The Plague of Terms: The ‘Anglo-Saxons’


DSCN1840 The wonderful replica of the helmet from Mound 1, Sutton Hoo, on display at the National Trust Visitor Centre at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk. The iconic image of the ‚ÄėAnglo-Saxons‚Äô in popular literature and images.

As an archaeologist of the mid- to late first millennium AD, I have to be familiar with lots of jargon.

Archaeologists of this period ‚Äď the Early Middle Ages ‚Äď have inherited and still use a wide range of problematic and often anachronistic chronological,¬†geographical, cultural, religious, linguistic and (let‚Äôs be honest) racial terms (including ‚Äėthe Middle Ages‚Äô!).

Let’s be clear. Using these terms is inherently problematic…BUT…. To use these labels need not express adherence to their original, and often derogatory, inflammatory or political uses. A critical understanding of these terms, how they are applied and how we explain them is essential for academic and public archaeology and their lazy use and misuse can lead to all manner of…

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Exciting Times Ahead! Wednesday 11 February 2015

Looking to the future, a¬†date to add to your diary. ¬†As part of our programme of talks, Howard Green a freelance speaker, is going to do a presentation on ‘Early Toolmakers – Flint Knappers from early beginnings through to the Bronze Age’ on April 29 2015. ¬†His talk will cover stone tool making from the early beginnings in North East Africa through to the Bronze Age. ¬†This will include visits to various sites, home and abroad, looking for the people who made the tools, how the tools changed over time and what they were used for.

Flint arrowhead.ed

There will be a good number of slides to illustrate the story which will be informative, light-hearted and fun.  He will bring along some original artefacts and replicas he has made so that you can enjoy a more complete experience.

Here in the museum we have a magnificent replica of Eliseg’s Pillar. ¬†The original Pillar, an inscribed stone, is believed to date to the ninth century and was erected by Cyngen, Prince of Powys, in memory of his great-grandfather, Eliseg. ¬†For anyone who wants to know about early inscribed stones in Wales the museum highly recommends Nancy Edwards’ work on ‘Early Medieval Inscribed Stones and Stone Sculptures in Wales’.

elisegs pillar 1

Follow the link¬†for details of Nancy Edwards’ latest work ¬†

We are considering setting up an Archaeological Group at Llangollen Museum.  Anyone interested in getting involved, please email Gillian Smith at or contact us by phone on 01978 862862.

The Quilfest Exhibition has been a great success.  If you have yet to see this then it runs until Wednesday 4 March

We would like to thank Fiona Gale, the County Archaeologist for Denbighshire, for her continued support of the museum.

Museum Fiona

Changes to the gallery – Wednesday 4th February

The ‘Quiltfest‘ exhibition has now arrived at the museum. ¬†The exhibition of hangings are by the Quilters’ Guild members of Region 13 and the Contemporary Quilt Group.

Quilt gallery ed 1

The theme for the challenge this year is ‘Dislocation’. ¬†Members were asked to make a quilt 50cm by 120cm, either portrait or landscape. ¬†To enter, members had to submit a photo of the whole quilt and a 20cm square sample to represent the designs and techniques of the quilt.

Quilts 2

There were 79 entries, all of a high standard and showing a variety of interpretations of the theme.  Tracey Pereira and Jan Hale had the difficult task of selecting the quilts which are on display.  So high was the standard, all the quilts not selected are also displayed on the walls here, and in Llangollen Pavilion, for you to see.

Why not come along and judge for yourself?  The exhibition runs until Friday 13th February.

If you are inspired by the display and would like to ‘have a go’ at quilting there are booking forms available for the Quilfest Workshop which will run on Saturday 11th February, the fee for this will be ¬£30.

A reminder to all you artists out there, you have until the 28th February to enter our Llangollen Museum Art Competition.  Details and entry forms are available from reception in the museum.






Changes in the museum – 2015

It has been a busy couple of weeks for the volunteers at the museum during our annual closure.  Thanks to all those who gave of their time  to help with the work on the archives and displays.

Llangollen girlsLlangollen boys ed


The items we had on display from the ‘Sharing the Treasures’ exhibition, on loan from the National Museum of Wales, have ¬†been returned.¬†The display continues with 3D printed copies of the National Museum artefacts along with items from our own¬†Llangollen Museum collection.

We now have a Chain Bridge display with a hands on activity box for children. So, why not bring your children along to have fun while learning more about the local area.

Llangollen Chain bridge gameLlangollen Chain Bridge children



Don’t forget, you can follow Rhodri’s Investigation Agency on our museum Blog and in the Llangollen News.

March will see the official launch of a display showcasing the history of the Fron Choir.

Quiltfest at the Museum runs from Wednesday 4th February until Wednesday 4th March. ¬†This will feature an exhibition of hangings by the Quilters’ Guild members of Region 13 and Contemporary Guilt Group.

Watch this space for information about the relaunch of the ‘Friends of the Museum’ scheme. Our membership card will offer discounts in a number of local businesses and to our program of talks. ¬†The next talk will be about the Artic Expedition and the Franklin Expedition, this will be presented¬†by Dave Crane on March 25th.




Weekly Blog – Wednesday 17th December. Grand Art Competition

LLangollen Ladies.ed

Calling all budding artists out there Рwhy not enter our Grand Art Competition?  All you have to do is produce a piece of art work to illustrate an event, person or place from the history of the local Llangollen area.

The competition is open to all age groups under the following categories: Up to 4 years, 5 Р10 years, 11 Р16 years and Adults.

Entry is free for children, adults £1 per entry. A4 is the maximum mounted size of the art work for children. Adult entries can be any size and framed.

There will be prizes awarded by the judges for the best work in each age group.

During the month of March 2015, we hope to be able to display all the children’s entries and the top twenty from the other groups.

All entries are to be handed in to the museum by 28th February 2015.

Further details and entry forms are available from the museum.

Castell Dinas Bran

Weekly Blog 3rd December 2014

What’s gone on!

David Crane gave a very successful presentation on Wednesday 26th November which was enthusiastically received and promoted very interesting discussion on the Abbey and Pillar.

The comments in our Visitors Book from adults and children are very positive and we have had visitors from as far afield as Australia and Latvia, as well as from¬†all over Britain. Examples of the comments left are: ‘Best historical museum I have visited’, ‘A great place to learn’,’Wonderful exhibitions/tremendous asset’. If you have yet to visit the museum, why not come along and see for yourself.

On Saturday 29th November, as part of the Christmas Festival¬†in Llangollen, face painting for children was held in the children’s section of the museum. ¬†Janet and Keith¬†ran a stall outside the museum which raised ¬£60 – thanks to everyone out there who supported us.

The museum entered the Llangollen Christmas Festival Window Dressing Competition which was sponsored by the Llangollen News. We were highly commended for our display which this year was based on ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ by Dylan Thomas – thanks to the volunteers who helped with this.

LLangollen museum certifiate ed

Dates for your diary: The museum will be closed from Christmas Day and reopening on Saturday 3rd January 2015

Weekly Blog

It has been a really busy couple of weeks here in the museum. ¬†Three schools have visited the museum, two primary and one secondary, to hear about the history of Valle Crucis Abbey, Eliseg’s Pillar and the surrounding area presented by David Crane.

Llangollen Museum visit Abbey year 8

Daves and the children

The children enjoyed looking at, and handling the artefacts as well as trying on the various costumes.

Llangollen  Museum school visit artefact and worksheet Llangollen  Museum school visit helmets

Llangollen school monk Llangollen  Museum school visit 18 nov 14  monk and sword Llangollen  Museum school visit 18 nov 14  knight with weapon Llangollen  Museum school visit 18 nov 14  banquet dress

Peter Alexander came along in Tudor period costume to discuss life during the medieval period through first personal interpretation, and using replicas to illustrate details of medieval life.

Llangollen  Museum school visit 18 girls in mail Llangollen Peter