Formation of the Anglo-Welsh Borderlands

Principal investigator: Pauline Clarke
Level: Masters degree

Student Name: Pauline Clarke, 1514346

Proposed Title: Formation of the Anglo-Welsh Borderlands in the early Middle Ages: Portable Antiquities in the Landscape

Aims & Objectives


  • To understand the formation of the Anglo-Welsh border during the early medieval period by comparison to characteristics of other early medieval frontier zones


  • Establishment of the state of the Borderlands at the time of the Roman withdrawal
  • Use the PAS database to catalogue the material culture of the Anglo-Welsh borderlands over a broad geographical and chronological scale, from Lichfield, west (exact geographical area will be clarified as research progresses)
  • Comparison of this information with the areas bordering the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of Wessex and Northumbria
  • Identification of patterns or indications of kingship/ruler powers apparent from the material culture
    • Note - the exact period to be examined will be determined as the literature review progresses
  • Use of this information to draw conclusions about such factors as, but not limited to:
    • The fluidity of the Border
    • The management of the Border
    • The operation of Kingship in the Borderlands

Brief outline of context of the study (max 500 words excluding references)

The Anglo-Welsh border as it existed at the time of the Anglo-Saxon period is still not fully understood. The ongoing debate as to the purpose of Offa's Dyke and Wat's Dyke highlights this - were they defensive, and if so who was being protected (Williams, forthcoming)? Or were they a very porous border with free flow of people and trade around and through them, bestowing on the Marches an identity of its own (Brady, 2017, 84) To date no examination of the material culture from the entire length and breadth of the Anglo-Welsh borderland has been undertaken. As these items often display strong regional identities, it is feasible to infer changes in the occupation/use/kingship of these area from the development of this culture. From this an examination of the importance of the borderlands over a period following the withdrawal of the Romans to the end of the early medieval period (circa AD 1100) can be inferred. Although this examination will initially be based on the PAS database, to this may be added other particular cases, such as hoard deposits.

Referee: Heather Beaton (FLO Liverpool)

Audit data

  • Created: 11 months ago
  • Created by: Sam Moorhead
  • Updated: 11 months ago
  • Updated by: Sam Moorhead

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