The latest analysis from the Fulford Battlefield dig:-
After sorting the Fulford finds, a clear picture emerged of iron items: they are in the flow of what we can now identify as the ancient course of Germany Beck. With a few exceptions the iron was found in this restricted location and is focused in one layer. (There are some images of finds in the dig 2016 folder on the Fulford Battlefield website)
The ‘anvils’ are the exception to this rule. Wooden models of three of the items were identified by Scandinavian experts recently as likely tools used by metal-workers to planish the surface of sheet metal; so they could have been employed to remove dents from shield bosses and helmets. These items lie just above the stream bed.
The suggestion is that they arrived here attached to a block of wood into which they were driven in order to be used by the ancient armourers. This prevented their easy recovery and the rising tides in the days following the battle (all the recycling sites identified were beside the beck) floated away. The ‘anvils’ would have acted as a keel causing them to remain submerged and when found, the items all have their pointed end above the head, suggesting some buoyancy at the tip. The first two finds of the season were two further ‘anvils’ making a collection of 5. We also know these, and the finds from 2013-2015, were all along the ancient line of the beck which would account for the deposition of these finds.
The survival of metal within the stream is taken as support for the recycling hypothesis which suggests that the battlefield was thoroughly cleared of metal debris and only items that were submerged in the beck avoided the clearup. The identification in 2004 of so many metal working tools and now the identification of the ‘anvils’ leave little doubt that something dramatic happened to interrupt the work and the suggestion is that this was the destruction of the Norse army at Stamford Bridge.
With the exception of a few pieces of lead all the other items were iron and this itself is noteworthy since normal metal surveys produce a greater number of non-ferrous items. So the domination of iron in the sample is interesting but just what one might expect in a battle area.
Among the finds are an unusual number of intriguing objects that are currently awaiting xray. During the initial cleaning and find sorting, three tubular objects were found the likes of which have not been seen before and we also have what has been catalogued as a ‘long flat object’.
The work has also allowed us to refine the dating model for the layers: The stone layer was stable from pre-historic, through Roman times and ends about the time of the battle. It was only in the century after the battle that sediments began to accumulate, probably caused by the influx of alluvium from the Ings. We then have a deep layer of sand and alluvium which rapidly accumulated possibly associated with the construction of the bridge. This restricted the ebbing of the water allowing more material to be deposited. This buildup also caused the course of the beck to move a little to the north.
The road which we have variously described as a causeway, mediaeval track is looking increasingly as if it is a Roman military road. The width and construction are consistent with that interpretation but we need to do a little more work. The surface layers show many signs of repair which continued into Tudor times.
We will be extending this trench to the east to see what lies beyond the edge of the road. If any members are available this weekend, their help would be appreciated to carry out this work.
The final headline is the remains of what appears to be a small horse. It will be worth investigating if the pieces of horse vertebrae recovered at a slightly higher context in previous digs are ‘related’ to this horse because only skeletal elements that would have been close to the ground have been recovered this year. It is not easy to imagine why a horse wold have been left to rot near the crossing but that is what appears to have happened.
There is lots more analysis to do but the model of the battlesite is even clearer after all your hard work.
Thanks very very much.