The Offa's Dyke Collaboratory

A Research Network for Offa's Dyke, Wat's Dyke and Early Medieval Western Britain

Understanding Peripheries: Power, performance and place in the west of Mercia: Melanie Leggatt

As the twenty-first century plays out our need to understand borders and contested spaces continues to increase. What part can archaeology play in enhancing our understanding of these environments?  How, during their apogee, do Mercian attempts to manage their western borders mirror and inform our responses to contemporary contested spaces? What of the British responses to these acts of hegemony? How do populations find a way to function in and around borders?

Theoretical and methodological developments over the last three decades have revolutionised the conceptual frameworks to which archaeological researchers have access. As the fields of both landscape and border studies continue to embrace analyses with a temporal element into their mainstream archaeologists have an opportunity to draw on and contribute to wider academic debates on contested spaces.

Typified by increased scholarly interest in questions relating to space and place and supported by new data sets and increasingly powerful computational toolkits, these advances promise new and fruitful avenues of enquiry. This project combines research strands born out of the interdisciplinary Spatial Turn paradigm shift, psychology, landscape and border studies to undertake an archaeological study of the long-standing contested environment of the Anglo-Welsh border in the early medieval period.

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