Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 15:07 UK

Battle of Prestonpans took place 'further east'

Dr Tony Pollard with Lesley Smith of the Scottish Artefact Recovery Group
Dr Pollard pictured with Lesley Sleith of the Scottish Artefact Recovery Group

A report has claimed that the Battle of Prestonpans actually took place 500 metres (0.3 miles) further east than previously thought.

A team from the University of Glasgow's Centre for Battlefield Archaeology (Guard) has been working in the area over the last 18 months.

It said the main area of attack happened further east towards Seton, not south of Cockenzie Power Station.

The team said some of the eyewitnesses must have got the location wrong.

Dr Tony Pollard, who led the Glasgow University team, said: "The project's findings are very exciting indeed and really challenge our assumptions of where the battle took place.

I would be more than happy to see further studies in the future to see what else can be uncovered
Alistair Robertson
Owner of the land

"The amount of musket balls, grape shot and pistol balls found in the fields of Seton East Farm show, beyond reasonable doubt, that the maps we have relied on in the past were wrong.

"Although this was a very well documented battle, with lots of eye-witness accounts, it was also very brutal and over quite quickly. It now seems that in the excitement some of the witnesses got it wrong."

The report, which was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Battle of Prestonpans Heritage Trust, suggested the battle took place on fields owned by farmer Alistair Robertson.

Metal detecting

It comes at a vital stage in the trust's campaign to safeguard the site and create an interpretation centre, coinciding with Historic Scotland's creation of an inventory of significant battlefields in Scotland.

The inventory will provide the first degree of protection for important battlefields, many of which have been destroyed by development over the last century.

Mr Robertson has owned the land at Seton East Farm for 17 years. He and his son were part of the metal detecting team involved in the survey.

He said: "It is exciting to think that it was across our fields that the famous Highland charge took place and here that the main part of the battle was fought.

"It certainly helps bring history to life and I would be more than happy to see further studies in the future to see what else can be uncovered."

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