You may have heard of Offa’s Dyke, but what’s Wat’s Dyke?

Running for over 63km from north Shropshire to the Dee Estuary, Wat’s Dyke is Britain’s third-longest ancient monument but is often ignored and neglected. Yet Wat’s Dyke holds clues to understanding the origins of the Anglo-Welsh borderlands! How, why, when and where was it built, and by whom? Where can you see it today?

Under the auspices of the Offa’s Dyke Collaboratory, archaeological illustrator John Swogger and early medieval archaeologist Professor Howard Williams (University of Chester) are pleased and proud to launch the What’s Wat’s Dyke? Wrexham Comic Heritage Trail. This is a digital comic for folks of all ages and backgrounds.

It will show visitors and locals where you can visit surviving stretches of this enigmatic linear earthwork. It will explain what we know about Wat’s Dyke but also what we still don’t know!

In our video-launch for the comic heritage trail, launched Monday 19 July 2021 as part of the CBA’s Festival of Archaeology, Howard and John take you to each of 10 locations where you can see Wat’s Dyke in and around Wrexham.

WATCH IT HERE from 6pm Monday 19 July!

For the first time, we will reveal our John’s 10 amazing comic panels, one for each location, and take you through what we chose to represent, and what you can see on the ground.

Check out John’s other work: https://johngswogger.wordpress.com/

Explore the What’s Wat’s Dyke? Wrexham Comic Heritage Trail via this link. There is a map to navigate and 10 comic panels: https://offaswatsdyke.wordpress.com/whats-wats-dyke-wrexham-comic-heritage-trail-by-john-g-swogger-and-howard-williams/

Alternately, if you want to access the entire comic as a digital pdf: CLICK HERE.

Check out Howard’s and John’s rationale and academic context for this comic, published in the book Public Archaeologies of Frontiers and Borderlands: open access from Archaeopress.

For John’s published discussion on the use of comics to engage audiences with the stories of borderlands, see Offa’s Dyke Journal 1.

This video and the comic premieres as part of the CBA Festival of Archaeology 2021. They would love your feedback. Please follow this link to give your thoughts on this event! https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FestivalofArchaeology2021

Note 1: a Welsh language version is forthcoming.

Note 2: we hope to print some copies for use in forthcoming events.

Note 3: we gratefully acknowledge funding for this project from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Research Funds and Department of History and Archaeology Research Funds from the University of Chester and from the Offa’s Dyke Association.

Note 4: full acknowledgements to those who offered advice and support will be included in our forthcoming publication of this collaborative project.