On day 1 of the Early Medieval Wales Archaeology Research Group colloquium, we had 3 papers on dykes and a field trip exploring Offa’s Dyke and Aberbechan short dyke, as well as Meifod church. There was then a discussion before dinner regarding the future of the early medieval research framework for Wales. Then a slap-up three-course gorge-fest in Welshpool.
Day 2’s morning saw seven magnificent papers.
- Nancy Edwards reported on new excavations and chance discoveries shedding new light on settlement, burials and commemoration from early medieval Anglesey, including a newly discovered inscribed stone;
- Alan Lane, Tudur Davies and Andy Seaman presented a rapid tour through four discrete projects investigating dimensions of early medieval south-east Wales, including work on the palynological evidence and field-names for the Vale of Glamorgan and excavations near Caerleon and at Dinas Powys;
- Lynne Stumpe presented on her Bangor University Masters thesis exploring the pilgrimage landscape of ‘Cybisland’ on Holy Island, Anglesey;
- Rhiannon Comeau reported on a new initiative: the Assembly Sites of Wales Project
- Marion Shiner presented on two seasons (2014 and 2015) of excavations at St Patrick’s chapel, Pembrokeshire, revealing a sequence of early medieval burials, cross-inscribed stones and possibly an early medieval predecessor to the later medieval chapel;
- Katie Hemer revealed provisional elements of the osteological analysis of the human remains, including the Strontium and Oxygen, Carbon and Nitrogen stable isotope analyses;
- Peter Reavill gave us rich insights into the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s contribution to our understanding of the Marches.
These 7, together with the 3 papers on day one, gave a rich snapshot of current research on Wales and the Marches in the Early Middle Ages. EMWARG continues to be a coherent and viable venue to both communicate and debate research from many perspectives and thanks to Nancy Edwards and Marion Shiner for another successful conference.
Sadly I could not stay around for the second field visit on Sunday afternoon, which explored New Pieces – an early medieval settlement near Welshpool.