WORK has started on a commemorative plaque to remember dozens of prisoners who died in captivity in the North-East.

The remains of around 20 Scottish soldiers captured at the Battle of Dunbar and held captive at Durham Cathedral were discovered in a mass grave during building work near Palace Green in Durham in November 2013.

The Durham-based Scottish Soldiers Archaeology Project visited the battlefield, now a limestone quarry operated by Tarmac, to select stone for a commemorative plaque to be installed when the skeletons are reburied in Durham.

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Prof Chris Gerrard, the project’s academic lead, said: “The visit to the quarry was an important step forward in our plans to commemorate those soldiers who survived the Battle of Dunbar, were imprisoned in Durham and sadly died.

“That the stone for the commemorative plaque will come from the site of the battle provides a touching connection between the site and the location where a significant number of the surviving soldiers died.”

Following initial tests, which confirmed that the stone is suitable for carving, a portion of stone from Dunbar is to be delivered to stonemasons who will begin work.

Quarry manager Dave Hurcombe said: “We are delighted to be supporting such an interesting project and are very much looking forward to seeing how the stone will be used for the commemorative plaque”.

The plaque will feature images of the Saltire and thistle and include the inscription: “In memory of the Scottish soldiers captured at the Battle of Dunbar and imprisoned in Durham, who died and were buried here in the autumn of 1650.”

Details of the commemorative event at which the plaque will be dedicated are expected to be announced in coming months.