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The Royal Archaeological Institute (RAI) is a leading national archaeology society, with a history dating back to 1844. Its interests span all aspects of the archaeological, architectural and landscape history of the British Isles.

Through our annual publication of the Archaeological Journal and our programme of monthly lectures, we have a strong tradition of presenting archaeological research. We also give grants to enable research projects, host conferences and run specialist tours for our members to archaeological sites, historic buildings and landscapes.

Find out more about what Royal Archaeological Institute membership offers and what options are available.
View our comprehensive lecture program, covering a variety of topics between October and May every year.
The Royal Archaeological Institute has research funds available each year - discover more about funds and eligibility criteria.
Learn more about our publications, including the Archaeological Journal, our newsletter and the summer meeting reports.

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13 MARCH LECTURE by Ken Murphy
Wednesday 13th March 2019

'St Patrick’s Chapel, Whitesands, Pembrokeshire: an Early Medieval Cemetery'
St Patrick’s Chapel lies in wind-blown sand at Whitesands Beach in the far west of Pembrokeshire. The severe storms that battered the west coast of Britain in the winter of 2014 damaged the site, revealing burials and other archaeological remains. In May of that year a two-week excavation investigated the most damaged part of the site. This was followed up by a three-week excavation in 2015 and by another three weeks in 2016.
The earliest recognised use of the site dated to AD750-800 and seemed to be domestic and industrial. Wind-blown sand formed over this and with it the first burials appeared. Sand continued to accumulate and as it did so burials were stacked one on top of the other, up to eleven deep. From AD 870-900 long-cist graves first appeared, one with an in situ upright stone cross. The cemetery seems to have gone out of use during the eleventh century or early twelfth century. In the twelfth/thirteenth century a stone built chapel was constructed; this was abandoned by the sixteenth century.

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