International interest in disputed location

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THE search for the site of the Battle of Fulford has attracted interest from internationally-renowned academics from the countries associated with the Norse armies of the 11th century.

Academics from Sweden and Norway specialising in Viking history banded together to petition Ministers in Westminster after approval was given in 2007 for developers to build the Germany Beck housing development on the edge of York.

Swedish archaeologist Mari Wickerts, who helped carry out preliminary investigations at the Fulford site, claimed the battle was important for both English and Scandinavian historians.

But leading archaeologists in York admitted it is notoriously difficult to confirm a battle’s exact location, especially one that was fought nearly 1,000 years ago.

Peter Addyman established the York Archeological Trust, now one of the UK’s leading organisations in its field, in 1972. He admitted York is facing up to major challenges to ensure development does not impinge on its character.

But he added: “There are only a few places the battle could have fought, but it is very difficult to tie down an area of land to say this is where it happened. Battles were often fought across relatively large areas and evidence is not confined to an easily defined plot of land. In Fulford there has been a lot of activity over the centuries, and evidence could have been disturbed. The land at Germany Beck could well be the site, but it is difficult to say for certain. It is a shame, but this often happens with battlefield archaeology.”

Mr Addyman stepped down as the archaeological trust’s director in 2002, but was appointed as the York Civic Trust’s chairman in the autumn – a post he will hold for three years.