I’m very pleased to announce my latest publication: a collaboration between Dr Patricia Murrieta-Flores and myself stemming from the Past in its Place ERC-funded project.I’ve discussed various elements of this paper before on this blog but here it is in its final published form.
Placing the Pillar of Eliseg explores movement and memory through the landscape around this unique 9th-century monument, helping to explain how the monument was positioned, its possible function and its significance as a feature in a volatile and fluid ‘frontier zone’. This includes a discussion of the patterns of visibility from Offa’s Dyke and Wat’s Dyke, and so it is directly connected to discussions of the relationship between the British and the Anglo-Saxons in the 8th and 9th centuries along the Mercian frontier.
THE LANDSCAPE CONTEXT of the early 9th–century monument known as the Pillar of Eliseg is interrogated here for the first time with GIS–based analysis and innovative spatial methodologies. Our interpretation aims to move beyond regarding the Pillar as a prominent example of early medieval monument reuse and a probable early medieval assembly site. We argue that the location and topographical context of the cross and mound facilitated the monument’s significance as an early medieval locus of power, faith and commemoration in a contested frontier zone. The specific choice of location is shown to relate to patterns of movement and visibility that may have facilitated and enhanced the ceremonial and commemorative roles of the monument. By shedding new light on the interpretation of the Pillar of Eliseg as a node of social and religious aggregation and ideological power, our study has theoretical and methodological implications for studying the landscape contexts of early medieval stone monuments.
Murrieta-Flores, P. and Williams, H. 2017. Placing the Pillar of Eliseg: Movement, Visibility and Memory in the Early Medieval Landscape, Medieval Archaeology 61(1), 69–103. DOI: 10.1080/00766097.2017.1295926 http://hdl.handle.net/10034/620515