Skip to comments.Space Age Lasers Reveal Offa's Dyke Missing Link
Posted on 06/01/2007 5:36:07 PM PDT by blam
SPACE AGE LASERS REVEAL OFFA'S DYKE MISSING LINK
BY JANET HUGHES J.HUGHES@BEPP.CO.UK
08:00 - 01 June 2007
It has remained hidden for centuries but space-age technology has stripped away layers of history to discover what excited archaeologists believe could be a missing section of Offa's Dyke.
Aerial laser technology, which allows the experts to see what is hidden below the trees and the undergrowth, has discovered a long strip of earthworks in the Forest of Dean.
And archaeologists believe they may have finally found a missing 250-metre stretch of the Dyke built by King Offa between 757 to 796 AD to keep the English and the Welsh apart. Now they are planning a major study to check out if the findings taken from the air match those on the ground.
"The study has produced some exciting results," said senior project officer John Hoyle, the man charged with interpreting the results from the latest Lidar technology.
"There's a section of earthworks which looks like it could be a missing section of Offa's Dyke. Everybody assumed that particular section had been destroyed by quarrying but this shows it could still be there, hidden under all the brambles and bracken.
"But this isn't an exact mathematical process so now we have to validate the findings by pulling on our boots and trying to find it on the ground."
According to the earliest records by King Alfred's biographer Asser, the dyke built by the former King of Mercia to separate England and Wales, stretched "from sea to sea".
Much of the 80-mile stretch snaking from the Wye Valley to Wrexham is still visible and in places walkers can see the original ditch and rampart which was 27ft wide and eight metres high.
But farming has destroyed some sections in the Welsh Marches and some believe extensive mining and quarrying in the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley is responsible for large gaps at the Gloucestershire end.
The gaps led some historians to question whether Offa did build his dyke sea to sea or stopped short of the Severn estuary, but local archaeologists believe there is enough evidence to prove he did reach Beachley.
The newly found hilltop earthworks at Wyeseal Woods, near St Briavels, fills the main gap on the Tutshill to Redbrook section of the 8th century barrier and is near the site of a disused quarry.
The new section could prove the dyke did go all the way to the Severn and and help back a theory that any differences in construction are because Offa's ancient builders took a few lazy short cuts in the county and filled in the gaps between older, less impressive earthworks, rather than start from scratch.
The mystery earthwork was pinpointed by the 'Lidar' which sends out 33,000 pulses per second to map the ground below the trees and bushes which are later digitally removed from aerial pictures to reveal what lies underneath.
It is the first time the technology has been used on such a large scale and experts from Cambridge University spent hours flying over the Forest in a small plane mapping 280 square metres of forestry.
English Heritage, the Forestry Commission and the local council paid £100,000 for the cost of the survey to help county archaeologists find out more about what lies under the woodlands.
And the missing section of Offa's Dyke is not the only thing local archaeologists are excited about after seeing an initial Lidar report.
It has helped them identify sites of charcoal, iron and coal workings dating back to Roman times .
Fred Nerks can always find pictures...be patient.
BTW, the world's highest concentration of 'O' type blood is behind Offa's Dyke.
I thought he was buried in Yankee Stadium!? and he had a lesbian girlfriend??? who knew???
Now we know what Geraldo (Jerry Rivers) was really looking for.
this wrong on so many levels....
from sea to sea no less. Just WOW!
OK, LOL. I should have known that would make an appearance on this thread.
I always wondered where those little hamburgers came from
and ZOT! there it was.......White Castle! Offa’s dyke must have worked there.
LOL...I can see I got here toooo late!
Hike the Dyke...
I thought they were referring to a “Bull” Dyke!
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Keep the Saxons and the British apart. Arthur was west of the barrier--British.