Deganwy

Deganwy is one of those castle-forts that has become part of the legend of Wales, although very little of it remains. This plan http://www.castlewales.com/deganwy1.html shows a reconstruction of the early medieval fort.  It was the seat of “Maelgwyn Gwynedd, the foremost historical figure of the 6th century in north Wales, patron of St Cybi and St Seiriol, but reviled as a drunken tyrant by the chronicler Gildas. Excavations on the western summit in 1961-66 confirmed occupation in the 5th and 6th centuries.”  http://www.castlewales.com/deganwy.html “The area below the castle is called Maesdu Read More…

Breaking news! Richard III’s Skeleton Found in Car Park

Finally … the word is in: “A skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park has been confirmed as that of English king Richard III. Experts from the University of Leicester said DNA from the bones matched that of descendants of the monarch’s family. Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, told a press conference to applause: “Beyond reasonable doubt it’s Richard.” Richard, killed in battle in 1485, will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral. Interactive: Twisted bones reveal a king Mr Buckley said the bones had been subjected to Read More…

Archaeology news in the UK–exciting update!

I am always on the lookout for interesting archaeological finds or digs in the UK.  I have three today: The first is the ongoing quest for the grave of Richard III: http://www.northwalesweeklynews.co.uk/conwy-county-news/uk-world-news/2012/08/24/archaeologists-in-richard-iii-dig-55243-31688154/ “King Richard III, the last Plantagenet, ruled England from 1483 until he was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. It is believed his body was stripped and despoiled and brought to Leicester, where he was buried in the church of the Franciscan Friary, known as Greyfriars.” Richard III is the king defeated by Henry Tudur, the descendent Read More…

The Pillar of Eliseg

The Pillar of Eliseg is a 9th century tribute to Eliseg, a king of Powys.  “The first mentioning is an indirect one: the Brut y Tywysogion mentions that the Abbey of Valle Crucis was founded in A.D. 1200 ‘near the old cross in Yale‘. This so-called fragmentary free-standing pillar-cross stands in a field overlooking the ruined Valle Crucis Abbey (SJ 2142), a few miles from Llangollen in Clywd (former Denbighshire), en route to Horse-Shoe Pass. … The Pillar inspired the name Valle Crucis (Valley of the Cross). It was once Read More…

Rewriting the Dark Ages

A new theory has been working it’s way through the archaeological literature that there was no Saxon ‘invasion’ of Britain after the fall of Rome.  The theory states that “9th century Anglo-Saxon propaganda distort [ed] the records for the turbulent 5th and 6th centuries. . . . Rather than Briton versus Anglo-Saxon – as in the myth of Arthur – was it simply a murderous struggle between rival British warlords?” http://www.archaeology.co.uk/articles/rewriting-the-age-of-arthur.htm The theory, at least in this article, is based on a lack of primary sources of the era.  This is an Read More…

Working Archaeology in Wales

Archaeologists are always working on new projects in Wales.  A shortage of workers and funding inhibit the work, but the Dyfed Archaeological Trust conducted seven different digs, mostly using volunteer labor, in 2010.  A look at their page is a good review of what ‘real’ archaeology is like:  lots of digging, frustration, and grunt work, interspersed with occasional finds.  http://www.cambria.org.uk/  They worked on: Fan Barrow Excavation 2010 Capel y Groes 2010 Pantybutler Round Barrows 2010 Tir y Dail Castle, Ammanford Dig Diary July 2010 Upper Newton Roman Villa at Wolfscastle, Read More…

Danish Bones Found in Oxford

There’s a new article in The Oxford Student which describes a recent find of bones, determined to have belonged to Danes and the result of a massacre ordered by King Ethelbert in 1003 AD.  It sheds some light on an early period in British history and points to something that is easy to forget as you work your way through the Early Middle Ages:  that the “Saxons” from literature and mythology were not monolithic, but comprised of different ethnic groups and nationalities.  What this find reveals is that the Saxons, who now Read More…