Finding forgotten fields: a theoretical and methodological framework for historic landscape reconstruction and predictive modelling of battlefield locations in Scotland, 1296-1650

McNutt, Ryan Keefe (2014) Finding forgotten fields: a theoretical and methodological framework for historic landscape reconstruction and predictive modelling of battlefield locations in Scotland, 1296-1650. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The central proposition of this work is that a battlefield’s location sits at the intersection of three interlinked variables of terrain, tactics, and force composition, which exist in a symbiotic relationship. Furthermore, this intersection can be located through qualitative modelling within GIS against an informed digital landscape reconstruction. The hypothesis assumes that tactics and force composition are culturally relative. Moreover, they are temporally constrained aspects of a tri-poled dialectic, and state changes in the nature of these aspects will result in correlative shifts in the types of terrain that are chosen for conflict. To analyse these aspects, a theoretical framework of human agency in the selection of terrain for conflict, was developed. This theoretical position utilises a modified version of the military terrain analysis KOCOA for the purposes of visualising abstract theory, and highlighting Key Terrain aspects as a means of predicting conflict locations.

To apply this theoretical framework, a phased methodology for historic landscape reconstruction within GIS was created, allowing the modelling of possible locations as a desk-based assessment approach. To model likely battlefield locations within the wider landscape, the theoretical framework posits a culturally and temporally relative habitus, experientially formed through regular experience with conflict. By analysing the digitally reconstructed battlescapes with the theoretical approach, we can model and highlight the Key Terrain an agent’s habitus would have inculcated them to choose. This Key Terrain will be distinct for each time period, reflecting culturally and temporally distinct ways of warfare, and reflexive choices of ideal terrain. The theory and method were tested through application to Scottish battlefields, with general locations known, from each major period of warfare. A study of the praxis of warfare for each period was undertaken, to fully understand the underlying structure of the habitus of conflict for each period. The historic battlescapes were reconstructed, and analysed within GIS using Culturally Relative KOCOA, projecting the agent’s habitus onto the landscape, modelling areas that were probable as focuses for conflict. This modelling process was applied to the medieval battles of Dunbar (1296), Roslin (1302), Bannockburn (1314), the Post-Medieval battles of Flodden (1513), Ancrum (1545), Pinkie (1547), and the Early Modern battles of Kilsyth (1645), Philiphaugh (1645), and Dunbar II (1650).

After the modelling process was completed in GIS, selecting the most likely location of conflict within the battlescape, distributions of battle-related artefactual evidence—where available—were used to check the locations suggested by the model against artefact data. Based on these results, I argue that the theoretical and methodological approach herein can be utilized as a desk-based approach to find forgotten fields. It is a modelling process that can be performed utilizing the theoretical and methodological framework as a desk-based assessment, prior to any fieldwork, and would function to focus any investigations-on-high-priority-areas.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available once any embargo periods have expired.
Keywords: Conflict archaeology, Battlefield archaeology, Landscapes, GIS, Landscape archaeology, Medieval Warfare, Battle of Flodden, Battle of Bannockburn,Battle of Ancrum Muir, Battle of Roslin, Battle of Philiphaugh, Battle of Pinkie, Battle of Kilsyth, Battle of Dunbar, Warfare, Geographical Information Systems, Early Modern Warfare, Montrose, MacColla, Robert the Bruce, Edward II, Edward I, Conflict, First War of Scottish Independence, Scottish battles, Warfare in Scotland,
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Supervisor's Name: Pollard, Dr. Tony and Banks, Dr. Iain
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Ryan McNutt
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5691
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2014 15:56
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2023 08:55
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.5691

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