BBC News story July 19, 2010
The Pillar of Eliseg was moved to the site of a burial mound in the 18th Century
Archaeologists start excavations on a suspected ancient burial site to try to understand the significance of a Llangollen landmark on which it stands.
But the team will have to work carefully because the 9th Century Pillar of Eliseg, a Cadw-protected ancient monument, stands directly on top of the barrow - burial mound - and the archaeologists can't disturb it.
Medieval archaeology Professor Nancy Edwards, from Bangor University, says it is the first time the site has been dug since 1773 when, it is believed, a skeleton was unearthed.
"We are trying to date the barrow in its broader archaeological context," she said, as the site could date back to the Bronze Age.
The history behind the monument and why it was erected on the mound is not yet understood.
The earliest known picture of the pillar, dated 1797,
courtesy Llangollen Museum
courtesy Llangollen Museum
However, separate work has been carried out to try to decipher original and additional faded inscriptions by experts from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW).
It was originally a cross made to commemorate an early medieval leader, Eliseg (or Elisedd).
Today, only the shaft of the cross remains and its inscription, which was already almost illegible when the antiquary Edward Lhuyd tried to transcribe it in 1696, has disappeared.
Some of the 18th Century inscription added to the cross by Trevor Lloyd of Trevor Hall, who then owned the land, has since been discerned by the experts, but that didn't reveal any more about its history.
Joining Prof Edwards on-site for the dig will be colleagues from the University of Chester and with help from Llangollen Museum.
The plan is to open one small trench within the barrow and three others in close proximity within the field which is owned by a private landowner.
Dai Morgan Evans, visiting professor in archaeology at Chester University, is looking forward to the dig.
Valle Crucis Abbey
During the dig, David Crane and Sue Evans from Llangollen Museum plan to give daily updates via the museum's Facebook page, along with members of the dig team.
And the public will be allowed on-site during an open day (31 July), between 11am-3pm.
This is how I connect to Welsh princes:
…Cynan, King of Powys
…Salyf Sarff Cedau
…Brochwel II of Powys
…Cadel II, Prince of Powys, ruled 804-829
…Cadel III, Prince of Powys m. daughter of Howel
…Uriel, son of Elidur, son of Roderick Melwynog King of Gwynedd, (Uriel m. Nest daughter of Cadel III)
Mervyn Verch, Prince of Gwynedd
…Rhodri Mawr ap Mervyn m. Angharad
/Llywarch Ap Elidir
/Dwywg Ap Llywarch
/Gwair Ap Dwywg
/Tegid Ap Gwair
/Alewyn Ap Tegid
/Sandde Ap Alewyn
/Elidir Ap Sandde
/Gwriad "Of Man" Ap Elidir b: 0738 d: 0825
/Mervyn Frych "the Freckl" Ap Gwriad b: 0764
| | /Brochwell II Ap Elisse (Eliseg) Eliseg was gggf of Rhodri
| | /Cadell II Ap Brodwell b: ? 0725 d: ABT 0809
| \Nest Verch Cadell b: 0742
Rhodri Mawr "The Great" Ap Mervyn b: 0789 d: 0878
| /Cadwalladr "The Great" Ap Cadwallon b: 0615
| /Idwal Iwrch Ap Cadwaladr b: ABT 0664
| /Rhodri Molwynog Ap Idwal b: 0690
| | \Agatha de Bretagne b: ABT 0685
| /Cynan Dindaethwy Ap Rhodri b: 0745
\Esyllt Verch Cynan b: 0770
\Matilda of Flint
…Anarawd ap Rhodri
…Idwal Foel ap Anarawd (Idwal the Bald)
…Iago, Prince of Gwynedd
…Cynan ap Iago m. Ragnaillt, the daughter of Olaf of Dublin, son of King Sigtrygg Silkbeard and a member of the Hiberno-Norse dynasty.
…Gruffydd ap Cynan, King of Gwynedd, m. Angharad ferch Owain, was the daughter of
…Owain ab Edwin
…Owain Gwynedd, king of Gwynedd, m. Gwladys (Gladys) ferch Llywarch
…Iorwerth Drwyndwn m. Marared ferch Madog
…Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, the Great, Prince of Wales, 1173-1240, m. Joan, Lady of Wales/Joan Plantagenet, daughter of King John and Isabella of Angouleme
both of Llywelyn's daughters are my ancestors:
1. Elen ferch Llywelyn (c.1207–1253) married Sir Robert de Quincy
2. Gwladus Ddu (c.1206–1251), m. Ralph de Mortimer of Wigmore and had several sons
I descend through both Elen and Gwladus, and possibly other children of Llywelyn. Many of his children married into Marcher families who were my ancestors.
Another link to Eliseg's Pillar: http://www.castlewales.com/eliseg.html
If you enjoy life sketches, anecdotes, and historical details like these, you can find them in the book Effigy Hunter, by Christy K Robinson. It's available in print from CreateSpace, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.