Course provided by Future Learn

Study type: Online

Starts: Anytime

Price: Free


Discover what happened to the Scottish soldiers at the Battle of Dunbar 1650

In November 2013 archaeologists observing building work near Durham Cathedral in England made an unexpected discovery: skeletons in two mass graves. Over the next two years, researchers worked to establish the identity of the human remains. Today we know them to be Scottish prisoners who died after the Battle of Dunbar on the coast of Scotland in 1650.

On this course you will learn how the latest archaeological science techniques revealed how and why these men disappeared from history. You will join researchers seeking to solve a 350 year old mystery, and explore the resulting controversies.

What topics will you cover?

  • The discovery of the soldiers and the evidence gathered from maps, historic buildings and the archaeology at the site.
  • The study of their human remains and the information extracted about pathologies, trauma and medieval conditions.
  • The role of archaeological science (radiocarbon, isotopes) in revealing more about life in the 17th century.
  • The historical background to the battle of Dunbar and its wider political context.
  • The fate of the survivors and prisoners of war sent across the Atlantic.
  • The controversy over repatriation, the reburial of the human remains and archaeological ethics.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in history or archaeology. It will be of particular interest to those in (or interested in) the North East of England, Scotland, and the United States; descendants of the Dunbar survivors; and those working in archaeology and heritage.

Who developed the course?

Durham University

Durham University is a collegiate university with long traditions and modern values, proud to be an international scholarly community which reflects the ambitions of cultures from around the world.