The site of the monastery St Paul in Jarrow is now being reinvestigated by a team of scholars based in Newcastle University’s McCord Centre for Landscape. Recent investigations raise a series of questions that need to be addressed using a digital approach to archaeological and historical research. For instance, ground-penetrating radar has revealed the possible presence of a chamber under the chancel, which would find parallels with the early medieval crypts at Hexham, Ripon, or Repton. It cannot be excluded that the chamber could be accessed or seen from an external opening. Such an opening could have been marked by two vertical lintels that are still externally visible in the east end of the chancel and are partially covered by later buttresses.

A new analysis – based on 3D laser scanning – of the masonry inside the structure that conjoined the two early medieval churches suggests that its chronological phases could be more complex and extended over time than previously expected. This element and the probable presence of a crypt that could have held relics suggest that the site remained active from its foundation throughout the Middle Ages without any solution of continuity, even during and after the Viking and Norman presence.

More research is necessary to understand the full chronology of the monastery of St Paul in Jarrow and the extent to which it was connected with the surrounding landscape and its resources throughout the centuries.

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