Craignant Tower – commemorating Offa’s Dyke

In a previous post, I noted the recent commemoration of the line of Offa’s Dyke as it crosses the Clywedog west of Nant Mill. At that point, a tree has been carved with a sculpture commemorating Offa and ‘his’ dyke. Here I wish to report on another ‘modern’ feature marking Offa’s Dyke. It is probably…

Pen-Y-Gardden hillfort and Offa’s Dyke

Re-posted from Howard’s Archaeodeath blog. Recently, I went on a walk to check out Pen-Y-Gardden (Y Garden) hillfort to the west of Ruabon. The hillfort is presumed to be Iron Age. It is itself is on private land but the public right of way follows a lane around its western and north-western sides. The interior is…

Offa’s Dyke from Carreg-y-big to Craignant

Offa’s Dyke is alive and well, but often found snoring deeply in slumber beneath the surface of modern culture and politics.  To use another mildly implausible analogy, the early medieval linear earthwork, regarded as built by the orders of the Mercian king Offa, is like an iceberg, or perhaps a dormant volcano. It is seemingly…

Offa’s Dyke from Chirk to Craignant

Re-posted from Howard’s Archaeodeath blog. Offa’s Dyke is a late 8th-century linear earthwork (Britain’s longest), attributed to the Mercian ruler Offa (r. 757-796). To understand it, one has to have a copy of Sir Cyril Fox’s 1955 book, the last and only time the monument has been surveyed from one end to the other. This post reflects…

Offa’s Dyke and the Clywedog

I have a long-standing interest in early medieval kingship, kingdoms and communities and their monumental expressions, but very little time and effort spent thinking about and exploring linear earthworks. Hence, my recent conference presentation and ongoing research on Offa’s and Wat’s Dykes in the vicinity of the Vale of Llangollen is a new departure for me. I…

Offa’s Dyke at Chirk Castle

Re-posted from Howard’s Archaeodeath blog I’ve just finished reading Keith Ray and Ian Bapty’s fascinating new book: Offa’s Dyke: Landscape and Hegemony in Eighth-Century Britain, published by Oxbow. Hence, Offa’s Dyke is foremost in my mind. The monument is under threat of destruction along its line – from ignorance, neglect and irresponsible (sometimes criminal) behaviour. It is…

Commemorating Wat’s Dyke at Hope

Re-posted from Professor Williams’s Archaeodeath blog. On a road trip to explore parts of the Vale of Llangollen I stopped at Hope, Flintshire, to inspect a section of the Mercian frontier work known as Wat’s Dyke. On the outskirts of the village to the north-north-west, the dyke is well preserved beneath modern property boundaries beside the Wrexham…

Wat’s Dyke at Erddig

Wat’s Dyke Running for 38 miles, seemingly continuously from the Dee estuary at Basingwerk to Maesbury Marsh south of Oswestry, Wat’s Dyke is the second longest earthwork known from early medieval Britain, only over-shadowed in scale by its neighbour: Offa’s Dyke. As Cyril Fox put it: ‘Wat’s Dyke, throughout its course from the Dee to the…

Wat’s Dyke near Holywell and Basingwerk

Re-posted from Howard’s Archaeodeath blog. Recently,  I spent a morning out of the office exploring Wat’s Dyke near Holywell and Basingwerk with Dr Keith Ray, co-author of a recent book on Offa’s Dyke. This section of Wat’s Dyke – a monument now thought to date to the early 9th century and therefore later than Offa’s Dyke…

A World’s End, a World’s Beginning – Offa’s Dyke at Sedbury Cliffs

The farthest south point of the early medieval linear earthwork known as Offa’s Dyke is at Sedbury Cliffs, in the Forest of Dean. This significant location is marked by a monumental scale to the earthwork. The southermost Sedbury section of Offa’s Dyke runs across 1.6km of undulating higher ground from the Wye opposite Chepstow at…

Navigating Offa’s Dyke – A Panoply of Signs at Selattyn

Exploring the material culture of the heritage industry and its impact on the landscape is an important part of any research into the relationship between archaeology and landscape today.  Rather than a critical heritage perspective, I regard this as contemporary archaeology. Footpaths attracts material culture as part of their establishment and maintenance, and in many…

Offa’s Dyke – Modern Signs on an Ancient Earthwork

A few months back, I walked along one of the more southerly sections of Offa’s Dyke as it follows the eastern side of the River Wye. I was struck but its scale and character of the bank and ditch as it traversed steep slopes and complex topography and would have once dominated the land to…

Offa’s Dyke from Tidenham and the Devil’s Pulpit

Back in March, I visited the Wye Valley to explore sections of Offa’s Dyke as it navigates along the high slopes above the river. I thought this would be the best time of year to investigate it when leaves wouldn’t intercede in my views of the landscape, and hence my visit would enhance my appreciation…

Commemorating Dyke, Park and Path – Offa’s Dyke at Knighton

Previously posted on HW’s Archaeodeath blog. Recently I visited Knighton’s Offa’s Dyke Centre and explored sections of Offa’s Dyke to its north and south. What I gained from this is a clear sense of how this monumental earthwork traversed and controlled the valley of the River Teme. This is one of the sections where Offa’s…

Signs and Memorials on Offa’s Dyke from Panpunton Hill to Cwm-sanahan Hill

Re-posted from Archaeodeath – the blog of Professor Howard Williams Previously I’ve discussed signs and memorials along Offa’s Dyke in the Wye Valley, in Knighton, and around Selattyn and Craignant. I’ve shown how signs serve their practical waymarking functions as well as branding and commemorating simultaneously the ancient earthwork and the Offa’s Dyke Path. I’ve…

The Offa’s Dyke Centre

Re-posted from the Archaeodeath blog of Professor Howard Williams The Offa’s Dyke Centre at Knighton, opened in 1999 and supported by (among others) the Offa’s Dyke National Trail, is located on the edge of Knighton, Powys. It has already become one of my all-time favourite museums/heritage centres, despite the fact that I have so far…

Adjusted-Segmented Construction of Offa’s Dyke on Hawthorn Hill

This is re-posted from the Archaeodeath blog of Howard Williams Rather than sinuous or straight, in many places Offa’s Dyke is built of short straight segments. In their recent book Offa’s Dyke: Landscape and Hegemony in Eighth-Century Britain, Ray and Bapty identify a series of places where this distinctive form of construction is in evidence….

Feathers on Offa’s Dyke

This is a re-blog from Howard Williams’s Archaeodeath blog. Whilst recently walking the Offa’s Dyke path between Discoed, Powys and Rushock Hill, Herefordshire, I got to see some terrific birdlife, including a mistle thrush, linnet, multiple wren encounters, a reed warbler, a redstart, a wheatear, sparrows, great tits, blue tits and so on, as well…