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Comment: Publisher: Oxbow Books
Date of Publication: 2000
Binding: hardcover
Edition: 1st Edition
Condition: As New
Description: Glazed pictorial boards, hinge tight, contents smooth and clean, no markings or inscriptions, as new. May incur additional postage charges overseas.
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Blood Red Roses: The Archaeology of a Mass Grave from the Battle of Towton, AD 1461 Hardcover – 1 Dec 2000

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Oxbow Books; First Edition edition (1 Dec. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842170252
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842170250
  • Product Dimensions: 28.9 x 21.8 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 276,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


In 1996 a mass grave believed to be from the Battle of Towton was discovered by chance. This provided the opportunity for the first archaeological excavation of a mass grave from an English battlefield and was the catalyst for a multi-disciplinary research project, beginning with the excavation of the grave, and then a study of the skeletal remains, the battlefield landscape, the historical evidence and contemporary arms and armour. The discoveries were dramatic and moving; the individuals had clearly suffered traumatic deaths and subsequent research highlighted the often multiple wounds each individual had received before and, in some cases after they had died. The exciting forensic work was documented in the Channel 4 programme Secrets of the Dead. An important and controversial question that emerged was whether the soldiers had been killed in battle, or executed as prisoners in its aftermath. This volume publishes the excavation reports and subsequent research, revealing much information about how and in what circumstances the men died and the fighting techniques, weapons and armour employed.

Also discussed are the wider implications of the discovery, both in terms of increasing our understanding of what happened at Towton, and what it contributes to our knowledge of Medieval warfare.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Bull on 27 July 2010
Format: Hardcover
Nice surprise to bump into this one again: I enjoyed it very much a few years ago, since when it has gone to the back of the cupboard, but it will certainly be retained long term for reference. The other two reviewers are pretty much spot on: its highly detailed, and has many of the elements of a formal archaeological report, but is utterly fascinating. One of the aspects I particularly liked was the attempt to match weapon types with bodies and injuries. In the TV documentary quite a bit of this aspect was fronted by David Edge of the Wallace collection - a respected medieval arms and armour specialist.

The (original) book is a decent hardback with a lot of illustration and should be durable - mine has not got too dog eared despite a fair bit of use. Remember that I'm a mean reviewer - four stars means that its a very good book I'm pretty sure you will like it ! Key audiences include those interested in medieval history; archaeology; military history and local history of the north of England. Take a look for yourself....
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By on 24 Mar. 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderfully detailed account of the discovery of a mass grave from Towton battlefield. A documentary was made about this, which I believe was shown as a Channel 4 'Secrets of the Dead' programme in 1999. The contents are divided into four sections. Part 1 deals with the discovery of the grave, its excavation, recording and the historical background to the battle. Part 2, which is the largest section, deals with the analysis of the human remains, such as evidence of battlefield trauma on the bones, signs of previous disease, stature and age of the individuals and group as a whole and skeletal change as a result of lifetime physical activity. These characteristics are compared to populations throughout history and to the remains from other mass battlefield graves. Section 3 discusses arms and armour of the C15th, while section 4 deals with wider implications of the discovery such as battlefield protection and implications with regard to current knowledge of medieval warfare.
The book is well illustrated throughout with maps, black and white and colour diagrams and photographs of artifacts found from the battlefield.
The only reservation I have regarding this book is that many of the chapters basically consist of a series of academic style papers. Indeed I suspect that many of the chapters were written specifically for publication in relevant journals and have been placed into the book with little or no modification. For example, section 2 is just a series of paper-like chapters with no introduction or final summary to pool all the main points together (apart from some details in an appendice). This is okay if you are used to reading academic style publications, but might appear a little disjointed otherwise.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mec on 8 Sept. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book provided so much information about the bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil.
I was fascinated, the pictures of the skeletons and weapons really gave the reader a feel for the horror and bloodshed.
It is amazing that this battle in an English " Civil War " is not so well known as Hastings or the battles in the recognized "Civil War" between Royalists and Roundheads.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I LOVE THIS BOOK! 20 Oct. 2001
By Kelly Tvrdik - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I just recived the book today and I HIGHLY recommend it! :) It covers every ascept of the amazing find, from the site, to armor and weapons, to where my intrest lies, the skeletal finds. The case studies are very intresting! :) If you have no idea where a Sacrum is or what Spina bifida occulta is, they cover that in the back of the book. Great for anybody intrested in medieval archealogoy or physical anthropology.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
There never was any such thing as chivalry anyway!!! 23 May 2007
By Douglas E. Libert - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Knights on "shining white horseS",fighting for their maidens and their God-nope--efficient highly trained killing machines at hire to the highest bidder and will switch allegiance from one side to the other at the drop of a hat or wave of a banner.This book really brings home the savagery of the Wars of the Roses and is a great archaeological compliment to the study of this period which Shakespeare so eloquently covered in his histories.Politics was never a pretty game and the gruesome finds here just had to be told.One skeleton shows wounds to the head where he was turning his head in order to avoid the numerous chopping of a "muscle bound" knight.Seems those knights probably had a weight set and continually practiced the martial arts in those dreary castles during the winter and didn't just wait around depressed waiting for spring to come to indulge the "pinings of love"!As a matter of fact they liked to campaign during the winter,never one to turn down a good days wage to the highest bidder!!! Chop-Chop!!By the way the guy on the front cover was a victim of a warhammer.A person could argue that perhaps it was a trepanation to relieve a headache,if they want to be in denial though.
0 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Awesome 27 Feb. 2007
By James B. Robinson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have had a chance to see the book , it was borrowed from a different Universities Library. I am an undergraduatwe at the University Of Akron, I ordered the book in August of last year and was told it would take six weeks to arrive. I ordered it with a deal that Amazon had with it and the armor of Wisby, It was of a similar situation concerning a mass grave discovered in the 1930,s I received that one right away and can whole heartedley recommend it. I origionaly ordered it for a class I had last semester in Medieval Archaeology. I passed the class but not with Blood Red Roses, it was duwe in October of last year. I am sorry to report that regardless of contacting Amazon, Im am told that the order no longer exists. I am also sorry to state that as a result of this, I am recommending that Amazon not be contacted with orders for Books.
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