April 29, 2021

Darganfod-Discovery 2021: Dr Andy Seaman

Dr Andy Seaman of Canterbury Christ Church University on ‘Hillforts and power in post-Roman Wales: a GIS-enabled analysis of Dinas Powys’. (CAA Research Fund project)

Dinas Powys is the richest, best preserved and most extensively excavated post-Roman hillfort in Wales and an important type-site of the post-Roman Celtic West. The small but highly defended settlement is interpreted as a residence of a local ruler, and is thought to have sat within a small ‘proto-kingdom’ encompassing the eastern Vale of Glamorgan and the Cardiff basin. Nevertheless, whilst it is possible to reconstruct something of the site’s political background, less is known about its landscape context, the significance of its location, and its role within systems of governance and territorial control. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide opportunities for exploring these themes, but are constrained by limitations of source data and the difficulty of defining appropriate parameters for analysis. This talk presents research supported by the CAA that explored a methodology for overcoming these problems, by combining the data processing and analytical functions afforded by GIS with techniques and principles drawn from ‘traditional’ landscape archaeology. This research provides new insights on the location of Dinas Powys, and suggests that its positioning within the landscape supported elite power by facilitating control of important overland routeways.

Further reading:

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

Seaman, A .and Thomas, L. S. 2020. Hillforts and Power in the British Post-Roman West: A GIS Analysis of Dinas Powys. European Journal of Archaeology 23 (4) 2020, 547–566