Archaeological Landscapes of Conflict in Twelfth-Century Gwynedd
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Conflict or battlefield archaeology has been steadily gaining traction within British archaeology since the 1990s. Methods of inquiry unique to conflict archaeology, allied to a growing body of theory, have enabled archaeologists to define and reconstruct events of past conflict, illuminating a distinctive component of the human experience. This thesis applies the theories and methods of conflict archaeology to investigate Anglo-Welsh conflict landscapes of the twelfth century. It aims to explore patterns of Welsh resistance to Anglo-Norman military campaigns through the analysis of documents, landscapes and archaeological sites. Events of armed conflict explored archaeologically using battlefield archaeology methods, present a unique opportunity to undo biases inherent in traditional military history approaches. Unfortunately the amorphous and at times ephemeral nature of medieval conflicts has generally discouraged their archaeological investigation. The study seeks to address this by the application of a holistic conflict archaeology methodology, refined for medieval conflicts. This research specifically focuses on the often overlooked conflicts associated with the reign of Owain ap Gruffudd, (better known as Owain Gwynedd) from 1137–1170, particularly the conflict events connected to King Henry II’s 1157 campaign along the North coast of Gwynedd, and the 1165 campaign in the Berwyn Mountains. A significant part of this is accomplished by successfully utilizing devices of military terrain analysis, spatially represented via GIS (Geographical Information System) technology, to reconstruct archaeological landscapes of conflict. Using these approaches, the thesis presents new understandings of both specific events and the broader conflict landscapes associated with Welsh resistance to the Anglo-Norman conquest.
PhD in Archaeology