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Around 550 early medieval inscribed stones and pieces of stone sculpture are now known from Wales and are of crucial importance to our understanding of the period between the end of Roman Britain and the coming of the Normans.For example, their archaeological context can help us to identify early burial and church sites and reveal much about the development of Christianity and the patronage of major monasteries.Equally, a study of the form, ornament and iconography of the monuments, as well as the inscriptions, their formulae, languages (both Latin and Celtic) and epigraphy (including ogam), can shed valuable light on the functions and dating of the stones and indicate Christian contacts, both between different parts of Wales, and further afield with the Continent, Ireland, Anglo-Saxon England, and the ‘Irish Sea Province’ in the Viking period.All three regional volumes of have now bee published by University of Wales Press. Lewis covers South-East Wales and the English Border (2007).

Over 160 monuments have been recorded in the field, a considerable number of which were not included in V. Fieldwork also allowed new interpretations of monuments.For example, Nash-Williams did not include an inscribed stone with a cross from Llandecwyn, Merioneth, in his catalogue because it was considered too late.The inscription, which is no more than graffiti, is very difficult to read but it appears to name the local saint and the monument might have functioned as a consecration stone.The techniques used to record the monuments have revealed much new evidence.Firstly, considerable use has been made of antiquarian and other early documentary sources in order to chart the discovery of monuments and changing interpretations of them.In some instances the stone itself has since been lost and therefore antiquarian records are all we have.

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