The Battle of Chester and Warfare in Post-Roman Britain

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Abstract

Archaeological work at Heronbridge near Chester has recently uncovered the earliest identifiable site of a major British battlefield and investigated a related seventh-century fortification on the site. This article uses the new evidence to help interpret the battle of Chester's political background, the make-up of the forces on the day, their motivations, the equipment used and the course of the conflict, suggesting that the construction of the remarkable fortification was a key factor in the decision to engage in a battle that contravened the usual tactical principles of the age. The clash is set in the wider context of warfare in post-Roman Europe, providing insights into the development of both the Anglo-Saxon and British kingdoms that had emerged in the former imperial province of Britannia.

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