Yesterday, I took a day out of the office to visit Llangollen Museum. This is a small volunteer-run museum open every day and stacked full of archaeology. It includes a replica of the Pillar of Eliseg and the cremation burials and artefacts from the Project Eliseg excavations.

Llangollen Museum have a very special find on temporary loan. I’m writing up a research article about this unique stone with Gillian Smith and Dave Crane the museum. Known as the ‘Smiling Abbot’ – the fragment of an early 14th-century effigial slab commemorates an abbot of Valle Crucis Abbey: Howell. He is the only mortuary effigial slab of a medieval abbot from Wales. I’ve blogged about him before here.

However, my photographs of the Smiling Abbot aren’t sufficient for high-quality publication, and my paper has been accepted by no less a journal then the one I’ve just stepped down from as editor: the Archaeological Journal!

So I’ve enlisted the help of artist, archaeologist and filmmaker Dr Aaron Watson to help me take still photographs and a photogrammetric model of the stone. Aaron came down from Cumbria for the day and while he was busy taking a short break, I got the awesome ‘selfie’ or ‘smilie’ with the Smiling Abbot himself.

Medwin at the museum says he looks like Bruce Forsyth, but I think he’s more Russ Abbot. Get it? Russ ‘abbot’. Good.

Anyway, he is currently my favourite medieval abbot, and I love his happy face and tonsure!