Archaeologists in quest to unearth mysteries of past


Kirstie Dolphin

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have embarked on an excavation to unlock the mysteries of an ancient and iconic Welsh burial site.

Staff and students from the University of Chester and fellow specialists from Bangor University, have started the third phase of Project Eliseg at. Llangollen.

The team are hoping to unearth the secrets of a ninth-century stone monument on a prehistoric mound at The Pillar of Eliseg near Valle Crucis Abbey in Llangollen.

Professor Nancy Edwards of Bangor University’s School of History, Welsh History and Archaeology, said: ”The main aim of the project is to better understand this enigmatic monument and how it was used and reused over time.”

The Pillar of Eliseg was originally a tall stone cross but only part of a round shaft survives set within its original base.

It once bore a long Latin inscription saying that the cross was raised by Concenn, ruler of the kingdom of Powys, who died in AD 854, in memory of his great-grandfather, Eliseg.

Phase one of the project, in 2010, focused on the mound, which was identified as an early Bronze Age cairn.

The archaeologists completed the second phase in September 2011, by revealing for the first time details of the cairn’s composition and evidence of many stages in its history.

The experts found possible cremated remains and bone fragments dating back to the Bronze Age and diggers found pieces of Roman pottery as well as shards of post medieval pottery and a spindle whorl at the top of the mound on which the pillar stands.

The undisturbed mound in this trench was then partially excavated revealing a likely early medieval long-cist grave in the section as well as evidence suggesting the interment of cremations during the Bronze Age.

This is now the focus of the third phase.

An open afternoon will be held on Saturday, September 9 between 2pm and 5pm at The Pillar of Eliseg to give the public an opportunity to find more about the third season of excavations.

The archaeologists are carrying out a third season of excavations at the site between August 26 and September 16.

See full story in the Free Press

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