Archaeologists may have found the hidden fortress of William Wallace

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<pre><pre>Archaeologists may have found the hidden fortress of William Wallace
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<img src = "https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/braveTOP1-800×533.jpg,quot; alt = "The 1995 movie Brave Heart, Starring Mel Gibson as the medieval Scottish knight Sir William Wallace, he turns 25 this month. Archaeologists believe they may have located the hidden fort that he used during his battles against the English. "

Enlarge / / The 1995 movie Brave Heart, Starring Mel Gibson as the medieval Scottish knight Sir William Wallace, he turns 25 this month. Archaeologists believe they may have located the hidden fort that he used during his battles against the English.

Paramount pictures

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William Wallace, the Scottish knight who emerged as a military leader during the First Scottish War of Independence in the late 13th century, has become a household name thanks to the hit film by Mel Gibson. Brave Heart, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. Wallace's rebellion began with the assassination of the Lanark High Sheriff in May 1297, and he made several successful forays before achieving a surprising victory against English troops at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. He was particularly known for his strategic use of the land, and legend has it that he made at least one raid from a hidden fort somewhere near Dumfriesshire.

There is mention of strength in Scotland's new statistical account (published between 1834 and 1845). He said the fort adjoined a clearing called Torlinn, commanded "an extensive view of the south,quot; and was protected on three sides by two branches of a steep ravine and a large ditch. In 1297 Wallace allegedly hid in the fort with 16 men, "with whom he went out to annoy the English garrison under Greystock and Sir Hugh of Moreland."

Now Forestry Journal has announced that archaeologists may have discovered the site of Wallace's hidden fort. Matt Ritchie is an archaeologist with Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS), who has been working with an organization called Skyscape Survey to develop a drone-based method for conducting photogrammetric surveys. This involves using remotely controlled drones to take hundreds of photos from the air and then stitch them together with the help of point matching software.

The resulting 3D terrain model is free of scrub and ground vegetation, according to Ritchie, and also has very refined details about the heights. "It is a fascinating and revealing technique that really begins to open up the landscape, and this seemed like an ideal site to investigate," said Ritchie of the choice to map the Dumfriesshire site believed to be the location of Wallace's hidden fort. "There is not. There is not much evidence on the surface, but the wall and topography match the historical description very well. Our new 3D model allows the huge wall of the fort to really stand out, and the deep hollows of the two to be appreciated. linens. "

"It must have been the 'strong defense place' described by the account, the wall crowned with a wooden stockade and closing wooden buildings built to house the soldiers and their horses," Ritchie said. "But could the fort really have been built by William Wallace and his men? I'd like to think so, and anyway, the survey has added a new chapter to an old story."

As for the "annoyance,quot; Wallace allegedly organized from the fort, he and his men did well:

Having taken some of his horses, Wallace was chased to Tor-head by Moreland, who, in the ensuing encounter, was assassinated, with several of his followers. Greystock, enraged by this defeat and fortified by new supplies from England, immediately attacked Wallace with 300 men. Dominated by numbers, he fell back into the hills; and he joined Sir John Graham of Dundaff with thirty men, and Kirkpatrick, his relative, with twenty of his servants, was reached on the northern frontier of the Holehouse lands, near the bottom of Queensberry, where a general engagement took place. Greystock fell; the victory was complete; and the survivors who sought refuge in the forest from where they had chased the Scots. Wallace reached Lochmaben before them and took possession of the castle.

Such military victories proved to be short-lived. Wallace was defeated at the Battle of Falkirk in July 1298 and resigned as Guardian of Scotland shortly thereafter.

History (and, to a lesser extent, Gibson's film) has recorded Wallace's tragic ending. He was captured on August 5, 1305 thanks to the treason of a loyal Scottish knight named John de Menteith and was tried for treason. His response: "I couldn't be a traitor to Edward, because I was never his subject."

He was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged, raffled, and quartered. In other words, they stripped him naked and dragged him behind a horse to the place of execution. They hung him there, released him while he was still alive, cut off his penis and testicles and disemboweled him. The executioners burned his insides in front of him, then beheaded Wallace and cut him into four pieces. His head was dipped in tar and placed on a pike as a warning to anyone who even contemplated rebelling against the English king.

It was a terrible way to die. It is best to focus on Wallace's few military victories and reflect on the words engraved on a memorial plaque on a wall of St. Bartholomew Hospital near the place of execution: "I tell you the truth. Freedom is best. Children, never live life as slaves. "

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