Experts at Bradford University have been involved in a reconstruction to reveal the face of a medieval knight at a Scottish castle.

Dr Jo Buckberry, a biological anthropologist at the University of Bradford, and archaeological scientist Dr Janet Montgomery were in a team investigating the identity of the warrior possibly killed in Scotland’s wars of independence with England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

Stirling Castle changed hands several times and scientific tests have been used to work out whether he might have been a Scot, an Englishman or even French.

The team’s efforts to unravel the puzzle will be shown on Thursday as part of BBC2’s History Cold Case series. The programme focuses on two of ten skeletons excavated from a lost royal chapel and will seek to discover why and when the knight, and a woman buried nearby, met violent ends.

Dr Buckberry said: “Techniques have advanced a long way since the skeletons were discovered in 1997 and we can now tell much more about where people came from, their lifestyles and causes of death.

“This group is highly unusual because of where the people were buried, suggesting that they might have been socially important and have died during extreme events such as sieges.”

The skeletons were found during work for Historic Scotland’s £12 million refurbishment of the castle’s Renaissance royal palace to how it may have looked in the 1540s.

Richard Strachan, senior archaeologist with Historic Scotland, said: “The facial reconstruction of the knight gives a powerful impression of what a warrior who died in the 1300s may have looked like.

“He was a very strong and fit nobleman, with the physique of a professional rugby player, who would have been trained since boyhood to handle heavy swords and other weapons and who would have spent a great deal of time on horseback.

“We are building on this work through a project with Dr Buckberry and her colleagues, to use the latest archaeological techniques to discover more about the loves and origins of all the people found buried in the chapel.”

One avenue of research will be to compare the results from the Stirling skeletons with those of soldiers found in mass graves who were killed at the Battle of Towton, near Tadcaster, the decisive clash of England’s Wars of the Roses in 1461.