It is a humbling privilege to have worked with Dr Kara Critchell and Sheena Evans in editing the collected essays of Dai Morgan Evans, now published with Archaeopress. This project was developed following the sad news of Dai’s passing on 1 March 2017 and the subsequent memorial event which took place that September at the Society of Antiquaries of London.
Archaeologies and Antiquaries collects and republishes 14 key academic works by the late Professor Dai Morgan Evans FSA (1944–2017), whose career spanned the civil service, learned societies, charitable organisations and the academy. His research focused on the archaeology of Wales and England. Spanning early medieval archaeology and history, the management and conservation of ancient monuments, histories of antiquarianism, and the Welsh church of Llangar, the chapters have been reformatted, freshly edited and published together for the first time with new illustrations. Together, the studies provide still-pertinent and insightful investigations, here contextualised by a multi-authored introduction surveying Dai’s career and contributions to archaeology and its public understanding.
David (Dai) Morgan Evans (1 March 1944–1 March 2017) studied the subject at Cardiff University (1963–1966) before pursuing postgraduate research on the archaeology of early Welsh poetry as well as acting as an assistant director of the South Cadbury excavations led by Professor Leslie Alcock. Dai’s working life began when he joined the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings in Wales in early 1969. In 1977, he transferred to the English Inspectorate. Charged, from 1986, with developing countryside policies, he also became the English Heritage specialist in Public Inquiries. From 1992 to his retirement in 2004, Dai was a popular and active General Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He co-devised the APPAG (All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group) from 2001 and for a number of years served as its secretary after his retirement (2004–2008). From 2003, Dai was Honorary Lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology at UCL and from 2006 was Visiting Professor of Archaeology at the University of Chester.
Stemming from the memorial event held at the Society of Antiquaries of London, 11 September 2017: ‘Memorial for Professor Dai Morgan Evans FSA’, this book – Archaeologies & Antiquaries: Essays by Dai Morgan Evans – re-edits and re-formats 14 chapters of Dai’s publications hitherto available in disparate county and national journals and edited books. Many chapters are enriched by additional images. The topics of the book span early medieval Wales and western Britain, antiquarianism, the care and conservation of ancient monuments, and Welsh church history. The collection is introduced by a new multi-authored introduction surveying the contribution and legacy of Dai’s life in the service of archaeology including his pivotal role in the reconstruction of two Roman buildings, the first at Butser Ancient Farm and the second at Wroxeter Roman City. Reflecting his passion and dedication to Welsh archaeology, the book thus celebrates Dai’s career spanning the civil service, learned societies, charitable organisations and the academy as well as his contribution to public archaeology and media archaeology.
The book received a launch as part of the 2022-2023 History and Archaeology Research Seminar series. Here’s the video in full, show-casing two original talks reflecting on aspects of Dai’s work.
Digging with Dai: Excavations at the Pillar of Eliseg by Emeritus Professor Nancy Edwards (Bangor University)
Building on the Past: Lessons Learnt from the Reconstruction of a Villa Urbana at Wroxeter Roman City, Shropshire by Roger White (University of Birmingham)
Here is Kara, Sheena and myself at the book launch:
The book fully acknowledges a host of societies and individuals who generously granted permission for the republication of Dai’s publications in this collection.
Thanks also to my co-editors Kara and Sheena for their unswerving support.