They brought history to life in Huddersfield.

Knights of old did battle at University of Huddersfield to delight crowds yesterday.

But there was a serious purpose behind the swordplay re-enacted on the Queensgate campus.

It was part of an open day by the highly-successful Arms and Armour Research Institute. The Institute is a multi-disciplinary team within the University which analyses historic artefacts using non-destructive techniques such as XRF and CT scanning.

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Their reputation for being able to ascertain the provenance of historic arms and weapons is spreading across the globe. They are getting commissions from museums, antique dealers and private collectors from many countries.

Perhaps their most exciting commission to date was to study cannonballs used on the Tudor warship, the Mary Rose. The experts were able to determine that the balls fired by the crew of Henry VIII’s flagship were fitted with an armour-pierciing iron core.

That research has been followed by studies of relics dating back to the Bronze Age as well as major investigations into weapons such as a flintlock weapon, an 1853 Enfield musket, Zulu arms including a lklwa and a knobkerry, and a host of knives and swords.

Many went on show yesterday while enthusiasts donned armour to stage the fight display to show off the attributes of medieval armour.

Dr Paul Wilcock, director of the Institute, said: “It was a fun display but there was a very serious purpose to it.

“People think that the armour was heavy and cumbersome, with people having to be hoisted on to horses with an extra 9 stone to carry around.

“That is not the case; much of it is highly movable but also very protective and malleable.

“We are delighted with the success of the Institute. We never thought there would be such attention but we are now getting a very good reputation for our work.

“People in various fields, including museums and dealers, are very anxious to determine the provenance of any item and we are able to provide the latest technical investigations, including CT scans and various x-ray techniques”.

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