Margin of error in radiocarbon dating
Recent work has demolished this view The northern end of Wats Dyke is generally believed to start at Basingwerk, on the Flintshire coast of the Dee Estuary; the placename suggests that there was once a fortification of some kind here, although no trace now survives.The First Edition Ordnance Survey maps clearly mark its course, though, while Thomas Pennant was able to describe it in 1773.All manuscripts of Bede have the incorrect initial Uc-, so the corruption of the name must go back to a very early copy of the Historia, if not to Bede himself.Nevertheless, the Old English town name may be analysed as meaning Roman city of the Watlingas, the Watlingas being the people of little Wat., as part of an enumeration of famous rulers of European peoples; the Hlsinga are listed between the Swfe of Swabia and the Myrgingas, living between the Eider and the Elbe, but appear to be the people of Hlsingland in eastern Sweden.He is found in other Germanic tales, not as a human but as a sea giant.concluded that Wats Dyke consisted of three separate stretches of earthwork, with gaps between them.In these places, he surmised, formerly dense forest or deep ravines made a formal barrier unnecessary.
The Indian crisis averted, Gado had hoped to return to his homeland, but his magic boat brought him instead to England, where he visited the Roman army in the hope of preventing the Emperor from attacking Offa.
There is certainly a strong hint that it was already known as such by the late twelfth century (see below).
Long standing confusion over the separate identity of Offas and Wats Dykes is shown by a number of placenames along the line of Wats Dyke, including Bryn Offa (Wrexham) and Clawdd Offa (Sychdyn, Flintshire).
Once again, it is tempting to go beyond the evidence and suggest that the Watlingas were the people who lived around Wats Dyke and that the road gained its name because it led into their territory from the Anglo-Saxon heartlands of the South East.
This could mean either that the Dyke was so called because it lay in or on the border of their territory or that they took their name from a Dyke that already existed by the early eighth century.
Nor does it appear likely that it derives from the name of a member of the Mercian royal dynasty, which contains no individuals with a name containing the element Wad-.