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Robert Woosnam-Savage

Bob Savage is Curator of Armour and Edged Weapons at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

Robert C Woosnam-Savage, AMA, read Art History at the University of Manchester (1978-81) and gained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Art Gallery and Museum Studies (1982).

Robert has worked at the Royal Armouries since 1997 and been a Curator of European Edged Weapons at the Royal Armouries Museum since 2001, becoming Curator of Armour and Edged Weapons in 2017.

He was Curator of European Arms and Armour at Glasgow Museums (1983-97) and whilst there co-authored (with Claude Blair) Scottish Firearms (1995). He also curated the major 1995-6 UK touring exhibition commemorating the 250th anniversary of the ’45, Bonnie Prince Charlie: Fact and Fiction, which was also shown at the National Army Museum, London, and was the editor of the accompanying book 1745: Charles Edward Stuart and the Jacobites (1995). Other works published include a number of articles ranging from the arms and armour of Uccello’s paintings to Scottish long-guns and medieval children’s swords.

His interest in battlefield and conflict archaeology led to his heavy involvement, from 2004, as one of the research team brought together by the National Trust for Scotland to work on the Culloden Battlefield Memorial Project, which successfully opened in 2008. This interest in the Jacobites and Culloden continued with the publication of the chapter ‘To Gather an Image Whole: some early maps and battle plans of the battle of Culloden’ in Culloden: The history and archaeology of the last clan battle (ed. Tony Pollard, 2009), the definitive book of the battle. During 2010 he identified a fragment of a sword-hilt which helped successfully confirm and identify the site of the battle of Bosworth (1485).

Since 2004 he has co-led a number of highly successful tours of castles in England, Scotland and Wales as part of the Post–Congress section of the International Medieval Congresses organised by the University of Leeds. His interest in castles led to him being asked to contribute an entry on the Welsh Castles of Edward I to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare & Military Technology (2010).

He has been a historical consultant on a number of movies including Rob Roy (1995) and more recently Robin Hood (2010). His love of movies and arms and armour came together when he also co-curated (with Sir Richard Taylor) the highly successful Royal Armouries exhibition Arms & Armour from the Movies: The Wonderful World of Weta (2008). This has led to a highly successful strand of collecting within the museum relating to arms and armour in the movies. Notable recent acquisitions have included the Lord Marshal’s armour from The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) and Lancelot’s armour from Excalibur (1981). A chapter about the arms and armour of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings motion picture trilogy appeared later in Picturing Tolkien: Film and Fiction (2011).

Between 2010-16 he was elected to sit on the Executive Board of the International Committee for Museums of Arms and Military history (ICOMAM) and was made a Visiting Researcher at the University of Leeds in 2016. He has taught the module ‘Conflict and War in the Late Middle Ages: Prevention, Execution, Rhetoric’ (MEDV 3530) – Arms and the Man –The Material Culture of War: Arms, Armour, Castles Sieges.

He was involved in the object selection for the major 600th anniversary exhibition The Battle of Agincourt (2015), held at HM The Tower of London (2015) and also wrote two chapters in the accompanying book, The Battle of Agincourt (2015). Following this, he was the lead Curator in the re display of medieval arms and armour 1300-1500 in the Leeds museum, which included a major section on arms and armour of the Hundred Years’ War (2016).

He is the Project Weapons Expert for the University of Leicester ‘Search for Richard III’ Archaeological Team (as well as part of the Search Team on the ‘Greyfriars Project’), which has been studying the skeleton of Richard III (‘the king under the car park’) since its discovery. He was employed to help find and examine the weapons trauma on the skeleton and attempt to identify the various types of weapons that may have been used to make them, using both historical and archaeological evidence, which aided in the successful identification of the skeleton as that of Richard III. This has resulted in giving numerous presentations to both professional institutions and amateur groups around the world and a co-authored article ‘Perimortem Trauma in King Richard III: a Skeletal Analysis’, appearing in The Lancet (2015) and the book, The Bones of a King: Richard III Rediscovered (2015).

He has most recently co-authored ‘Battle Trauma in Medieval Warfare: Wounds, Weapons and Armor’ in Wounds and Wound Repair in Medieval Culture (2015), and, for the Royal Armouries, Arms and Armour of Late Medieval Europe (2017).

Select list of Publications
Arms and Armour of Late Medieval Europe, Leeds: Royal Armouries, 2017

1745: Charles Edward Stuart and the Jacobites, (ed.), Glasgow Museums/ HMSO/ National Army Museum: Glasgow, 1995

Scottish Firearms, (with Claude Blair), Alexandria, NY: Museum Restoration Service, 1995

Articles and Book Chapters
‘Battle Trauma in Medieval Warfare: Wounds, Weapons and Armor’ (with Kelly DeVries) in Wounds and Wound Repair in Medieval Culture, Tracy, Larissa and Kelly DeVries (eds.), Brill: Leiden, 2015, pp. 27-56

The Bones of a King: Richard III Rediscovered (with The Greyfriars Research Team with Maev Kennedy and Lynn Foxhall), Chichester: Wiley & Blackwell, 2015

‘”All Kinds of weapons…”: the Weapons of Agincourt’ in Curry, Ann E and Malcolm Mercer (eds.), The Battle of Agincourt, London: Yale 2015, pp. 138-154

‘“Olivier’s Henry V (1944); How a movie defined the image of the battle of Agincourt for generations’, in Curry, Ann E and Malcolm Mercer (eds.), The Battle of Agincourt, London: Yale 2015, pp. 250-262

‘“Agincourt, Agincourt! Know Ye Not Agincourt”’ in Colau, Jean-François (ed.), D’Azincourt à Marignan: Chevaliers et Bombardes, Paris: Éditions Gallimard / Livres d’art, 2015, pp. 126-135

‘Perimortem Trauma in King Richard III: a Skeletal Analysis’, (together with Jo Appleby, Guy N. Rutty, Sarah V Hainsworth, et al), The Lancet, Volume 385, Number 9964, January 17-23, 2015, pp. 253-59 (Published online 17 September 2014)60804-7 )

‘“Killed the boar, shaved his head” –the violent death of King Richard III’ in de Matos Peixoto Rogério, Adriana, (ed.), ICOMAM RIO 2013 (Proceedings), Rio de Janeiro: Editora Serviço de Documentação da Marinha, 2014, pp. 110-123

‘The Matériel of Middle-earth: Arms and Armour in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy’ in Bogstad, Janice M and Philip E Kaveny (eds.), Picturing Tolkien: Essays on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Film Trilogy, Jefferson: North Carolina: McFarland & Company Inc., 2011, pp. 139-67

‘The Castles of Edward I in Wales’ in Rogers, Clifford (ed.), Medieval Warfare and Military Technology: an Encyclopedia, Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2010, Vol. 3, pp. 446-49

‘“To Gather an Image Whole”: Some Early maps and Plans of the Battle of Culloden’ in Pollard, Tony (ed.), Culloden: The History and Archaeology of the Last Clan Battle Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books Ltd., Military, 2009, pp. 163-86

‘“He’s Armed Without that’s Innocent Within” A Short Note on a newly Acquired Medieval Sword for a Child’, Arms & Armour: Journal of the Royal Armouries, Vol. 5, Number 1, 2008, pp. 84-95

‘Robert Lyons Scott 1871-1939: A Biographical Note’ in Catalogue of the collection of European arms and armour formed at Greenock by R.L. Scott (described by Felix Joubert), (Facsimile reprint. — First published: F. Joubert, 1924), Godmanchester: Ken Trotman Publishing, 2006, pp. i-x.
‘Medieval movie mayhem: Excalibur’, Medieval History 3, November 2003, pp.60-63

‘Ronald Ewart Oakeshott, FSA 25 May 1916 – 30 September 2002’, (uncredited), Royal Armouries Yearbook, Vol. 7, 2002, p. 6.
‘RE Oakeshott: Bibliography’ (with Thom Richardson), Royal Armouries Yearbook, Vol. 7, 2002, pp. 7-8.

‘An accidental hero – a presentation sword awarded to Captain Robert Waller Otway, RN, 1795’, Royal Armouries Yearbook, Vol. 7, 2002, pp. 98-101

‘Reality or Fairy Tale? Arms and Armour in Uccello’s San Romano Battle Paintings’, The 18th Park Lane Arms Fair [Catalogue], London, 2001, pp.10-18

‘The AVANT Armour and RL Scott’, The Seventh Park Lane Arms Fair [Catalogue], London, 1990, pp. 5-11

Other publications
Contributing consultant to Jones, Gareth (ed.), The Military History Book: The Ultimate Guide to the Weapons of War, London: Dorling Kindersley, 2012

Contributions in Paggiarino, Carlo, The Royal Armouries (2 Vols.), Milan: Hans Prunner Editore, 2011

Contributions in Rimer, Graeme, Thom Richardson and JPD Cooper (eds.), Henry VIII Arms and the Man 1509-2009, Leeds: Royal Armouries Museum, 2009

Contribution in Norwich Castle: Excavations and Historical Survey 1987-1998 (East Anglian Archaeology 132), Norwich: Norfolk Museums Service, Archaeology & Environment Division, Part II, 2009, p. 718

Contributing consultant to Holmes, Richard (ed.), Weapon: A Visual History of Arms and Armour, London: Dorling Kindersley/ Royal Armouries, 2006

Contributions in (ed.) Connor, Patricia (ed.), All the Queen’s Horses: The Role of the Horse in British History, Lexington: Kentucky Horse Park, 2003, p. 133

Contributions in Starkey, David (ed.) Henry VIII A European Court in England, London: National Maritime Museum, 1991