metal detectorists. Many places where the iron was worked have already been found along Germany Beck.


“This find fits into the pattern of the other metal working sites which are located just behind the area of the fighting and so far they have all been near running water. From the type of material they were making, such as war axes and arrows, we suspect that they were re-working with the iron debris left on the battlefield,” added Chas.


Chas appealed to all the local people to let him see any interesting iron or stone objects that had discovered on the fields around Fulford. Many people think at archaeologists are only interested in silver and gold but it is rusty lumps of iron and bits of stone that have slowly revealed the location of this bloody battlefield.

“We received one piece from a local dog owner and it turned out to be a sharpening stone. From the type of stone we can trace it back to the area where the Norse invaders of 1066 came from. So it gives Fulford a link to the Vikings who drove the Northumbrian army from the field that day.”


Because the sharpening stone came from one medieval metal working area along Germany Beck, it provides yet another piece of evidence to identify the site of the ‘forgotten battle of 1066’.


A full report of the decade of work that has been conducted at Fulford is due to be published early next year.

“If people keep discovering new pieces to fit this puzzle, I will never get the report finished” joked Chas Jones.

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The author of the content is Charles Jones - fulfordthing@gmail.com   Last updated April 2015

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