Archaelogical remains

Archeological remains

Offa's Dyke - c. 700 AD

Offa's Dyke
Offa's Dyke

Dating back to the eigth century, Offa's Dyke is a tangible sign of the emergence of a distinct Welsh identity.

An earth structure, it was built by King Offa of Mercia, and at 270km long, it passed through Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Radnorshire, Montgomeryshire, Shropshire, Denbighshire and Flintshire.

The dyke was more a demarcation line than a serious fortification, with a plain bank and a 12 feet ditch facing Wales. Many sections are still visible, with a modern walk running along its length.

Voteporix Stone: Carmarthen Museum - c. 540-560 AD

Voteporix Stone
Voteporix Stone

A place where history and archaeology meet, the Voteporix Stone was a memorial to a sixth century king of Dyfed.

As a descendent of Irish invaders, the stone has bilingual inscriptions in Latin and Irish ogam. It reads 'In Memorial of Voteporix: The Protector'. This grand title relates to the Roman military, suggesting that he was trying to assume the authority that the Romans once enjoyed.

Deganwy Castle Site, Deganwy, near Llandudno - c. 500 AD

Deganwy Castle site
Deganwy Castle site

Overlooking the West beach at Llandudno, a sixth century warrior called Maelgwyn, 'The Hound Prince', forged Gwynedd into a strong kingdom and built his castle there.

It survived for more than a thousand years. Acutely strategically positioned, the castle's location in view of Anglesey, Snowdonia and the Conwy Valley allowed Maelgwyn to control Gwynedd.

Maelgwyn may have been named Patron of the bards - and loved them to sing his praises - but he was a complex character who ultimately abandoned his kingdom to become a monk.

Cadfan Stone, Llangadwaladr Church: Anglesey - c. 600-625 AD

Cadfan Stone
Cadfan Stone

Cadfan, 'the wisest and most renowned of all kings', was buried in the first half of the seventh century, two miles from the nucleus of royal power in Anglesey.

He reigned as King of Gwynedd between 580 and 625 AD and was a contemporary of the powerful Anglo-Saxon King Red Wold in East Anglia. The stone commemorated his life.

Tywyn Stone
Tywyn Stone

Tywyn Stone, St Cadfan's Church: Tywyn, Aberdovey - c. 800 AD

It may be revered today, but the Tywyn Stone formerly stood as a gatepost for a local pigsty before its significance was realised!

The stone is hugely important as the oldest public inscription of Welsh, contributing to our understanding of how Wales emerged as a nation and Welsh as a language. It dates back to the ninth century when a sense of Welsh identity was starting to flourish.

Eliseg's Pillar: Llangollen - c. 800 AD

Eliseg's Pillar
Eliseg's Pillar

When built, this pillar would have stood at twice its current height, with a large cross on top. In fact, it was so huge it gave its name to the valley, Valley of the Cross.

Eliseg was an eigth century king who regained Powys from the Saxons. Some believe King Offa built the famous dyke to keep Eliseg out of England. Urging the people of Powys to fight by fire and sword, Eliseg's pillar symbolised the suffering under Saxon invasion and the desire to be free. It was built by his great-grandson King Cyngen, the last King of Powys.

Viking Site, Llanbedrgoch: Anglesey - c. 800-1100 AD

Viking Site, Llanbedrgoch
Viking Site, Llanbedrgoch

Eighth century Wales found itself victim to hostile Viking raids despite its natural defences of a hazardous coastline and rugged landscape. Archaeologists have found their most important evidence of Viking violence and trading at Llanbedrgoch in Anglesey.

Metal detectors initially found coins and Scandinavian merchant lead weights, whilst a full excavation found a one hectare enclosure, freshwater spring, hack silver, and five skeletons. Their wrists had been tied, suggesting either a violent raid, or that the spot had been a place to gather people as slaves.

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