ARCHAEOLOGISTS are to recreate the Battle of Flodden in a bid to discover what caused the massacre of thousands of Scots pikemen.

Dr Tony Pollard, of Glasgow University, will carry out the experiment during a weekend to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the battle in which King James IV of Scotland died.

Weapon-making techniques abandoned 400 years ago have been brought back especially in order to recreate scenes from the battle during the event at Etal, near Flodden in North Northumberland on Saturday and Sunday.

"I am very excited about this as no-one has ever tried it before," Dr Pollard, director of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology, said. "It just struck me that we would have these re-enactors and weapons here at this special event so let's use them.

"We will take the pikemen who are here to perform battle re-enactments and replicate their advance down Branxton Hill.

"The idea was that they would move in impenetrable blocks of thousands of men.

"However, the historical accounts suggest that the steep slope made cohesion impossible so the English, who were waiting at the bottom, were able to parry the pikes out of the way with their shorter weapons, called bills, and hack the Scots to pieces."

Organiser Tod Booth has spent three years researching the weapons, armour and clothes used during the battle.

Meanwhile, the Smith Museum in Stirling has admitted plans to display a sword, dagger and emerald ring, said to have been carried into the battle by King James IV, had been defeated because of the high cost of transporting them from their home in London.