Offa's Dyke Dates to the Dark Age
Society of Antuquities reports in Salon:
Doubts cast on Offa’s Dyke, Richard III and the Holy Grail
Offa’s Dyke may not have been built by the eighth-century ruler of Mercia after all, according to our Fellow Paul Belford, Director of the Clwyd—Powys Archaeological Trust, who announced last week the ‘tremendously exciting discovery’ that parts were constructed between AD 430 and 652 (Offa ruled from AD 757 to 796). The Clwyd—Powys Archaeological Trust carried out excavations on a stretch of the dyke along the Shropshire border near the town of Chirk. The dated material came from a layer of re-deposited turf underneath the bank, laid down as part of the construction process.
Before we rush to rename the dyke, Paul Belford made it clear that, even if parts of the dyke system were in place before Offa’s time, ‘it is likely that he would have consolidated the existing network into what we now call Offa’s Dyke’. Paul added: ‘It is now clear that it was not the work of a single ruler but a longer-term project that began at an earlier stage in the development of the kingdom. Further work is needed on other parts of this enigmatic monument before we can really say who built it and why.’