Project Eliseg is a collaborative archaeological research project investigating one of Britain’s most enigmatic early medieval monuments: The Pillar of Eliseg, near Llangollen, in north-east Wales.
The Pillar of Eliseg is part of a round cross-shaft set within its original base. The cross-head is also now missing. Almost invisible to today’s visitor, the Pillar once bore a long Latin inscription saying that the cross was raised by Concenn, ruler of the kingdom of Powys, who died in AD 854, in memory of his great-grandfather, Eliseg.
The Pillar stands on a mound of unknown date and function. It is a striking landmark sited in the narrow valley of the Nant Eglwyseg, a tributary of the river Dee. It is located 400m north-north-west of the ruins of the Cistercian monastery of Valle Crucis founded in 1201, to which it gives its name (‘Valley of the Cross’).
By the late seventeenth century the Pillar was no longer standing, but the damaged inscription was recorded by the famous Welsh antiquary Edward Lhuyd (AD 1660–1709). The mound was dug into in 1773 by the local land-owner Thomas Lloyd and is reported to have contained a stone cist with a skeleton. He also re-erected the Pillar. However, the site has never been subject to modern archaeological investigation.