Offa's Dyke



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Offa's great earthwork has historical significance beyond the immediate context of it being a construction to mark the boundary of the ancient kingdom of Mercia. The Dyke exemplifies processes of increasingly political centralisation across Anglo-Saxon Britain and contemporary Europe which were eventually to lead to the emergence of the geographical and cultural domains - such as England and Wales - we live with today. It could indeed be that the Dyke itself directly influenced such developments, particularly with respect to the genesis of a politically coherent Welsh identity in the early medieval period. Though short lived as an active Mercian/Anglo-Saxon frontier, its continuing existence as an evident dividing line in the landscape may still have been a powerful ideological statement of the apparent separation of all to the west from 'English' Britain, so helping to create a common sense of unity among Welsh peoples which had not previously existed.


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