Gwynedd Archaeological Trust
Regional Historic Environment Record

Cemetery, Arfryn, Bodedern

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 2063
Trust : Gwynedd
Community : Bodedern
Unitary authority : Ynys Mon
NGR : SH34158000
Site Type (preferred type first) : Early Medieval CEMETERY
Status : Scheduled Ancient Monument

Description :
Eglwys Edern. <1>

Ancient Remains (SH337802). <2>

The site of an ancient chapel or religious building (the cell of Edern?) by the road-side just to the south of the village of Bodedern. <3>

No trace of a church or foundations in the area indicated. <4>

Excavation at Arfryn, Bodedern has confirmed the presence of long cists of the 'normal type' (made from undressed slabs, E-W orientation, no grave goods). Associated with the lintel graves is a large cist grave some 1.5m wide with walled sides; across the cist was lying face downward a stone being used as a lintel bearing the name ERCAGNI. This stone is now in Bodedern Church. <5>

The latest period for the initial phase of the burials would be in the 6th century. The walled cist on which the Erchan stone had been re-used as a lintel had been built over a V profile ditch which had been deliberately back filled with stones before the cist was built. The ditch was sectional in three places and appears to run around the hilltop. No entrance causeway to the enclosed area was found. No graves were found cut into the ditchfill, but the presence of graves on both sides of it implies that an existing earthwork was used as a division of the sacred from the profane when the site was adapted for Christian use and that the cemetery, very crowded in the central area, soon expanded across the boundary. The central feature is of more than one phase and at one period may have been a small wooden chapel. <6>

Excavations revealed an Early Christian long cist cemetery. In a secondary context, in use as a lintel on a walled cist, a stone bearing the name ERCAGNI was found. The inscription is of confidently-formed pocked, slightly abased Roman capitals. The burials ranged from simple dug graves to full lintel grooves all in a contemporary context. The earliest phase of burial consisted of scattered N-S aligned graves. The central feature of the cemetery is of more than one phase, one of which may be a small wooden chapel. The cemetery had been begun within an existing ditched enclosure, and extended beyond the ditch in the area excavated. One phase of E-W burial shows a tendency towards radial arrangement. (Hedges & White, 1971)

Cemetery of 114 extended inhumations comprising both long cists and unprotected dug graves revealed following reports of structures destroyed during levelling on the site. There is an enclosure ditch (C14 for fill CAR-1556 1340+-60), elucidation of the precise relationship of which to the grave sequence awaits the publication of the excavation report. A central, grave free, 'focal' area of post settings was identified and may be of prehistoric origin (C14 CAR-1557 3000+-70). A 1.5m wide walled cist was capped by an inscribed stone (Ercagni) lying face downwards. Cists were reported by Lewis Morris c.1732 about half a mile from the church, as was a stone called Llech Edern. The site is reputed to be the traditional site of Eglwys Edern. (Longley & Richards, 2000)

Sources :
Davidson, A., Hopewell, D., Kenney, J. & Longley, D. , 2002 , Early Medieval Burial and Ecclesiastical Sites 2001-2002 ( © GAT)
Hedges, J. D. & White, R. B. , 1971 , Long Cist Cemetery, Bodedern , Archaeology in Wales : Vol. 11 : p. 22
Hedges, J. D. et al , 2006 , A Middle Bronze Age Enclosed Settlement and an Early Medieval Cemetery at Arfryn, Bodedern, Anglesey
Longley, D. & Richards, A. , 2000 , Early Medieval Burial in Gwynedd ( © GAT)
Waddington, K. , 2010 , Early Celtic Societies in North Wales
Waddington, K. , 2013 , The Settlements of Northwest Wales: From the Late Bronze Age to the Early Medieval Period
Ordnance Survey , 1963 , SH38SW , <1>
Ordnance Survey , 1818 , <2>
, 1855 , <3>
Ordnance Survey , 1969 , SH38SW 2 , <4>
White, R. B. , 1970 , Transactions of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society , <5>
White, R. B. , 1971 , Transactions of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society , <6>
Longley, D. , 2002 , The Antiquaries Journal , <13>
Longley, D. , 2009 , The Archaeology of the Early Medieval Celtic Churches , <14>
Davies, W. , 1982 , Wales in the Early Middle Ages , <15>
Petts, D. , 2009 , The Early Medieval Church in Wales , <16>

Events :
42229 : Excavations at Arfryn, Bodedern (year : 1971)
42227 : GAT Geophysical Survey, Project G1680 (year : 2002)
40360 : Early Medieval Burial in Gwynedd (year : 2000)
44557 : Early Celtic Societies in North Wales (year : 2010)
40568 : Early Medieval Burial and Ecclesiastical Sites 2001-2002 (year : 2002)

Related PRNs : 5342, 43589

Compiled date :


The above data are supplied by GAT in partnership with its Local Authorities (Anglesey, Conwy and Gwynedd County Councils, and Snowdonia National Park Authority), © GAT 2018 (and in part © Crown, 2018 - as indicated)
This information is supplied for the purposes of personal interest only and may not be used as part of a commercial project.

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