Visit from the BBC for the Haverfordwest excavation

Haverfordwest excavation
photo: The Western Telegraph
A BBC history presenter paid a visit to a Pembrokeshire archaeological dig where human bones were discovered. The Haverfordwest excavations aroused interest.

A BBC history presenter paid a visit to a Pembrokeshire archaeological dig where human bones were discovered. The Haverfordwest excavation aroused interest.

The archaeological site at Haverfordwest’s multi-million pound Western Quayside waterfront redevelopment was visited by Alice Roberts, presenter of BBC’s Digging For Britain.

In March 17 skeletons were found bound in shroud burials, with their arms wrapped across their chest, at the site.

After the church disbanded the community in the 14th century, the bones might be related to a historic friary headquartered in Haverfordwest, but its specific site is unknown.

The Dominican Order friary is thought to have stood at Haverfordwest for roughly three centuries. 

When the order was abolished, the Dominicans, sometimes known as Black Friars, were thrown away with minimal reward for their service. 

The Dominican Order was noted for having a different purpose than other monastic organizations, which was to make religion more accessible to the general public. 

Fran Murphy, the head of DAT Archaeological Services, believes there was considerable debate around the Friary’s closure.

Excavations at Hardwestford. Photo: BBC

“At its height there were apparently eight friars who were part of the friary, before it was dissolved and passed into private hands,” said Fran.

“It was dissolved in the 1530s with one of the friars scrubbing his name from the list of friars at the priory, which is peculiar and might have been a protest to it closing.”

The excavation is being carried out by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust, which said it was fantastic to have a TV celebrity at the site and hinted that the dig might be televised later this year.

“We’ve been busy the last few days welcoming Alice Roberts and the Digging For Britain team to our site in Haverfordwest,” said the trust.

“Keep an eye out for the show later on in the year.”

The redevelopment of the former Ockey White Building began in January 2021 as part of the Pembrokeshire County Council’s rehabilitation program.

Initially it was planned to be 18 months, but the time frame has changed due to excavations and other factors.

The former department store and surrounding area will be purchased by the county council in 2018 and will be converted to the “Western Quayside”, which includes a three-story local dining center with a bar and roof terrace.

Source: The National Wales

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