I’m giving a free public talk at Caerau hillfort on the Open Day (Saturday July 4th) – come and hear more about uncovering the mystery of Medieval Caerau! I will be talking about the Book of Llandaf and my detective work. Lots of activities will be going on too, and hopefully I’ll be setting up a medieval writing stand so folks can have a go at writing with quill and ink for themselves! The dig has begun, so go follow me @MedievalMJJ and the CAER Heritage Project @CAERHeritage on Twitter, and check out the hashtag #DiggingCaerau for all the latest tweets from the site!


In an age of digital media and unprecedented access to technology, most of us are accustomed to seeing forgeries. Models with impossibly clear skin, music adapted by software, even whole websites imitating another in all but the smallest detail. Art and academia have also had their hoaxes–the famous Piltdown man, a composite skeleton masquerading as an unknown human species, is only one well-known example.

Llandaf Cover

Forgery, however, was also present in the Middle Ages, as demonstrated by a remarkable manuscript called the Book of Llandaf (or Llyfr Llandaf in Welsh). Composed some time between 1120-1129, it purports to present documents related to the foundation of the Bishopric of Llandaf going all the way back to the 6th century. The purpose of such a compilation was to convince the Pope to rule in favour of Llandaf’s claims to land and privileges which it had lost both to other churches and to it’s…

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