Local historians have appealed to amateur archaeologists for help as they try to find the true location of the Battle of Roundway.

The English Civil War battle in July 1643 was a victory for the Royalists over the Parliamentarians and it is believed that the bodies of more than 600 soldiers are buried near the site.

Metal detectorist Keith Genever, of Waylands, Devizes, investigated Roundway Down in the 1970s and found 12 cannon balls varying in size from two pounds to six pounds.

Alan Carter, who recently settled in Devizes and set up the Devizes Heritage website, has taken up Mr Genever’s findings and, with other amateur archaeologists, Phil Hancock and Bill Underwood, has come up with some startling findings. Mr Carter said: “The mapping of these finds pins down the site of the bombardment of the Parliamentary infantry square of 2,000 men.

“This map seriously questions the location of the battle as promulgated by generations of historians following the finding of two crania (skulls) in the 1850s.”

The battle is thought to have taken place within a triangle bounded by Roundway Hill, Morgan’s Hill and King’s Play Hill but the exact location has never been pinpointed.

Mr Hancock has been excavating areas where it is thought the missing victims of the battle are buried. Sixty yew trees have been planted on the down and Mr Hancock believes that they were planted as a mark of respect and to protect the burials from animals.

The four men are planning an exhibition in July, the anniversary of the battle, to show what has been found and what this means in pinpointing the battleground.

Mr Carter said: “We are very close to finding out where the battle took place and we are keen to speak to anyone who has found items that might have originated from the battle.” Anyone who has relevant items should contact them via www.devizesheritage.org.uk