Towton, UK - Towton 25 and Battlefield Wounds

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Towton, UK - Towton 25 and Battlefield Wounds

Catalog Entry

Discovered in August 1996, a unique skull was discovered during a building project. The results were, “ remains of 43 individuals. . . 6m x 2m and was only 50 cm in depth.” (Towton 25)  The results were analyzed by multiple scientists and it was discovered that on March 29, 1461, a battle at Towton field had happened, an awfully bloody one. What made it so bloody was the loss of over 28,000 men. One of the men of the battle lived, but carried an ugly scar. Discovered from his skull, was a big slice from the top of the skull to the upper mouth.

Soldiers throughout historic battles have received sorts of injuries such as lethal wounds, broken bones, and losing certain body parts. In the battle of Towton was to see which one out of the two colonies could rule over England. It was Henry Beaufort, leader of the Lancastrians, versus King Edward IV of England, the Yorkists. The battle was held between Towten and Saxton in the middle of a snowstorm, famously on Palm Sunday, two armies holding an estimated amount of 50 through 60 thousand soldiers. The soldiers fought very barbaric and harsh, especially shown from the skull with the big caved in piece coming through top to the bottom, this soldier was dubbed Towton 25. Being estimated at the age of 36 through 45 he had fought many battles throughout his lifetime. The scars on his skulls show he has had fought in many battles in the past, showing he was a strong fighter. However, on the day of the battle, he had taken, “eight wounds to his head. . .” (The Economist). Towton 25 may have had past years of experience fighting, but it was not good enough to defend these wounds from this battle. Throughout history, there have been all sorts of disabilities wars give to the soldiers fighting. For example, losing body parts or, being lethally injured to the point where you are disabled. One of the many examples of being a high chance to disable victims of war are leg injury. Ranging from getting shot, explosions or any other type of accident impairing your ability to move freely and easy. Other disabilities that happen easily and often can be minor ones such as becoming blind or deaf. One unique disability that happens to soldiers is a condition called shellshock. The term “shellshock”, “ was the blanket term applied by contemporaries to those soldiers who broke down. . .” ( Trench Conditions). In other words, post-traumatic stress disorder from the unexpected incidents occurring all around the soldiers. The main causes of obtaining this disorder can come from watching the havoc that goes on all around them, seeing friendly soldiers being killed or majorly injured affecting their mind and personality. The Vietnam war is an example of that, loved ones of veteran soldiers noticing their change mentally around them and others, sometimes too terrified to talk about what went on during the war.

One of the many things history can teach us is what we have learned from our mistakes and how we can improve from it. Soldiers go into war in a motivated way to defend what they fighting for but never think of the costs of what can happen to them. Looking back at every war throughout history they all have a pattern of starting with a large number of soldiers and ending it with a significant number of casualties and permanently disabled soldiers. One study discovered that “One out of every ten veterans alive today was seriously injured at some point while serving in the military. . .” (Morin, Rich). This is just a small statistic in today’s standard, in the earlier wars, it was far worse. During the Civil War, soldiers who have been lethally injured and could not function as well and still be forced to battle. Some injuries could still be treated as soon as possible but not in a professional way. Today the treatment of health for soldiers has majorly improved to fast treatment and professionally.

The discovery of the Towton 25 was a big milestone to discover how the soldiers fought and went through. Looking at all the fractured, scared bones showed how barbaric actions occurred and how the soldiers fought to survive. Also comparing to today’s standard of how they would aid each other during the battle.


Morin, Rich. “For Many Injured Veterans, A Lifetime of Consequences.” Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends Project, 11 Apr. 2014,

“Nasty, Brutish and Not That Short.” The Economist, 16 Dec. 2010,

“Towton Mass Grave Project - Facilities.” University of Bradford,

“Trench Conditions - ‘Shellshock.’” Canadian War Museum,

Catalog Entry Author(s)

Armando Libier, Student, Fitchburg State University


Kisha G. Tracy



“Towton, UK - Towton 25 and Battlefield Wounds,” Cultural Heritage through Image, accessed January 27, 2020,

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