In the first public talk on Project Eliseg in at least 4 years, I gave a talk to the Churches Conservation Trust on Thursday 29 April 2021.
Today under Cadw stewardship, the Pillar of Eliseg is a fragment of an early 9th-century cross-shaft set in its original base upon a prehistoric burial mound near the ruins of the later medieval Cistercian house of Valle Crucis, Denbighshire, Wales. The cross-shaft bears a now-eligible Latin inscription commemorating the martial victories of Eliseg of Powys and honouring his legendary ancestors. The inscription states the cross was raised by Elise’s great-grandson Concenn (d. AD 854). What, when, where, how, and why was the Pillar of Eliseg created, by whom? This presentation explores the story of one of Britain’s most important yet enigmatic early medieval monuments, presenting the results of archaeological fieldwork by Bangor and Chester universities (2010–2012) which revealed new insights into the monument’s life-history from prehistory to the present day. The entwined themes of power and faith help us to understand its construction and enduring legacy.
With over 400 live views, and now on YouTube, this shows the huge public interest in this exceptional and distinction scheduled ancient monument. I’ve never had such a large digital audience live, and the range of questions was amazing. The Church Conservation Trust clearly have a passionate nationwide level of enthusiasm and it was great to talk to folks whose interests weren’t primarily archaeological, and yet for whom archaeological research is so integral to understanding the buildings and history of Christian worship in these islands.