Ian Atherton
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Battlefields, burials and the English Civil Wars
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Twentieth-century practices of battlefield preservation construct war graves as sites of memory and continuing commemoration. Such ideas, though they have led archaeologists in a largely fruitless hunt for mass graves, should not be read back into the seventeenth century. Hitherto, little attention has been paid to the practices of battlefield burial, despite the suggestion that the civil wars were proportionately the bloodiest conflict in English history. This chapter analyses the evidence for the treatment of the dead of the civil wars, engaging with debates about the nature and preservation of civil-war battlefields, and the social memory of the civil wars in the mid and later seventeenth century. It concludes that ordinary civil-war soldiers were typically excluded from parish registers as a sign that they were branded as social outcasts in death.

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Mortality, medical care and military welfare in the British Civil Wars


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