• What's Wat's Dyke? Wrexham Comic Heritage Trail (English & Welsh Language Booklets)

      Williams, Howard; Swogger, John; University of Chester
      We hope this comic heritage trail for Wrexham helps introduce you to Britain's third-longest ancient monument
    • What’s Wat’s Dyke? Wrexham Comic Heritage Trail

      Williams, Howard; Swogger, John; University of Chester (JAS Arqueologia, 2021-10-26)
      The publication of the English version of the What's Wat's Dyke? comic in the Offa's Dyke Journal.
    • Rethinking Wat’s Dyke: a monument’s flow in a hydraulic frontier zone.

      Williams, Howard; University of Chester (JAS Arqueologia, 2021-12-23)
      Britain’s second-longest early medieval monument – Wat’s Dyke – was a component of an early medieval hydraulic frontier zone rather than primarily serving as a symbol of power, a fixed territorial border or a military stop-line. Wat’s Dyke was not only created to monitor and control mobility over land, but specifically did so through its careful and strategic placement by linking, blocking and overlooking a range of watercourses and wetlands. By creating simplified comparative topographical maps of the key fluvial intersections and interactions of Wat’s Dyke for the first time, this article shows how the monument should not be understood as a discrete human-made entity, but as part of a landscape of flow over land and water, manipulating and managing anthropogenic and natural elements. Understanding Wat’s Dyke as part of a hydraulic frontier zone not only enhances appreciation of its integrated military, territorial, socio-economic and ideological functionality and significance, most likely the construction of the middle Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, it also theorises Wat’s Dyke as built to constitute and maintain control both across and along its line, and operating on multiple scales. Wat’s Dyke was built to manage localised, middle-range as well as long-distance mobilities via land and water through western Britain and beyond.
    • Collaboratory through crises: researching linear monuments in 2021

      Williams, Howard; University of Chester (JAS Arqueologia, 2021-12-29)
      This article introduces the third volume of the Offa’s Dyke Journal (ODJ). As well as reviewing ODJ 3’s contents, I present reviews of the journal received to date, notable new publications on linear monuments, and the Collaboratory’s key activities during 2021. The context and significance of the research network’s ongoing endeavours are presented set against intersecting academic and public crises affecting the study and public’s engagement with past frontiers and borderlands.
    • Dai Morgan Evans: a life in archaeology

      Williams, Howard; Chris, Musson; Christopher, Young; Cramp, Rosemary; James, Adrian; Evans, Sheena; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2022-08-25)
      Born David Morgan Evans on 1 March (St David’s Day) 1944 at West Kirby on the Wirral, Dai grew up in Chester, where the history master at the King’s School encouraged his interest in local history (Figure 1). Summer holidays at St David’s in West Wales, and participation in local digs in Chester, ignited his lifelong passion for archaeology. He studied the subject at Cardiff University (1963–1966) before pursuing postgraduate research on the archaeology of early Welsh poetry (Figure 2a), as well as acting as an assistant director of the South Cadbury excavations led by Professor Leslie Alcock (Figure 2b). Dai’s working life began when he joined the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings in Wales in early 1969. During his time there, he conceived and initiated the creation of the four Welsh archaeological trusts, as their ‘true begetter.’1 In 1977, he transferred to the English Inspectorate. Charged, from 1986, with developing countryside policies, he also became the English Heritage (as it now was) specialist in Public Inquiries. From 1992 to his retirement in 2004, Dai was a popular and active General Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He co-devised the APPAG (All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group) from 2001 and for a number of years served as its secretary after his retirement (2004–2008). From 2003, Dai was Honorary Lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology at UCL. Having opened University College Chester’s new offices and teaching spaces in the Blue Coat School in 2003 to accommodate the Department of History and Archaeology, Dai served first as an honorary lecturer and then from 2006 as Visiting Professor of Archaeology, teaching and inspiring students and sustaining his research interests. His active retirement also included a host of other activities including television appearances, serving on the National Trust Archaeology Panel, participating in the historic-period dimension of the SPACES project with Geoff Wainwright and Timothy Darvill, and initiating the first modern study of the unique early medieval Welsh monument, the Pillar of Eliseg, at Llantysilio yn Iâl, Denbighshire. After a lifetime contributing to the archaeology of England and Wales, Dai sadly passed away on his birthday aged 73, 1 March 2017. Stemming from the memorial event held at the Society of Antiquaries of London, 11 September 2017: ‘Memorial for Professor Dai Morgan Evans FSA’,3 this multi-authored introduction charts Dai’s life in the service of archaeology. The authors cannot claim to cover all aspects of Dai’s archaeological endeavours, and inevitably the discussion affords depth to some aspects while mentioning others more briefly. However, the perspectives sequentially address different phases of his archaeological career and combine to capture a sense of his overall achievements and legacy. The chapter concludes with a brief introduction to this collection, which constitutes a celebration and memorial to Dai’s archaeological career and research.
    • Drawing the line: What’s Wat’s Dyke? Practice and process.

      Swogger, John; Williams, Howard; University of Chester (JAS Arqueologia, 2021-11-18)
      Often neglected and misunderstood, there are considerable challenges to digital and real-world public engagement with Britain’s third-longest linear monument, Wat’s Dyke (Williams 2020a). To foster public education and understanding regarding of Wat’s Dyke’s relationship to the broader story of Anglo-Welsh borderlands, but also to encourage the monument’s management and conservation, we proposed the creation of a comic heritage trail (Swogger and Williams 2020). Funded by the University of Chester and the Offa’s Dyke Association, we selected one prominent stretch where Wat’s Dyke is mainly damaged and fragmentary and yet also there remain well-preserved and monumental sections. Around Wrexham, Wat’s Dyke navigates varied topographies including following and crossing river valleys, and it is accessible to the public in the vicinity of North Wales’s largest town. In this article we outline the dialogue and decision-making process behind the map and 10-panel comic: What’s Wat’s Dyke? Wrexham Comic Heritage Trail (Swogger and Williams 2021; Williams and Swogger 2021a–b). In particular, we consider the stages taken to adapt from the initial plan of producing a bilingual map guide in response to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. This digital resource, published online in Welsh and English, guides visitors and locals alike along a central stretch of Wat’s Dyke around Wrexham town from Bryn Alyn hillfort to the north to Middle Sontley to the south. The comic heritage trail thus responds to the highly fragmented nature of the monument and utilises the linearity of Wat’s Dyke as a gateway to explore the complex Anglo-Welsh borderlands from prehistory to the present day. Building on earlier discussions (Swogger 2019), What’s Wat’s Dyke? illustrates the potential of future projects which use comics to explore linear monuments and linear heritage features (from ancient trackways and roads to railways and canals) constructed across the world from prehistory to recent times.
    • Book Review: The Material Fall of Roman Britain, 300–525 CE, by Robin Fleming (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021; pp. 303. $45).

      Pickles, Thomas; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2022-08-16)
      A review of Robin Fleming, The Material Fall of Roman Britain, 300–525 CE (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021).
    • Destroy the 'Sutton Hoo Treasure'!

      Williams, Howard; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2022-09-01)
      This chapter presents a survey and critique of the use of ‘treasure(s)’ to describe the burial assemblage from the Mound 1 ship-burial at Sutton Hoo since its discovery in 1939. I argue that referring to the contents of Mound 1 as ‘treasure(s)’ is not merely misrepresenting, commodifying and sensationalising its funerary context and wider significance. Furthermore, the persistent use of the terms directly relates also to specific, multiple valences which assert and perpetuate a specific interpretation of the grave as a ‘King’s Mound’. Moreover, referring to more than the rare and high-status character of the finds, ‘treasure(s)’ also casts the assemblage’s identity as a ‘national treasure’, legitimising its curation by the British Museum and valorising the benefaction of the landowner who commissioned the 1938 and 1939 excavations: Mrs Edith Pretty. Another key dimension to the use of the term is the assemblage’s perceived relationship with the epic Old English poem Beowulf and the ‘treasures’ it describes. As a label, ‘treasure(s)’ inaccurately and tenaciously sublimates the rich and complex story of the grave, the contexts of the cemetery, locality and region into a simplified simulacrum of early East Anglian/Anglo-Saxon kingship linked to religious conversion and tied to patriotic modern concepts of Englishness. I demonstrate how the use of ‘treasure’ reveals a nexus of Anglo-Saxonist and Germanist ideological readings of the assemblage in academic discourse and popular culture.
    • Introduction: the Public Archaeology of Treasure

      Williams, Howard; Clague, Samuel; Carr, Natasha; Raine, James; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2022-09-01)
      Setting the stage for The Public Archaeology of Treasure, this chapter presents the complex intersections of ‘treasure’ in archaeological teaching and research and archaeology’s interactions with a range of different publics on local, regional, national and international scales. The chapter also identifies the global issues in heritage conservation, management and interpretation as well as the looting of archaeological sites and the illicit trade in antiquities relating to ‘treasure(s)’ as legally defined, popularly perceived and metaphorically articulated. Having introduced the breadth and complexity of ‘treasure(s)’, we survey the 2020 student conference from whence this project derived before reviewing the span and foci of the book itself.
    • The Christian Landscape of Early Medieval Chester and Wirral

      Pickles, Thomas; University of Chester
      This chapter reflects on the impact of Scandinavian raiding, trading, and settlement on the Christian landscape of Chester and Wirral through a reconsideration of the textual, material, and place-name evidence.
    • Why do some things become more mobile 1000-1700?

      Pickles, Thomas; University of Chester
      This chapter reflects on why there was an increase in the range and volume of things in circulation from 1000-1700, the models that historians have developed to explain this, and the value of a thing-centred approach, thereby drawing together the insights from earlier papers in this edited collection.
    • ‘Coursing the Tinkerley Fox’: Tactics of Garrison Warfare in the West Midlands during 1643 and 1644

      Worton, Jonathan; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2022-02-08)
      A military defeat for the parliamentarians in south Staffordshire in March 1644 involved the capitulation of their outpost at Stourton Castle to Worcestershire royalists. The beaten parliamentary commander was Colonel John Fox, who in autumn 1643 had established a garrison near Birmingham at Edgbaston. This, like Stourton Castle in turn, was one of a number of strongholds in the West Midlands the opposing sides held as a strategy for territorial control. Indeed, much of the fighting of the English Civil War of 1642-6 involved clashes between local garrison-based forces, sometimes fought for the possession of rival strongpoints. In March 1644 Fox enabled the parliamentarian seizure of Stourton Castle for reasons that also impelled inter-garrison warfare elsewhere. The subsequent short campaign to besiege or relieve the castle is reconstructed here, as a case study of the tactics and conduct of the localised military action that shaped the course of the wider war.
    • Mobility of Objects Across Boundaries 1000-1700

      Wilson, Katherine A.; Clark, Leah R.; University of Chester; University of Oxford
      During the period 1000-1700 major transformations took place in material culture. Quite simply, more objects were manufactured and used than ever before and many objects travelled across geographic, political, religious, linguistic, class and cultural boundaries. By starting with a focus on past objects, this volume brings together essays from art historians, historians, archaeologists, literary scholars and museum curators to reveal the different disciplinary approaches and methods taken to the study of objects and what this can reveal about transformations in material culture 1000-1700. Contributors: Katherine A. Wilson, Leah R. Clark, Alison M. Leonard, Steven P. Ashby, Michael Lewis, Robert Maniura, Sarah Hinds, Christina Antenhofer, Alexandra van Dongen, Bettina Bildhauer, Julie De Groot, Jennifer Hillman, Ruth Whelan, Christopher Donaldson, Thomas Pickles.
    • Framing and Translation: Introduction

      Wilson, Katherine A.; Clark, Leah R.; University of Chester; University of Oxford
      During the period 1000-1700 major transformations took place in material culture. Quite simply, more objects were manufactured and used than ever before and many objects travelled across geographic, political, religious, linguistic, class and cultural boundaries. By starting with a focus on past objects, this volume brings together essays from art historians, historians, archaeologists, literary scholars and museum curators to reveal the different disciplinary approaches and methods taken to the study of objects and what this can reveal about transformations in material culture 1000-1700. Contributors: Katherine A. Wilson, Leah R. Clark, Alison M. Leonard, Steven P. Ashby, Michael Lewis, Robert Maniura, Sarah Hinds, Christina Antenhofer, Alexandra van Dongen, Bettina Bildhauer, Julie De Groot, Jennifer Hillman, Ruth Whelan, Christopher Donaldson, Thomas Pickles.
    • Thresholds and Boundaries: Introduction

      Wilson, Katherine A.; Clark, Leah R.; University of Chester; University of Oxford
      During the period 1000-1700 major transformations took place in material culture. Quite simply, more objects were manufactured and used than ever before and many objects travelled across geographic, political, religious, linguistic, class and cultural boundaries. By starting with a focus on past objects, this volume brings together essays from art historians, historians, archaeologists, literary scholars and museum curators to reveal the different disciplinary approaches and methods taken to the study of objects and what this can reveal about transformations in material culture 1000-1700. Contributors: Katherine A. Wilson, Leah R. Clark, Alison M. Leonard, Steven P. Ashby, Michael Lewis, Robert Maniura, Sarah Hinds, Christina Antenhofer, Alexandra van Dongen, Bettina Bildhauer, Julie De Groot, Jennifer Hillman, Ruth Whelan, Christopher Donaldson, Thomas Pickles.
    • Introduction: The Mobility of Objects Across Boundaries 100-1700

      Wilson, Katherine A.; Clark, Leah R.; University of Chester; University of Oxford (Liverpool University Press, 2022-10-01)
      During the period 1000-1700 major transformations took place in material culture. Quite simply, more objects were manufactured and used than ever before and many objects travelled across geographic, political, religious, linguistic, class and cultural boundaries. By starting with a focus on past objects, this volume brings together essays from art historians, historians, archaeologists, literary scholars and museum curators to reveal the different disciplinary approaches and methods taken to the study of objects and what this can reveal about transformations in material culture 1000-1700. Contributors: Katherine A. Wilson, Leah R. Clark, Alison M. Leonard, Steven P. Ashby, Michael Lewis, Robert Maniura, Sarah Hinds, Christina Antenhofer, Alexandra van Dongen, Bettina Bildhauer, Julie De Groot, Jennifer Hillman, Ruth Whelan, Christopher Donaldson, Thomas Pickles.
    • Moving 'out' to be 'in': the suburbanization of London Jewry, 1900-1939

      Ewence, Hannah; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2022-04-19)
      Between 1900 and 1939, Jewish Londoners departed the East End for the suburbs. Relocation, however, was not always the result of individual agency. Many Jews became the object of institutional strategies to coerce and persuade them to disperse away from inner-city areas. Simultaneous to this was the emergence of a dominant pro-suburban rhetoric within and beyond Jewish cultural circles, which aimed to raise aspirations towards middle-class lifestyles. This striking suburban ‘urge’ amongst London Jewry, managed by the community's elite institutions and leaders, was far more than a phenomenon running parallel to wider British society. As this article argues, it was a decisive response to an insidious culture of intolerance and antisemitism.
    • ‘Roots in the soil’: the evolution of a countryside youth service in Westmorland, 1939-c.1950

      Andrew, Rebecca; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2022-03-04)
      This article traces the evolution of the statutory Youth Service in rural Westmorland (now part of Cumbria), from its establishment in 1939 to the early post-war years. It focuses on how the county’s Youth Service innovated and developed new ways of working with young country people in their spare time, and the challenges of introducing urban-focused policy into rural practice. It argues that to be effective in work outside urban areas, the national Youth Service had to adapt to existing patterns of country life and leisure. Tensions between this external organising body and local communities are also considered. The article draws on official Youth Service records, including minute books, correspondence and annual reports, alongside local press accounts and oral history testimony. In doing so, it enhances our understanding of the professionalisation of informal education, and the leisure habits of rural youth, during and immediately after the Second World War.