Half a millennium after the bloody conflict that was Flodden, an effort is being made to have the battlefield officially recognised as a war grave.
It can never be known for certain just how many perished from the opposing camps that clashed at Branxton on September 9, 1513.
But what is known is that, with the exception of royalty and the nobility – mostly Scottish, the men who died were buried in pits close to where they fell.
Archaeological evidence is now being gathered to have these burial spots protected. A number of pits were identified during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when water and drainage pipes were laid. Fresh excavations begin on Monday and run until September 12 as part of the Flodden 1513 Project.
A project spokesman commented: “The aim of these excavations will be to locate and characterise any remains, so that evidence can be provided to the government to allow the burials being declared war graves or protected from further intrusion as scheduled ancient monuments.
“With more than 10,000 dead on the battlefield, a question the archaeological team working on the project are frequently asked during talks and site visits is what happened to all the bodies?
“The answer to this question is simple, with a few notable exceptions, they were buried as quickly as possible and as close as possible to where they fell.”
He added: “Currently it is not planned to exhume any of the remains, just simply record their location and the state of their preservation in the hope that government agencies, including English Heritage, will seek, with any evidence the team can provide, to protect the remains in the future.”
Chris Burgess, the project’s archaeological manager, added: “We are acutely aware that these are war graves and will be treating any remains found with the utmost respect”
The team working on the excavations are mostly volunteers from across Scotland the north of England under the supervision of the 1513 Project and Archaeological Practice Ltd from Newcastle.
There are still places left for volunteers to join – previous experience isn’t necessary as training will be provided on site by the professionals.
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact the project by email – Flodden500@gmail.com.
To see what the archaeological team are finding, the site will be open to visitors from September 3-11 (10am-4pm).