Mapping Mayhem: Scottish Battle Maps and their Role in Archaeological Research

Article English OPEN
Pollard, Tony (2009)

This contribution provides a summary review of the development of battle maps in Scotland over a 200-year period, between the Battle of Pinkie in 1547 and the Battle of Culloden in 1746. These specialised types of maps, it is proposed, are an extremely valuable resource in the relatively new field of battlefield archaeology. They provide an important insight into the nature of the terrain at the time of the battle, which may have changed considerably since the time of the conflict in question. They also depict troop locations and give an insight into battle choreography, which is in some cases more informative than the often confused or very sketchy eye witness accounts. However, like the written accounts battle maps can be subject to inaccuracies and distortions, either accidental or deliberate and as discussed in the paper, some of these have recently been brought to light by archaeological survey. The role of maps in archaeological research is considered in relation to investigations carried out by the author at Culloden, a battle which was portrayed in a number of maps drawn up at the time or soon after.
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