REVIEW OF TRUST ACTIVITIES DURING THE YEAR APRIL 2002-MARCH 2003
The stated object of the Trust is to advance the education of the public in archaeology. This is achieved by carrying out archaeological excavations, watching briefs and surveys; historic landscape assessments and evaluations; and the survey and recording of historic buildings and other structures. The results of this work are disseminated in a variety of ways - through reports, publications, newsletters, leaflets, the Trust website and panels interpreting local history and archaeology, and through lectures and media presentations. The Trust is currently expanding its work with communities to promote an awareness and understanding of what is of local importance. The Trust continues to operate mainly within the counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, but field activities are now also undertaken elsewhere in Wales.
As one of four Welsh Archaeological Trusts established in the 1970s, the Trust maintains the regional Historic Environment Record for the former county of Dyfed, and continues to advise the three unitary authorities of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire on the protection and conservation of the historic environment. Services are also provided for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, part of the Brecon Beacons National Park, and a variety of other statutory and non-statutory organisations. In all, more than 119 separate projects were undertaken during the year, many still in progress.
As in previous years, the range of projects undertaken during the year was wide. Projects included various threat-related assessments undertaken as part of pan-Wales initiatives funded by Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments.
As part of the Cadw-funded Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites Assessment, the fieldwork for Carmarthenshire was completed and work began on site visits in south Pembrokeshire. In east Carmarthenshire over 600 sites were visited and 100 new sites were added to the Historic Environment Record. Work also continued on the Cadw-funded survey of Deserted Rural Settlements with the completion of the condition survey of sites in Ceredigion and north Pembrokeshire.
The first phase of fieldwork for the Cadw-funded Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Sites Assessment was undertaken, with further research carried out on 154 sites in Pembrokeshire with evidence for early medieval ecclesiastical origins. Field visits were undertaken to 88 of these sites. A number of sites were recommended for scheduling and/or further investigation.
The Cadw-funded Historic Landscape Characterisation project continued with work beginning on the Volume 1 ‘Special’ areas on the register of Landscapes of Historic Interest. This year the work focused on the Newport/Carningli, Pen Caer/Strumble Head and Manorbier landscape areas.
Work on the Cadw-funded assessment of Non-Ferrous Metal Mines was completed with visits to a further nine sites. This assessment will inform work planned by the Environment Agency to control pollution.
The Trust also carried out an Archaeological Resource Audit for southwest Wales with the support of Cadw funding and co-hosted, with Trinity College, a regional research assessment seminar that was held in Carmarthen. The objective of the audit and seminar was to inform the development of an archaeological research framework for Wales.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales
(RCAHMW) provided funding for Aerial Photography that allowed several
flights recording Scheduled Ancient Monuments in Pembrokeshire north Carmarthenshire.
Following an archaeological assessment and evaluation, a major excavation was undertaken in advance of the construction of a new Liquified Natural Gas storage facility for Petroplus at Waterston, Milford Haven. Several sites were investigated including a prehistoric roundhouse and buildings possibly associated with the medieval and post-medieval ‘model’ farmstead of Newton. These included a circular structure, thought to be a dovecot, and a rectangular building, possibly with medieval origins. Also in south Pembrokeshire, a topographic and geophysical survey was undertaken at Brownslade Barrow, Castlemartin for MoD Defence Estates. This Bronze Age barrow, together with a group of associated medieval burials, is currently under threat from a large badger sett. At Capel Bangor near Aberystwyth, a geophysical survey and trial trenching was carried out for Chapman Warren following the development of plans for an industrial park.
Several pieces of fieldwork were associated with road schemes. These included the initial phases of assessment prior to the dualling of the A40 St Clears to Fishguard road, undertaken on behalf of TACP. The archaeological work associated with the A477 Redberth-Sageston Bypass, funded through Ove Arup Ltd, entered its reporting phase and recording work was undertaken on behalf of Carmarthenshire County Council of the road bridge at Pont ar Twrch, Pumsaint prior to its demolition
Further work was undertaken on behalf of TACP at Carmarthen Castle with watching briefs undertaken during works associated with the gatehouse and within the Shell Keep where fragments of medieval masonry were recorded during the excavation of foundations for new timber decking. Two pieces of pre-development archaeological recording were also undertaken in Carmarthen, one at the site of the former Lowndes Garage in Priory Street and the other prior to a proposed development at the late 18th or early 19th century gentry house at Starling Park. Building recording was undertaken at the Gelli Aur Farm Complex on behalf of Pembroke Design Limited prior to the development of the site by Colleg Sir Gar.
Several surveys were undertaken on behalf of the National Trust. An extension to the survey undertaken by the Trust in 1999 was carried out at the Dolaucothi Gold Mines and a smaller survey was undertaken at Stackpole, Pembrokeshire involving the digitisation of early maps, the identification of archaeological sites and the creation of a GIS-based database. A major survey was undertaken on behalf of the National Trust to inform the development of a conservation plan for Dinefwr Park, Llandeilo. This included an extensive topographic survey of approximately 34 hectares in the area of the Deer Park. However, perhaps the most spectacular survey of all was a geophysical survey carried out with the assistance of Stratascan in the western area of the Park. A Roman fort has long been suspected in this area. However, the clarity of the results of the survey was unexpected, with clear evidence for two superimposed Roman forts, approach roads, a vicus and a possible bathhouse. There is significant potential for this site to provide a high-profile future research project linked with a programme of public archaeology.
Research and recording work continued for the Hafod Trust and Forest Enterprise within the historic landscape at Hafod, Cymystwyth including a topographic survey of the Gothic Arcade Walk and an area to the south side of the Afon Ystwyth. A survey was also undertaken for the Brecon Beacons National Park and Welsh Water of the round barrow at Fan Foel, Mynydd Du where exposed stone structures have become extremely vulnerable to visitor damage.
Projects outside the region included a rescue excavation at Hendre Road, Pencoed, Bridgend on behalf of Redrow Homes. This recovered evidence for outbuildings and pottery relating to the historic farm of Cae’r–llysi. In Swansea, the Trust carried out an archaeological condition survey of the disused Yorkshire Imperial Metals site at Landore on behalf of the City and County of Swansea. This site comprises the remains of the Hafod and Morfa copperworks and includes 10 Listed Buildings and structures. Elsewhere in south Wales an assessment of the impact of development on the industrial remains on the site of the former Maesteg Coal Washery was undertaken for Nuttalls Ltd. At the other end of Wales the Trust was involved with the assessment of an area on the southern edge of the Great Orme adjacent to the Gogarth Abbey Hotel, Llandudno. The work was undertaken on behalf of Beech Homes prior to the development of a beachfront plot.
All of the Trust’s archaeological research and investigations contribute directly or indirectly to the raising of awareness about Wales’ historic environment. However, a number of the Trust’s projects and activities are specifically aimed at promoting this awareness and the Trust has now begun to implement an Outreach Strategy. This not only contributes to the fulfilment of the Trust’s basic charitable objectives - the education of the public in archaeology - but also plays an essential role in promoting the historic environment as one of our greatest assets. The need to do more to highlight the value of the historic environment and to promote a greater sense of ownership was a central theme of the Review of the Historic Environment in Wales consultation document that was published by the Welsh Assembly Government during the year.
Foremost amongst the proposals for the outreach strategy was the recognition of a continuing need for the promotion and interpretation of the historic environment at a local community level. As in past years the Trust collaborated with community-based initiatives such as Antur Cwm Taf and Tywi (ACTT) and the Pembrokeshire Local Action Network for Enterprise and Development (PLANED – formerly SPARC). The Trust have been actively involved with the Bro Beca project on the Rebecca Riots being jointly undertaken by PLANED and ACTT.
A fundamental part of the outreach strategy has been to base community heritage audits on the content of the regional Historic Environment Record (HER). Consultation with communities, for example at organised evening events, has allowed the free flow of information between the HER and local communities and has served to highlight those issues that are considered to be of particular value at a local level. During the year successful community evenings and/or heritage audits were undertaken for Brechfa, the Amman Valley and Pontrhydygroes. Support was also provided to communities for proposals for grant aid from the Balchder Bro (Local Distinctiveness) initiative. As part of this scheme a community audit was undertaken for Llanddeusant, Carmarthenshire. In addition evening meetings and information was supplied to Llanelli Foothold, Bynea and Menter Cwm Gwendraeth to support project development. A major outreach project was begun on behalf of Pentir Pumlumon, a community development organisation in northeast Ceredigion, with heritage audits and community evenings undertaken for nine communities; Blaenrheidol, Pontarfynach, Ysbyty Ystwyth, Ystrad Fflur, Ystrad Meurig, Lledrod, Llanilar, Trawsgoed and Melindwr. These activities will inform the production of 19 heritage interpretation panels and a heritage leaflet.
Work also began on the production of an Outreach Database of individuals and organisations with whom the Trust currently have outreach contacts or with whom the Trust needs to develop closer ties and provide information and advice.
An important aspect of the promotion and interpretation of the historic environment is the provision of information panels. Significant work was completed for Carmarthenshire County Council including seven panels for Ynys Dawela, five for Cwmaman and panels for Mynydd y Betws, Cwmifor, Manordeilo and Bwlch y Rhiw Chapel near Rhandirmwyn. A panel was also completed for Pentir Pumlumon at the restored Miners’ Bridge at Pontrhydygroes. Work has begun on numerous other panels for Carmarthenshire County Council and for Pentir Pumlumon.
As in previous years Trust staff continued to give lectures and talks to a wide variety of organisations and papers were presented at a number of conferences. These included a number of contributions to a regional Research Assessment Seminar held in Carmarthen.
In addition, individual members of staff were directly involved in representing the Trust and in contributing to the activities of a large number of external organisations and groups at a national, regional and local level, for example: the Council for British Archaeology:Wales/Cymru; the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO), its Maritime Sub-Committee and its Cymru Committee; the Institute of Field Archaeologists Wales/Cymru; the Welsh Industrial Archaeology Panel; Trinity College, Carmarthen BA Committee; St David’s Diocesean Advisory Committee; St David’s Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee; the Society for Church Archaeology; the South Pembrokeshire Ranges Research and Advisory Group; the Cardigan Local Access Forum; the Carmarthenshire Local Access Forum; the Ceredigion Contaminated Land Working Group; the Carmarthen Bay Coastal Engineering Group; the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum; the SE Carmarthenshire Landscape Strategy Steering Group; the Cardigan Castle Advisory Group; the Balchder Bro Steering Group and various national and local history and archaeological societies and groups.
The Trust provided exhibitions and displays on the Historic Environment at a number of public events including the National Eisteddfod at St David’s where the Trust’s website, and in particular the data on Historic Landscapes, was demonstrated on a computer. The Eisteddfod was also used as an opportunity to launch the leaflets designed to promote the Historic Landscapes website. Presentations and displays were also prepared for the Llandeilo Festival, the Llandeilo Pottery Festival, a careers fair in Carmarthen organised by Chwarae Teg and the Local History Fair at Scolton Manor. The Trust and Carmarthen Museum also joined forces to put on a day of activities and information as part of the CBA’s National Archaeology Weekend. The activities included an ‘HER roadshow’ which gave people a chance to look at what we know about their area and to share what they knew.
Notable publications during the year included the inaugural Trust Newsletter funded as part of the Cadw curatorial grant. Copies were distributed to local groups and societies, schools and libraries.
Publications in academic journals included the final report on the excavations at Great Castle Head in Pembrokeshire that appeared in Archaeologia Cambrensis, a report on the work at Pill Priory in Medieval Archaeology and a contribution to the CBA volume on the Coastal Archaeology of Wales. In addition articles on the Trust’s excavations at St. Peter’s Church, Carmarthen and Bryn Maen Caerau, Cellan appeared in Archaeology in Wales. Two contributions were made by members of Trust staff to the proceedings of the IFA Wales/Cymru conference on Research Agenda for Welsh Archaeology, published by British Archaeological Reports.
As in previous years Ken Murphy (Principal Archaeological Officer, Field Operations) was seconded to direct day-to-day operations on the University of York’s annual training excavation at Castell Henllys, near Newport, Pembrokeshire. This year the excavation involved approximately 60 trainees and once again included students from many different parts of the world.
The Trust continued to contribute to the University of Wales Lampeter’s training survey. The Trust’s involvement once again included the introduction of students to the use of the Historic Environment Record and assistance with training in field survey. A presentation was also made to the University of Wales, Aberystwyth Environmental Impact Assessment MA course.
Opportunities continued to be provided for Student Placements at the Trust’s offices. During the year these placements have included students from the Heritage Tourism MA course at Trinity College, the Heritage Management MA course at Lampeter University and sixth-form students from Tregib and Amman Valley Secondary Schools.
The Trust’s website has been continuously updated and reorganised with the addition of new information on current Cadw-funded and developer-funded projects. A significant addition, with the support of Cadw funding, has been the addition of the full details of the characterisation work on a further three of the Landscapes of Outstanding Historic Interest (St David’s Head, Preseli and Skomer Island). This was accompanied by the preparation of two leaflets for the St David’s and the Preseli areas.
Archaeological Services comprise two elements. First, the maintenance and development of the Trust’s regional Historic Environment Record (HER), part-funded by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW). Secondly, the provision of advice, Curatorial Services, for unitary and other statutory and non-statutory bodies on the protection and conservation of the historic environment. Both these services cover the unitary authority areas of Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, as well as the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and part of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Continuing financial support for the provision of Archaeological Planning Advice (over and above the grant support from Cadw) was provided by four of the Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) in the region. These were the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Pembrokeshire County Council, Carmarthenshire County Council and Ceredigion County Council. The Trust continues to be very grateful to the LPAs for this support and it will ensure that the high level of service provided by the Trust can be maintained.
During the year the Minister for the Environment within the Welsh Assembly Government instigated a Review of the Historic Environment in Wales. The Trust Director was invited to present a paper at a major conference held in Cwmaman that preceded this review and was subsequently invited to participate in a seminar designed to inform the preparation of a consultation document. This document proved to be wide ranging in its scope and will potentially have a significant impact on future policy initiatives from the Welsh Assembly Government towards the Historic Environment. As a consequence, the Trust provided detailed comments.
The Historic Environment Record includes both a paper record and a computer data-base which contains details of archaeological sites and monuments, finds and historic buildings and landscapes. Record staff continued to enter new data, carry out routine maintenance, undertake development work and respond to internal and external inquiries. The process of adding ‘events’ (excavations, surveys, desk-top assessments) to the Record continued.
At the end of the year the total number of individual records stood at 36,432. The number of additional records created during the year was 915. These new records, and the enhancement of existing records, continue to be generated by both the Trust’s own research and investigation projects as well as from external sources. The Tir Gofal agri-environment scheme continues to be a major new source of information. Significant new information is also being added as a consequence of the Trust’s community outreach strategy.
The Trust continued to be involved in the exchange of core data with the other partners of END (Extended National Database for Wales). Data is exchanged on two levels: ENDEX (data used by partners for management purposes) and CARN (data made available to the public on the internet and hosted on the website of the RCAHMW). The Trust continued to contribute to the development of a national ENDEX Glossary of Site Types to be used by END partners.
A Geographical Information System (GIS), using MapInfo software, continues to be the main tool in use by the Heritage Management section, in conjunction with the main HER databases. During the year new fields were added to the HER database to record people, occurrences associated with places and scientific dating.
Support continued to be provided through Cadw’s curatorial grant for the wider provision of information from the HER and the development of outreach activities. Additional support for the HER was provided through a Service Level Agreement with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Work undertaken as part of this arrangement focused on HER data provision and the writing of descriptions for sites recorded within the Park.
Together with the other Welsh Archaeological Trusts an HER Joint Statement outlining future aspirations for the Welsh HERs was prepared. Amongst the issues highlighted was the need to expand the outreach role of the HERs and to address issues of underfunding if the HERs are to grow into fully developed Historic Environment Records. This strategic statement was particularly timely in the light of the Review of the Historic Environment of Wales being undertaken by the Welsh Assembly Government.
This area of the Trust’s work relates mainly to development-control tasks, though some consultations affecting archaeological sites arise outside the planning system. During the year 6,190 planning applications were notified to the Trust (2001/2002: 4,692). Of these 534 needed detailed appraisal, resulting in further action in 189 cases, including recommendations for assessments, evaluations, excavations or recording work in advance of development, or for watching briefs during development.
In response to requests, the Trust’s Development Control Officer continued to prepare briefs, agree specifications and carry out monitoring visits. As a result of this advice adequate archaeological control is now being exercised in the vast majority of cases. Significant casework included the archaeological implications of a new Liquified Natural Gas storage facility for Petroplus at Waterston, Pembrokeshire and the proposed development of a large leisure village for Bluestone in the area of Newton North Church, Pembrokeshire and its associated medieval remains. A Planning Archaeology Meeting was held for the first time, allowing an opportunity for planning officers and Trust staff to review work in progress.
Information and advice on heritage management issues continued to be provided outside the local planning framework in respect of forestry, treatment of metal-mine sites, coastal sites and agricultural operations. There was a significant increase in the number of consultations relating to the Woodland Grant Scheme with 164 applications considered and 32 that required further comment and some further action. The Trust continued to provide detailed information and management advice to Forest Enterprise for forestry works and Forest Management Plans. A condition survey accompanied by management recommendations was undertaken of sites within the Brechfa Forest area.
The Trust continues to respond to consultations from the service industries including 22 Utility Schemes. Unfortunately, there has been no improvement regarding direct consultation with the contractors for Welsh Water. Information was provided on 41 Hedgerow Removal Notifications for Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. As in previous years, at Cadw’s request, the Trust continued to comment on Scheduled Monument Consent Applications.
Further consultations and requests for advice were provided for strategic planning documents and management plans including the provision of detailed comments on policy statements within the draft Joint Unitary Development Plan for Pembrokeshire and on the Carmarthenshire County Council Unitary Development Plan. The Trust was closely involved with the development of an integrated management plan within the MoD South Pembrokeshire Training Estates and provided information and comments on behalf of the Ceredigion County Council Draft Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy.
The Trust also continued to input into the Carmarthen Bay Coastal Engineering Group and comments were provided on a number of coastal protection issues including a Shoreline Management Plan for South Beach, Tenby. Advice was provided to CCW regarding the historic environment aspects of the proposals to make Cardigan Bay and Carmarthen Bay candidate Special Areas of Conservation Interest. The Trust also continued to input into history and archaeology aspects of the CCW-funded LANDMAP project for both Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
The Trust has provided advice and responded to consultations on other countryside schemes and initiatives, including the Local Access Forums set up by Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion County Councils in response to the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000 (CroW), and the Pembrokeshire Traditional Farm Buildings Study Group, designed to assist farmers to retain and use traditional farm buildings. Advice was also provided to the Welsh Assembly Government to inform the Uncultivated Land and Semi-Natural Areas Provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. Selective data from the HER has been incorporated into the GIS used by the Agricultural Division of the Welsh Assembly Government (WENDI) and this may be used to inform a number of schemes and initiatives including Farming Connect. A clear protocol needs to be established that will determine how the information is to be used and to ensure that an appropriate dataset is kept up-to-date.
The Trust continued to provide advice to the St. David’s Diocesean Advisory Committee (DAC) on Faculties and the Fabric Advisory Committee (FAC) for St. David’s Cathedral. The Trust also provided support for the Cardigan Castle Advisory Group as the campaign for the purchase and protection of the site by Ceredigion County Council took shape.
Through its HER Manager the Trust continued to participate in the Portable Antiquities Scheme, a voluntary scheme for the reporting and recording of archaeological finds. The scheme continues to be actively promoted to local metal detecting clubs and history groups.
The Trust continues to be responsible for the historic environment provisions of the Tir Gofal Agri-Environment Scheme in the region. During the year, and with the assistance of Cadw funding, the Trust completed work on the provision of historic environment reports (HE1s) for Year 3 of the scheme. A total of 467 Year 3 HE1 reports have now been prepared. In addition, during the course of the year 67 CCW-funded visits (HE2s) were undertaken and advice to 11 potential applicants was provided at pre-application stage. The Trust also organised a training day for newly recruited CCW project officers to provide information on management issues relating to archaeological sites. Detailed information was provided by the Trust to a CCW review of the historic environment provisions and processes of the Tir Gofal scheme. This review allowed the opportunity to raise the concern that the historic environment is poorly represented in the completed Farm Management Plans. The outcome of the review is awaited with interest.
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