St Patrick’s Chapel Dig Diary 2019

The 2019 excavation follows on from the 2014-16 investigations.

See the project page for St Patrick’s Chapel for more information.


Day 1

Through rainy weather we set up and removed the turf.



Day 2

Excavating sand and revealing the medieval chapel walls.




Day 3

Continuing to remove the sand deposits, and revealing the walls of the Medieval Chapel.


Day 4


Cleaning the Chapel walls ready for recording, and extending the trench to the south.




Day 5

Rob revealing the first cist grave of this season’s excavation.




Day 6

Digging down inside the Chapel to the floor level. And Bethan taking off the layer of quartz stone from the grave.



Day 7

Photo of the inside of the first excavated cist, no traces of skeletal remains present. Volunteers removing stones from the south of the chapel.



Day 8

Photo of the blocked up doorway on the western end of the chapel, and then the stones from the doorway removed.



Alan measuring and recording the southern wall of the chapel.



Image of the surviving floor level of inside the chapel, and with the top of a grave visible below it.


Day 9

A small cist grave had a badly laminated upright grave marker at its east end, which fell apart as we worked. The south side of the chapel now reveals the top of the medieval archaeology levels under the sand.




Day 10

The medieval archaeology level is better defined. The tops of two graves can be seen in this area.




Day 11

Excavating a grave (top of the cist just visible) with an upright stone marker at its west end. We had lovely weather, and lots of visitors.



Day 12

Marion excavating a cist grave. Hubert and Joan recording the chapel walls.




Day 13

Image showing the top of a small cist grave. Bethan and Joan pictured with the tops of cist graves, which were both inscribed with a cross on the inside. A marker showing a cist grave, and the volunteers hard at work in the background.





Day 14

The top of a grave, shown by a sharp difference in the sand – the clearest ‘grave cut’ we have seen this season. In another grave (the one with a stone marker that we were excavating on days 11 and 12) we found a skeleton. Note the quartz stones at its head, technically referred to as ‘ear muffs’.



Day 15

Dismantling the north wall of the chapel. The first wet day – a quick snapshot as the rain starts to sweep in.



Day 16

The cist grave of an infant, one of several to the north of the chapel. The chapel walls have been reduced to foundation level.



Day 17

A north-south aligned burial, with the right leg partially removed by a later burial. In the afternoon a service was conducted at the site by Canon Ian Cohen and the Mayor of St Davids, Mike Chant.



Day 18

Backfilling of the site done by David Murphy.


Day 19

Four members of the team standing on the backfilled site, showing how close the site is to the sea! Thank you to all our volunteers and to all the visitors who came to see the site!


Heneb - The Trust for Welsh Archaeology