In early summer of the year 1314, by a small river named Bannock Burn in Scotland, took place one of the most famous battles in European history. The battle of Bannockburn was fought on june 23th and june 24th between the armies of king Edward II of England (1284-1327) and king Robert the Bruce of Scotland (1274-1329). The scottish victory over England led to the declaration of Arbroath in 1320 and eventually to the Independence of Scotland in 1328.
In june 1538, more than 200 years later, a young french widow, Mary duchess of Longueville of the house of Guise, sailed from France to the East coast of Scotland to marry the scottish king James V Stuart (1512-1542). Mary was crowned queen of Scotland in 1540 at Holyrood Abbey near Edinburgh, and lived in Stirling castle for many years, looking down on the old battlefield below the castle walls.
The new Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre, designed by Reiach & Hall on the battlefield site, opened in march 2014. The existing monuments – the historic battlefield, the Bruce Monument (1964) and the Flagpole (1870) – and the new building are bringing the historic and contemporary together. Financed by Historic Scotland and The National Trust for Scotland, the latter having been charged with the care of the site since the 1930s, the new Visitor Center proposes a fresh way of experiencing a major historical battle. Guides – so-called « battlemasters » – accompany the visitors through the attraction, where sourround screens are used to prepare the 21rst century guest for an innovative and interactive 3D medieval battle simulation. A 3D map of the landscape gives a bird’s-eye view of the battle, showing both the present-day terrain and the land as it was in the beginnning of the 14th century.
The Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Center adds to the existing monuments (see above) the first ever heritage attraction using motion capture technology. The CDDV worked with The Clanranald Trust for Scotland to develop authentic fight choreography. The CDDV also filmed live horses with the guidance of Toby Capwell from the Wallace Collection in London, to develop the equestrian animation. 700 years after the battle of Bannockburn, history meets technology, and the battle and its fighters come to life once more. Check also the archeologist’s tale on Scotland’s stories which shows the importance of literaly digging up lost parts of History from the battlefield grounds.