Dinas Powys Revisited

Dinas Powys Revisited is a long-term collaborative research project co-directed by Dr Andy Seaman and Dr Alan Lane (School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University).

Dinas Powys (Vale of Glamorgan) is the richest, best preserved and most fully excavated post-Roman (5th-7th century) settlement in Wales. The small but highly defended promontory fort was extensively excavated in the 1950s by the late Leslie Alcock who recovered a substantial assemblage of material culture including metalworking debris, large quantities of animal bone, fine metalwork, worked bone/antler, iron tools, and an important assemblage of pottery and glass vessels imported from Gaul and the eastern Mediterranean. The subsequent publication, Dinas Powys: An Iron Age, Dark Age and Early Medieval Settlement in Glamorgan - became a seminal work and Dinas Powys is often quoted as the classic type site of the ‘Celtic’ west. Whilst the site remains unmatched in Wales and offers unique insights into the socio-political and economic conditions of early medieval western Britain, there have been considerable developments in the fifty-plus years since Dinas Powys was excavated, any many of Alcock’s interpretations can now be questioned. The ‘Dinas Powys Revisited’ project aims to revisit Alcock’s findings so that we can refine the context and chronology of the construction, occupation and abandonment of this internationally significant site.


Research themes

  • Re-evaluation of the Alcock excavation archive (held by the National Museum Cardiff), including a programme of radiocarbon dating
  • Survey and excavation on the ‘Southern Banks’ adjacent to the promontory fort
  • 3D laser scanning of the both the promontory fort and southern banks
  • GIS-enabled analysis of the landscape context of Dinas Powys
  • Palaeoenvironmental analysis of the Dinas Powys site environs


Seaman, A. and Sucharyna Thomas, L. Forthcoming:  ‘Hillforts and Power in the Post-Imperial West: A GIS-Enabled analysis of Dinas Powys.’

Seaman, A.and Lane, A. Forthcoming (2019): ‘Excavation of the Ty’n-y-Coed earthworks 2011–14: the Dinas Powys ‘Southern Banks’’, Archaeologia Cambrensis, 168.

Seaman, A. 2016, ‘Defended Settlement in Early Medieval Wales: Problems of Presence, Absence and Interpretation’, in Christie, N. and Herold, H. (eds.) Fortified Settlements in Early Medieval Europe: Defended Communities of the 8th-10th Centuries (Oxford: Oxbow), 37-50.

Seaman, A. 2013, 'Dinas Powys in Context: Settlement and Society in Post-Roman Wales', Studia Celtica 47, 1-23.

Seaman, A. and Lane, A. 2013, ’Dinas Powys Revisited: A Preliminary Note on Recent Research at Dinas Powys Promontory and Tyn y Coed Earthworks’, Archaeology in Wales 52, 140-1.

Funders: Cambrian Archaeological Association, Medieval Settlement Research Group, Society for Medieval Archaeology, and the Glamorgan County History Trust


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Last edited: 11/02/2019 14:52:00