The archaeological dig at St Patricks Chapel, Whitesands, St Davids is now on Day 24. The Dyfed Archaeological Trust team and volunteers have been working incredibly hard to excavate the site and piece together the stories of the people who are buried here. Who were they and where did they come from?
Over one hundred skeletons have been uncovered, many of them are infants. In addition, a horn pin with copper alloy corrosion and part of a shale bracelet were excavated as well as a clay furnace, which was discovered beside the chapel wall, and may have been used for melting metal. The team have also found a possible gaming board with a checked pattern on the top right hand corner, which was placed on top of a cist grave.
Radiocarbon dating has shown that the cemetery was in use from the 6th century to the 11th century A.D. Analysis of the skeletons at the University of Sheffield has revealed a mixed population of men, women and children of all ages. Graves are aligned east/west with the head to the west. In keeping with the Christian burial tradition there were no possessions buried with the bodies. Some of the skeletons were in cists – graves lined and capped with stone slabs, a burial tradition common across western Britain in the early medieval period. A unique burial rite was also identified: burials of children with white quartz pebbles placed on the top of the cists.
The dig continues until 16th July, visitors are welcome and free tours are conducted every day.