Religious sites explored in Christian conference


Staff reporter (Chester First)

SOME of the region’s most important sites of early Christian archaeology will be explored during an event sponsored by the University of Chester.

Archaeologists and historians will tour a range of sites – from Chester’s famous Walls to the majestic Pillar of Eliseg in North Wales, during the Society of Church Archaeology’s annual conference.

Taking place on September 6 and 7 at Chester Cathedral’s Chapter House, The Archaeology of Early Christianity: Cheshire and the Pillar of Eliseg Conference will showcase new research from across the county.

Presentations will include:

o Transactions on the Dee: the ‘exceptional’ collection of early sculpture at St John’s, Chester, by David Stocker and Paul Everson.

o The cults of early English saints in the north-west Marches presented by Alan Thacker.

o Early Archaeology and Christianity in Chester, by Simon Ward.

o The Memorials of Chester Cathedral, by Ruth Nugent (University of Chester).

o The Pillar of Eliseg and the Archaeology of Early Christianity in North-East Wales, by Professor Howard Williams, University of Chester.

Prof Williams, who is one of the lead members of Project Eliseg, will head up a visit to the great stone cross near Llangollen, raised on an earlier Bronze Age burial mound by King Concenn of Powys to honour his great-grandfather Elise.

The monument was of enduring importance to the local ritual landscape, giving its name to Valle Crucis Abbey, a Cistercian monastery founded adjacent in 1201 whose substantial ruins will also be visited during the Conference.

Prof Williams said: “This event brings together the leading experts in church archaeology to interpret the Christianity and society in medieval Chester and its region.

“The Conference is the fourth time in three years that national and international conferences have taken place in the city supported and part-designed by archaeologists in the Department of History and Archaeology.

“The event is also exciting for providing a showcase for Ruth Nugent’s ongoing doctoral research, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, investigating death and memory in English cathedrals.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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