Thanks to the staff and logistics of CPAT (notably Dr Penelope Foreman) with additional financial support from the University of Chester, the fourth Offa’s Dyke Collaboratory event successfully took place at the Marches School, Oswestry, Saturday 15th September. This follows on from 3 previous events:
- The inaugural workshop in Shrewsbury in April 2017
- The ‘Dykes through Time’ TAG session at Cardiff University in December 2017
- The Offa’s Dyke Heritage workshop at the Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton in March 2018
This fourth event aimed to bring together the convenors and members, focusing on identifying the rationale and achievements of the Offa’s Dyke Collaboratory, together with reports on local groups up and down the Anglo-Welsh borderlands. The event was combined with a field trip in the afternoon to see CPAT’s dig on the Chirk Castle estate.
The event was attended by c. 50 individuals, including some celebratory figures of Welsh and Borders archaeology – including Margaret Hill and Sian Rees.
The morning comprised of a series of talks by convenors and members. Together these presentations show how, 17 months since inception, the Offa’s Dyke Collaboratory is making real progress in building momentum for new research on the linear earthworks of the Anglo-Welsh borderlands. As well as fostering new work on dykes’ design and construction, new work is afoot to explore their landscape contexts and biographies of use and reuse.
The convenors’ talks were by
- Dave McGlade of the Offa’s Dyke Association
- Dr Paul Belford – Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust
- Andrew Blake – Wye Valley AONB
The second half of the conference comprised of talks by local groups introduced by Dr Keith Ray:
- Alan Brown – Caer Alyn Archaeology
- Niall Heaton – Trefonen Rural Protection Group
- Mel Roxby-Mackey and Ian Mackey – CoSMM (Community Stewardship for Mercian Monuments)
- Ray Bailey – Offa’s Dyke Collabatory North
- Dick Finch – Offa’s Dyke Collabatory Gloucestershire
After lunch and a chance to chat with the audience and fellow-speakers, we re-convened in the National Trust car park at Chirk Castle for a brief sermon from the mound by Dr Paul Belford, before visiting the CPAT dig.
Before we dispersed, there was a brief opportunity to get a photo of 5/6 of the Collaboratory convenors (L-R): Dr Keith Ray, me, Dave McGlade, Dr Paul Belford, Andrew Blake.