Posts Tagged ‘Chartist’
Wednesday 14 August 2013
A visit to Dinas Powys Hillfort with Dr Alan Lane, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at Cardiff University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion.
The original name of Dinas Powys Hillfort in not known. It is a small hillfort and can be reached on Pen-y-Turnpike Road from a foot path opposite Millbrook Road close to St Peter’s Church. Follow the foot path and then turn left up a track into a Beech wood. After the Beech wood, go through a style and on your right are steep steps to the hill fort.
The hill fort is small and probably only held a family group of about 10-20 people and possibly housed a dynasty of locally influential nobility who controlled an area of the east Vale of Glamorgan and the Cardiff Basin. It was occupied from 5-7 centuries AD. Today it is heavily wooded, but would have been highly visible as the woodland only exists from the 1950s. It has evidence of iron-age settlement, but is better known for its continuation into early medieval times. It was originally excavated by Sir Mortimer Wheeler who became Keeper of Archaeology at the National Museum of Wales in August 1920. He was Director of the National Museum of Wales from 1924 to 1926. He took an interest in Dinas Powys and made the first accurate plan of the site which can no longer be located. In the 1950s the site was excavated by Leslie Alcock (1925-2006) and Alcock published a book on the hill fort, entitled Dinas Powys: An Iron Age, Dark Age and Early Medieval Settlement in Glamorgan, (UWP, 1963). The finds from Alcock’s excavation included, rare imported Mediterranean and French pottery, glass fragments, decorated metal work, worked bone and there was evidence of jewellery manufacture. There were a vast numbers of animal bones of which the majority are pig bones. Alcock concluded that the site was 11-12th century and was a small timber ring work castle and that the Tyn y Coed earth works were associated medieval siege works. This has now been disproved by radio Carbon dating and a date of 5-7 centuries has been obtained. This opens up a possible relationship between Dinas Powys Hillfort, as the civil site and the ecclesiastical site at Llandough, which is close by.
The site was well defended for a site with such a small interior area and there were banks and ditches on the south side. The entrance has not been identified. Neither has it been possible to speculate on the relationship between the Tyn y Coed earthworks and the Hillfort. The earthworks do not extend on the south side and their purpose is unknown, and yet one earthwork is large and the ditch very deep when you stand on the top and look down. However, it is difficult to speculate on the reason for so much effort.
For the Monmouthshire Antiquarian Association the most interesting fact was that the Mediterranean artefacts found at Dinas Powys can be found at sites along the Severn estuary, but none have been located in Gwent. An interesting link is
Early Medieval Wales: A Frame Work for Achaeological Research , Nancy Edwards, Alan Lane, Ian Bapty and Mark Redknap
For Cardiff Studies in Archaeology, specialist report no 32, by Andy Seaman, ‘Geophysical Suvey at Tyn y Coed Enclosure, Dinas Powys, South Glamorgan’ see
Dinas Powys hillfort and the southern banks (Tyn y Coed enclosure) (after RCAHMW 1991), in Cardiff Studies in Archaeology, specialist report no 32, by Andy Seaman, ‘Geophysical Suvey at Tyn y Coed Enclosure, Dinas Powys, South Glamorgan’
The visit to Llandough Churchyard with Jeremy Knight
The visit to the church of St Dochwy, dedicated to a lesser known Early Medieval saint, took place in persistent heavy rain. However, Jeremy is never fazed and at Montgomery he stood in the sun on the hottest day of the year and at Llandough he gave two talks about the site in driving rain.
The present church of St Dochdwy largely dates to the mid-19th century, but has long been considered to overlie the site of one of the major Early-medieval monasteries of Glamorgan recorded in the Llandaff charters. A fine late 10th-or early 11th-century carved cross still stands in the churchyard and provides further evidence of the antiquity of the site. In March 1994 Cotswold Archaeological Trust (CAT; now Cotswold Archaeology) was commissioned to undertake the excavation. At an early stage it became clear that the site contained numerous burials that continued beyond the bounds of the agreed excavation area. An area of containing a total of 1,026 inhumation burials was investigated and finished in September 1994. These burials were the largest Early-medieval burial population so far recovered from Wales. Imported amphorae were found in the backfill of five graves indicating activity at Llandough in the late 5th or 6th century. Radiocarbon dates indicate that burials dated from the mid-7th century and continued until the late 10th or early 11th century.
The excavations revealed that: The demographic profile reflects a mixed group comprising males, females and children, with a normal mortality curve for a population of this date and type. Deaths peaked in infancy, early adulthood, and later adulthood. Infants were, however, under-represented and this may have been caused by factors relating to burial practice, extent of excavation, preservation, and cultural attitudes towards children. Twenty-eight per cent of the population failed to reach adulthood. Males were more numerous in the sample than females. Deaths were more common among females at 18–25 years and 25–35 years indicating that child-bearing may have had a significant impact on female mortality. Mortality among males also peaked at 25–35 years. Few individuals had the appropriate traits available with which to estimate an age beyond 45+.
Specific infections were not generally prevalent, although diagnosis was hampered by poor preservation. Analysis of the distribution of fractures and fracture patterns indicated that the majority were associated with indirect forces, such as accidental falls. Overall, fracture patterns were typical of a rural population for which farming activities are the most likely cause of injury.
The impression is of a population that enjoyed an adequate diet. Males tended to have experienced more pathological conditions than females. Although not dissimilar in their overall health and physical attributes, lower levels of disease and a tendency towards a higher life expectancy are suggested compared to other contemporary populations.
Roman-early medieval continuity
No burials of Roman date can be unequivocally claimed which means that the cemetery might have a Roman origin, but it cannot be demonstrated given the current precision of radiocarbon dating. Jeremy Knight has outlined various models which might explain the link between the Roman villa and the Early-medieval monastery. The monastery at Llandough is first recorded historically in the mid-7th century. However, written sources suggest that advent of enclosed monastic communities in South Wales occurred from the late 5th century, and to have been well established by the early 6th century. As yet radiocarbon dating is insufficiently precise to ascertain whether there was continuity of burial from the Late-Roman Period. A Romano-British villa lay to the south of the church, and it is conceivable, although unproven, that there was continuity of settlement from the Roman Period onwards. SEE From Villa to Monastery: Llandough in Context, JEREMY K. KNIGHT
See also Jeremy’s latest publication,
Jeremy Knight , South Wales From the Romans to the Normans: Christianity, Literacy & Lordship
The pillar-cross in Llandough churchyard only has its pillar remaining. It is dedicated to Irbic. The monument is made of Sutton stone and measures 9’9” by 2’3”, consisting of an uppermost square shaft, with bold roll mouldings at the four corners, supported on a pedestal resembling a column, with the capital and base each formed from a separate stone. It has lost its cross head, but a similar cross can be seen at Llandaff Cathedral. The stone had been proven by Dr Diane Brook to have moved position as an old photograph shows it standing to the west of the present Church.
An Early-medieval Monastic Cemetery at Llandough, Glamorgan: Excavations in 1994 By NEIL HOLBROOK and ALAN THOMAS
Saturday, 23 November: Two Free Lectures Afternoon 2pm start
Dr Peter Guest and Dr Mark Lewis two notable archaeologists will lecture on aspects of archaeological research concerning Roman Caerleon
Please note the all day History/Archaeology Day has been cancelled. In its place is an afternoon offering two free lectures to the general public. Entry is by ticket only.
Dr Peter Guest, a member of staff at the School of History and Archaeology, at Cardiff University, will lecture on the fascinating and on-going research into the finds excavated at Caerleon.
Dr Mark Lewis, Curator of National Roman Legion Museum will lecture on the portrait (below) created from the man’s skull and produced using the latest technology.
Two Free November Lectures
At: Caerleon Endowed Junior School
On: 23 November 2013
Time: 2pm – 5pm
Free tickets are available from:
National Roman Legion Museum
Send a stamped address envelope
1 Fields Park Ave
or tel: 01633 215376
ENTRY BY TICKET ONLY – ENTRY FREE
Tea and cake available in interval