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Home » Excavations at Strata Florida reveal medieval structures predating 12th century abbey

Excavations at Strata Florida reveal medieval structures predating 12th century abbey

In the verdant heartlands of Wales, where the Cambrian Mountains cast their shadows, archaeologists have unearthed a trove of historical treasures, offering tantalizing glimpses into the region's storied past. Nestled near the village of Pontrhydfendigaid lies the abbey of Strata Florida – a name evoking visions of a ‘Vale of Flowers' steeped in centuries of spiritual significance.

Recent excavations at Strata Florida have unveiled a fascinating revelation: beneath the hallowed grounds of the 12th-century Cistercian monastery, lies the footprint of an even older establishment, possibly a dating back centuries before the arrival of the .

The journey of discovery began two decades ago, as archaeologists embarked on a quest to unravel the mysteries concealed within the landscape surrounding Strata Florida. Initial explorations focused on landscapes and field structures, laying the groundwork for more detailed investigations in the years to come.

Intriguingly, attention shifted to the courtyard of Mynachlog Fawr Farm, adjacent to the abbey, where the echoes of ancient whispers seemed to resonate beneath the earth. Excavations unearthed a labyrinth of structures and features, including a majestic aqueduct and medieval buildings that once formed part of the abbey's bustling complex.

Amidst the , one stone building stood as a silent sentinel, its age predating the founding of the in 1184. of charcoal samples revealed astonishing revelations – while one sample aligned with the abbey's establishment, two others yielded dates that harkened back centuries before the Cistercian era.

Carys Aldous-Hughes, the director of the local trust, expressed awe at the implications of these findings, envisioning a narrative that stretches far beyond the annals of recorded history. The upcoming excavations in 2024 promise to unveil further secrets, as archaeologists endeavor to trace the origins of the enigmatic pre-Cistercian building and unravel the threads of its ancient past.

Strata Florida, known affectionately as Ystrad Fflur among locals, emerges as a sacred enclave nestled amidst the rugged beauty of Ceredigion. Founded by white-robed Cistercian monks, the abbey ascended to prominence as a beacon of spiritual devotion, rivaled only by the revered St Davids in Welsh ecclesiastical lore.

Recent discoveries have shed new light on the abbey's hydraulic infrastructure, with experts unveiling a sophisticated aqueduct system designed to channel water from the nearby river to the complex through a network of ponds and dams. The meticulous craftsmanship of the stone-lined channel, elevated above the abbey floors by earthen banks, stands as a testament to the ingenuity of medieval .

As the excavations continue and the layers of history are peeled away, the landscape of Strata Florida emerges as a palimpsest of human endeavor – a tapestry woven with threads of devotion, conflict, and resilience. Each discovery breathes new life into the annals of Wales' rich , beckoning us to explore the depths of time and uncover the secrets buried beneath the soil.