Archaeology Film Outcomes

Pembrokeshire Interpretation


Pembrokeshire Interpretation

Zed Motions was contracted to interpret a number of sites in Pembrokeshire

1. St Patricks Chapel in Whitesands near St Davids

A short film about St Patricks Chapel in Whitesands near St Davids, reveals the story behind archaeological finds during Dyfed Archaeological Trust excavations 2019, 2020, 2021.  After severe storms in 2014 pounded the bay, human remains were uncovered, instigating archaeological excavation before this history was lost to the sea. 

The ensuing digs uncovered a cemetery, foundations of the chapel and an unusual find connecting Pembrokeshire to Ireland. The film includes a CGI reconstruction of St Patrick’s Chapel Whitesands using Dyfed Archaeological Trust’s findings from their dig. The long version of the film can also be found on PCNPA website and a short version of the film can be seen in the café at Whitesands Beach.

‘Discovering Donoec: Findings from a decade of digging at Whitesands’ (English):

'Darganfod Donoec: Darganfyddiadau degawd o gloddio ym Mhorth Mawr’ (Cymraeg):

2. Church of St Gwyndaf in Llanwnda

An Audio Guide using Info Point technology, which delivers content to visitor’s electronic devices (phones or tablets) was created for the Church of St Gwyndaf in Llanwnda; a significant site with a rich history, fascinating features and a wealth of stories to tell.

The church is dedicated to St Gwyndaf, a 6th-century Christian saint who, it is believed, was a native of Brittany and who settled for a time in Pembrokeshire. In addition, a leaflet has been made which is available at the church.

Location below:

3. Fishguard Marine Walk Interpretation Boards

Six interpretation panels were produced in collaboration with Fishguard and Goodwick Town Council. The boards interpret key moments in Fishguard and Goodwick’s history. You can visit the boards by walking the Marine Walk in Fishguard with beautiful views of Fishguard Bay. 

These Marine Walk panels were illustrated and designed by Jason Jones at Yume Creative.  

Click here for more information on the Marine Walk.

Other Interpretations

  1. Two new leaflets for Saints and Stones tours. View website here.

     2.  A mural on the side of Theatr Gwaun in Fishguard

Archaeology Archive Reports

Excavation at St Patrick’s Chapel – 2022


Excavation at St Patrick's Chapel - 2022

Report Summary below

Coastal erosion has been affecting St Patrick’s early medieval cemetery and medieval chapel at Whitesands, St Davids, Pembrokeshire since at least the mid-twentieth century. Storms in January and February 2014 exposed several burials, following which Dyfed Archaeological Trust in partnership with the University of Sheffield carried out five seasons of excavation: 2014–16, 2019 and 2021, funded by Cadw, the Nineveh Trust, the EU- funded Ancient Connections project and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

The earliest elements of the site consisted of an oval stone-built enclosure, 5.5m × 4.5m, with a centrally placed rectangular structure, 1.4m × 1.0m, dating to the mid- eighth century. Several of the stones of the structure were carved — a ring-cross with interlace design, a human figure dressed in a tunic with stick arms raised, and aninscription reading ‘donoec’ (an Irish compound name meaning something like ‘dark youth’ or ‘noble warrior’). Evidence of occupation, mammal, bird and fish bones, cereal grains and other carbonised seeds, and craft production accompanied this early element, including the manufacture of copper alloy artefacts and amber working. Wind-blown sand rapidly covered these early elements.

In the mid- late eighth/ninth century a substantial stone-built cemetery enclosure wall was built over oval enclosure and rectangular structure, and the first burials appeared. The first burials were of young children. Sand continued to accumulate, and as it did so more burials were put in the ground. Over 250 burials were excavated, stacked up to eight deep in the sand, between the mid- late-eighth/ninth century and c. 1100. After the first phase of child burial, both children and adults were buried. The earliest burials were simple dug graves; later in the sequence cist graves appeared.

In the eleventh/twelfth century a layer of rubble was laid down covering the early medieval cemetery and a stone-built chapel constructed. Burials accompanying the chapel consisted of cist graves capped with quartz pebbles or in some examples with limpet shells. All were of children. The chapel was abandoned during the sixteenth century.

Archaeology Archive Reports

Excavation at St Patrick’s Chapel – 2019


Excavation at St Patrick's Chapel - 2019

Report Summary

The 2019 excavation of St Patrick’s Chapel was undertaken as part of the Rediscovering Ancient Connections – The Saints project.  

The inspiration behind this project is the friendship and mentoring relationship between St Aidan and St David. It is a crucial piece of work to research and better understand the ancient connections between the two nations and to use that knowledge to build and widely disseminate a compelling story. This allows us to further increase our knowledge and understanding of churches, cemeteries and settlements during the Age of the Saints.

Archaeology Archive

St Patrick’s Chapel Excavation

Archaeology Project

St Patrick’s Chapel Excavation

The site of St Patrick’s Chapel is a sandy, grassy mound lying between the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and a beach immediately to the north of a car park at Whitesands Bay, St Davids. Surprising little is known about the chapel prior to recent excavations.

In January 2014 the site was damaged when a series of almost continuous storms hit the west coast of Britain. Dyfed Archaeological Trust and the University of Sheffield, with financial support from Cadw and other organisations excavated the most damaged part of the site over a total of eight weeks in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The excavations demonstrated that a cemetery had been founded in the late eighth century AD and continued in use until at least the eleventh century. A stone-built chapel was built on the site in the twelfth/thirteenth century – this was ruinous by the sixteenth century.

Three more seasons of excavation are taking place as part of the Ancient Connections project. The first of these took place over three weeks in 2019, with two more three-weeks seasons planned for 2021. During the 2019 excavation the foundation walls of the western end of the stone-built chapel were recorded, carefully dismantled and the stone safely stored – the foundations will be rebuilt following completion of the excavation in 2021. Dismantling the foundations will allow for the excavation of the graves and archaeological deposits beneath the chapel during 2021. Outside the chapel the 2019 excavation uncovered several burials, several in stone-lined graves, called long cist graves, including some with crosses lightly scratched on the covering slabs indicating the Christian beliefs of the people buried on the site.

Community Involvement

Members of the local community as well as volunteers from further afield are participating in the excavation under the supervision of professional archaeologists. Beyond direct engagement with the participants on the excavation, community outreach is an important element of the project and one member of staff is dedicated to giving guided tours of the excavation to visitors. It is anticipated that 6000 visitors will be shown around the site during each three-week excavation season.

To learn more about our excavations visit us at:

The Dyfed Archaeology Trust welcomes volunteers for the St Patrick’s Chapel digs in 2021. Due to the high level of interest in volunteering on dig sites, details for how to find out more about this opportunity will be advertised here once dates have been confirmed for the digs.

Date: July 2019 – March 2022

Funded by: Funded by The European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales co-operation fund and Cadw

In Partnership with: 
Dyfed Archaeological Trust, The University of Sheffield, the PCNPA

Project Outputs: 
Interim and final project reports. (Click to download)

‘Dig diaries’ of each year’s excavation
Guided tours are provided during each season of excavation
Talks to local and national groups and societies
Short items on TV news and programmes

Learn More at: