By Nancy Edwards, Alan Lane and Mark Redknap
Paper given at the RENEWING THE RESEARCH FRAMEWORK FOR THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF WALES (2010)
Introduction: The early middle ages (c. AD 400–1070), which span the centuries between the end of Roman rule and the coming of the Normans, is perceived as iconic in the formation of Wales, its language and identity. And yet this period remains one of the most difficult to understand. Although the body of archaeological evidence is steadily growing, we are still unable to answer many fundamental questions about people’s lives, what shaped them and how they changed during this quite lengthy period. Developments in our understanding of the archaeology should be seen as a vibrant part of a wider interactive multidisciplinary approach which also incorporates research on the history, language, literature and natural environment of the period.
A framework for archaeological research on the early medieval period in Wales was published in 2005 as part of the establishment of Cadw’s archaeological Research Framework for Wales and the content and recommendations put forward in that article remain more-or-less unaltered. The primary aims of this paper are firstly to highlight recent archaeological research on early medieval Wales demonstrating how it ties in with the established Research Framework and secondly to put forward some amendments to the research questions set out in 2005.