Today the MEN are coming again to take photographs of our ‘Dark Age’ skeletons from Heronbridge.
We are not examining them with the same state-of-the art technology as we used for Worsley Man (that may come later). But we do have the invaluable assistance of Dr Robert Stoddart, who is quietly reconstructing the sequences of blows that each of these men suffered on the battlefield.
It really is a revelation. Hollywood may give the impression that an ancient battle was a display of fancy sword-work, a veritable fencing match between the protagonists, but the reality, so far as the bones are telling us, was brutally pragmatic: chop them off at the knees, bring them down and slice and hack at the head to make sure they were dead.
These men didn’t go through a fencing match but a meat mincer!
It brings home to you the callous almost industrial nature of killing on the battlefield and fills you with a sense of compassion for the men who experienced this brutality.
Details of their lives and deaths are slowly being revealed by Dr Stoddart and will be shared with the public when we run our Heronbridge dayschool on 29th March. You can find out more by visiting the Manchester Museum website or contacting Phyllis Stoddart (firstname.lastname@example.org).