After the site visit this morning, I’ve spent the afternoon at my desk at home writing up part of a chapter of my PhD and deciding what I’m going to blog about in my weekly post. I set up http://medievalparksgardensanddesignedlandscapes.wordpress.com/ to be able to write about experience of PhD research, or research which I’d like to incorporate into my PhD, but for one reason or other probably won’t find a home there. So tonight (I usually do this on a Sunday but this week I won’t be able to) I’ll post up my latest thoughts.
The part of my chapter I have been working on concerns north west Shropshire, which has been included in my study area because it shares very similar topography with north east Wales, but has been under ‘different’ ownership and government for hundreds of years. Within this area are three medieval deer parks which are all within a few miles of each other, and which are all almost identical in size at about 0.3 hectares. I’m not sure why this is yet, but I spent the afternoon looking at the available maps and aerial photographs trying to identify any common characteristics and pattern in their layout. It’s the hardest part of my research, but when I get it right it’s very rewarding.
Finally, I was overjoyed to see that the research and excavation project being run by a fellow PhD student had made it onto the BBC Wales news website. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-23458968
Mark Baker has been working on establishing a chronology for the medieval and post medieval house at Brynkir (Longitude 52.969888; Latitude -4.201307). As part of my own research I identified a medieval deer park just to the south east of the house, and realised it related to a motte and bailey castle at Dolbenmaen (Longitude 52.964195; Latitude -4.225157) some 1.5km (0.9 miles) west.
The Park at Brynkir. The elongated oval in the centre of the picture marked in red is the park, and the house is in the trees to the top left of the park boundary.
Subsequently Mark and I agreed that an excavation of the boundary of the deer park would be incorporated in his research excavation this coming August, and my final job of the day has been to ring the BBC journalist in order to arrange to be interviewed on site talking about this discovery.
As I said this morning – the joy of archaeology is you never know what is going to happen next. So, if you are reading about the exploits of archaeologists for the first time or have come to this website to find out more, I hope we’ve all been able to inspire you into finding out more about our discipline.