Eagerly awaited this year is Pembrokeshire County History.
Covering the period from the beginning of occupation in prehistoric times up to early medieval Pembrokeshire, this book is essentially the work of archaeologists, based largely on documentary research and their reports from excavations at numerous local sites.
More than forty years ago the Pembrokeshire Local History Society decided to publish a four volume work on the history of the county. A trust was set up under the chairmanship of Dr. Elwyn Davies and funding made available from the Welsh Church Fund.
Volume III, (Early Modern Pembrokeshire 1536-1815, edited by Brian Howells) was the first to appear, in 1987. Subsequent volumes were also edited by eminent historians: Volume IV, (Modern Pembrokeshire 1815-1974, edited by David Howell, 1993) and Volume II, (Medieval Pembrokeshire, edited by R. F.Walker, 2002).
Early chapters of Volume I take us through the nature of life and the evidence of hunter-gatherers in Palaeolithic and Mesolithic, Pembrokeshire. The Neolithic and Bronze Age past is discussed at some length. Later prehistoric settlement and what we know of the Iron Age in the county is considered in detail. Evidence of Roman Pembrokeshire, which up to recently has been considered relatively sparse, begins to come to life now, especially with the reports of the Wiston excavations. The final chapter details the character of early medieval Pembrokeshire, its culture, trade and society, the influence of the Irish together with the impact of the Christian church on the Celtic community.
We may have waited a while for this volume but it is worth considering how the contributors have benefited from major scientific advances over recent years. No doubt Fenton, Laws, Grimes, Owen etc. would have much appreciated the assistance of radiocarbon dating, isotopic analysis, even aerial photography, as they tramped with their hammers around the fields and hills of Pembrokeshire.