Offa’s Dyke

The early medieval earthwork, Offa’s Dyke recently entered the Lonely Planet list of the world’s “Must-See” 2013

Are you a keen walker on the lookout for new trails to wander along? If so, Offa’s Dyke should – at least according to Lonely Planet – top your plans for your next adventure 2013.

The Monument
Offa’s Dyke is a massive linear earthwork consisting of a ditch and a bank. The earthwork – including ditch – is up to 18 meters wide with a bank up to 3.65 metres high on the Welsh side (1.83 metres on the English side). At least it ranged 102 km; maybe it divided Wales from England from sea to sea. As it stands today, it has been heavily eroded in most places. Since large parts of it has virtually disappeared, the exact extension is a contested issue as is also the date as well as function of the construction. Most believe, however, that it dates from the reign of the Mercian king, Offa, from 757 – 796.

A historiographic overview
Anyone, who is interested in the history of the Dyke, may get a recent historiographical overview in an article published by Damian Tyler. In the article he gives an overview of the three main studies of the Dyke – the study by Fox in the middle of the 20th century, the unpublished work by Frank Noble and finally the recent work by the late David Hill and his wife Margaret Worthington, which was carried out as part of the ODP, the Offa’s Dyke project. The ODP was a voluntary organization connected with the University of Manchester. In 2003 they published what is still the best introduction to the history of the Dyke and the extensive archaeological and historical survey of the monument, they carried out.

Read much more about the history of Offa’s Dyke, why it is reasonable to believe that it was in fact Offa, who was behind,  and get a new evaluation on the time it took to construct the dyke, which was at least 102 km long…
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