What Happened To Medieval Battlefields After the Fighting Was Over?

History Wench

It looks much like you’d expect: there was a lot of opportunistic looting after a battle. Sometimes, if the armour was old or broken, and the victorious army didn’t want to lug it home to recycle the materials, it might be left on the bodies. You see this at the graveyard from the Battle of Visby (1361), whose archaeological excavation found a number of bodies buried in old, outdated armour that apparently wasn’t worth saving. In some cases, the valuable pieces were chopped off the dead and carried away; the recently discovered Staffordshire hoard (7th century) contains bits of gold that were broken off swords, a helmet, and other things most likely looted from a battlefield, carried off to a crossroads, and buried for later recovery (this is the most recent interpretation, at least). Of course, the victors could upgrade their own equipment from those that had died. In fact, the 9th…

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