It was one of the most harrowing battles ever fought on British soil, with the flower of a generation cut down in the space of a few hours by the relentless guns of their government foes.

But as time as passed much of the detail of the Battle of Culloden has been lost to the fog of time, with events obscured by the spinning of legends. 

Now painstaking work by archeologists using cutting-edge science has revealed the most detailed series of maps ever created of the historic clash between Bonnie Prince Charlie's jacobites and the Redcoats of the Duke of Cumberland.  

Compiled using the latest Geographic Information Software and LIDAR (light detection and ranging) analysis, the maps provide an unrivalled insight into the topography of the site of the battle, and allows historians to consider the events of 16 April 1746 in a whole new light.

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It shows the views which would have greeted the opposing soldiers' eyes as the clash began, and also how the fight spread as the hours went on. 

The maps have been created by AOC Archaeology, and also include layers that show where archaeological excavations have happened over the years and the objects that have been found there.

They will be shared by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) today and in the future at events to mark the 275th anniversary of the battle on Friday.


A reenactment of the battle.

The Trust’s Head of Archaeology, Derek Alexander said: “These maps give us the most detailed understanding currently possible of how the landscape looked in 1746.

"Thanks to 21st century technology, we can use these to get a feel for what soldiers on the battlefield would actually have been able to see of their opponents, their positions and their weaponry.

"In terms of understanding the tactics and the outcome, it’s a really powerful tool.”

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The maps are being unveiled to the public for the first time at an online event today from 11am, as part of an online programme to commemorate the battle.

Raoul Curtis-Machin, Operations Manager at Culloden said: “These maps aren’t just for the past, they’ll also help us to protect Culloden for the future.

"Their detailed information gives us a clear understanding of how the site has been altered through building and development over the centuries, all of which is invaluable as we strive to retain all that is special about this site that is of such significance to Scotland’s story.”

The battlefield is under greater threat than ever from developments, and there will be interactive debate and discussion about how it can be better protected through Culloden 300, a Trust initiative which seeks to establish how people would like the site to look in 2046, 300 years after the battle.


A 'fighting fund' is being launched to help raise money to fight development plans at the site.

Raoul added: “As a charity, we rely on voluntary income and a donation to Culloden’s Fighting Fund will help us conserve and protect the moor for future generations.”