Finding Traces of the Princes of Gwynedd


Open Days have been organised in the Welsh village of Abergwyngregyn to show findings made during digging into the medieval history of the Princes of Gwynedd. The work is the result of a partnership between the local community’s Aber Heritage Valley Partnership, Snowdonia National Park Authority and Gwynedd Archaeological Trust with financial support from Cadw. Its intention is to open up the history of the area to a wider audience thorough interpretation and archaeological investigations.

This excavation in Abergwyngregyn began at the end of September and will be completed in November. A test dig on the same site in 1993, revealed the foundations of a medieval hall. Finds including pottery and a brooch, dated the hall to the thirteenth and fourteenth century. The finds and the location of the hall, next to the motte (castle mound) in the centre of the village, suggested that the site was once owned by the Princes of Gwynedd. Different evidence including tradition, archaeology and historical documents link the Princes with a number of places in and around Abergwyngregyn including the mansion Pen y Bryn on the hill overlooking the village and this site near the motte. The current work adds another piece to the jigsaw,

Leading the project is John Griffith Roberts, the National Park’s Archaeologist who said, “This project provides an opportunity for people to learn more about Aber’s iconic past and to explore its rich ancient landscape for themselves. We have opened a large portion of field near the motte and the foundations of a medieval hall together with new discoveries, show us that the site is complex and more extensive than originally thought. We will have to rebury the site at the end of the excavation and hope that people take the chance to see it beforehand at our Open Days.”

The financial support from Cadw has also enabled pupils to visit the site and learn more about the work of archaeologists, medieval Abergwyngregyn and the Princes of Gwynedd. Welsh Assembly Government’s Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, said, “I’m delighted that Cadw has been able to support this project through the Welsh Cultural Heritage Initiative. Abergwyngregyn was one of ten sites in Wales chosen for the £2 million initiative. The iconic sites selected are key in telling the story of Wales and are strongly linked with our nationhood, language and culture and we hope to make these sites more accessible to the Welsh public. The open days are an excellent way of engaging with the local community and telling the story of what has been found so far.”

Anita Daimond, Education Archaeologist for Gwynedd Archaeological Trust said, “It has been a wonderful opportunity for local schoolchildren to see archaeologists at work and learn about the important role that archaeology plays in telling us about the past.”

The Open Days will be held on Wednesday October 17th and Saturday October 30th between 10am and 4pm, with children’s activities from 10 – 12pm each day. The event is free and archaeologists will be available to provide further information about the work on site. A car park and bus stop are approximately 2 minutes walk from the site.

Source: Snowdonia National Park Authority

Sharan Newman