Archaeologists launched a bid to uncover the site one of the most famous battles in Scottish history -- in the grounds of a police headquarters.

Central Scotland Police's headquarters at Randolphfield, Stirling, is named after Sir Thomas Randolph, one of the commanders of Robert the Bruce's army at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

The first major skirmish of the two-day battle occurred on Sunday 23 June when Randolph routed around 300 English cavalry, who were attempting to relieve Stirling Castle.

A pair of small standing stones near the entrance to the current police headquarters is believed to mark the site of the fighting, but until now there has been no other physical evidence.

Stirling Council archaeologist Murray Cook said ground-penetrating radar would be used to locate the Roman road on which King Edward II's army marched on Stirling and the famous spike-filled pits that played a crucial role in the outcome.

He said pits used to bury the dead might also be found.

He said that if the site can be located it would be the first evidence of fighting at the Battle of Bannockburn.

Mr Cook, who hopes to follow the survey with a dig next year, said: "The Battle of Bannockburn was the decisive battle in the First War of Scottish Independence, but, aside from a single Edward I penny and an arrowhead, there is very little solid evidence of where the fighting took place.

"We do know that the old Roman road played a huge role in Randolph's victory on the first day, however.

"Robert the Bruce dug pits on either side of the road to stop the English cavalry deploying on either side of the road and to constrict them to a narrow front.

"When they were met by Randolph they had no way around him and were defeated.

"Randolph's victory gave the Scots -- seemingly outnumbered and outclassed -- a huge lift.

"We know the Roman road is in this area. If we can locate the road and these pits -- or pits of the battlefield dead -- we will have the first real evidence of where this pivotal event took place."

The road would show in the survey as a large linear band. The pits, of which there are contemporary accounts, should be in lines next to the road.

King Edward arrived at Stirling along the route, along with a vast force of up to 3000 heavy cavalry and 16,000 foot soldiers.

The Scots king commanded an army of probably no more than 9000.

King Robert himself was involved in the first fighting in the battle after an English knight, Henry de Bohun, spotted him and charged at him with his lance. The Scot manoeuvred to the side and smashed the knight's helmet and head in two with his battle-axe.

In the meantime, another English cavalry force under Robert Clifford and Henry de Beaumont skirted the Scottish position to the east and rode towards Stirling, advancing as far as St Ninians.

Bruce spotted the manoeuvre and ordered Randolph to intercept.

The English horsemen were unable to make any impression on the Scots spearmen, and were defeated.

Had Randolph been defeated the Engish would have reached Stirling Castle and there may have been no battle.

The following day, however, the Scot's routed the vast English force and forced Edward to flee back to England.

Mr Cook said the pits gave the Scots a huge advantage.

He said: "This skirmish was of huge significance. If the castle was relieved, all bets were off.

"Bruce dug pits to make the enemy come to him on a narrow front.

"When Clifford's advance party met Randolph, they could not get at the disciplined Scottish schiltron. The horses would not attack the Scots with their spears and they could not go around them because of the pits."