Letter: Battlefields of yore

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The Independent Online
Sir: The archaeological evidence used to identify battlefield sites (leading article, 6 August; Letters, 10 August) could provide effective material evidence to justify their preservation. Recent identifications of the sites of the German victory of AD 9 (Bramsche, Germany) and of the last stand of Caratacos in AD 50 (Llanymynech, Wales) indicate that the antiquity of a conflict need not necessarily be an obstacle to the reconciliation of contemporary reports with forensic evidence.

Positive identification of 'lost' sites, such as the decisive battle ending the Boudiccan revolt of AD 61, or even the Arthurian victory of Mount Badon (c. AD 500), for instance, can illuminate academic understanding of Roman Britain. Sensible and sensitive presentation, however, by means of events and/or visitor centres, could give the public an awareness of the site and its significance, and of the archaeologists who discovered it. The local authority and community could also benefit to a greater, longer-lasting degree, than from a new gravel pit or road.

An undisturbed site can sharpen a visitor's imagination, but visual evidence would be required to publicise it and justify its preservation. Hopefully, the English Heritage register will be flexible enough to allow for the inclusion of rediscovered sites, and effective enough to provide protection from thieves and vandals.

Yours sincerely,

MICHAEL MALONEY

Belmont, Surrey

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