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REVIEW OF TRUST ACTIVITIES DURING THE YEAR 2003-2004

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 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. A significant area of Trust activity is now the provision of advice to the Tir Gofal Agri-Environment scheme. In all, more than 215 separate projects were undertaken during the year, many still in progress.

Archaeological Research and Investigation

As in previous years, the range of projects undertaken during the year was wide. They 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 Pembrokeshire was completed and work began on updating the database and the preparation of a report. A report on the Carmarthenshire survey was published in the Carmarthenshire Antiquary.

Hanging Stone chambered tomb recorded during the prehistoric funerary and ritual sites assessment in Pembrokeshire

This was also the final year of the long-running Deserted Rural Settlements Assessment with the completion of the condition survey of sites in south Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. Further work was undertaken on the Trust's contribution to the Pan Wales monograph for this project.

The Cadw-funded Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Sites Assessment was completed, with further research carried out on 108 sites in Carmarthenshire and 61 sites in Ceredigion with evidence for early medieval ecclesiastical origins. A number of sites were recommended for scheduling and/or further investigation. The Trust also undertook an assessment and enhancement of the records for lithics finds and scatters within the Historic Environment Record as part of the Cadw-funded assessment of the evidence for Prehistoric Non-Defensive Settlements.

The Cadw-funded Historic Landscape Characterisation project continued. This year the work focused on the Drefach/Velindre and the Lower Teifi Valley landscape areas of Special Historic Interest.

Two smaller emergency recording projects were undertaken with funding from the Cadw contingency budget; the recording of a Bronze Age burnt mound at Pwllauduon, near Tregaron and the recording and sample excavation of a prehistoric timber box or tank and a nearby medieval timber trackway at Llancynfelin, near Talybont.

A publication report was prepared for the survey of the early iron working industry of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, funded by Cadw during 2001/2002.

The Trust undertook projects for a variety of other clients - public and private developers, unitary authorities, government agencies, voluntary organisations and consultants. The majority of these were carried out within the counties of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. Projects included archaeological desk-based assessments and evaluations in advance of determination of planning decisions. There were also excavations, building recording work, and watching briefs that were often a condition of planning consents.

Excavations were undertaken at three of the major castles in southwest Wales. The continuing programme of consolidation and enhancement at Carmarthen Castle included a large-scale excavation on behalf of Carmarthenshire County Council in the area in front of the gatehouse. This area contained the remains of a substantial masonry bridge-causeway crossing the castle ditch. The excavation identified several phases of construction. Smaller excavations were undertaken at Narberth Castle on behalf of Pembrokeshire County Council and at Cardigan Castle on behalf of Ceredigion County Council.

A major excavation was also undertaken at Cwm Meudwy, Llandysul prior to the construction of a new business park by the Welsh Development Agency. Two prehistoric sites were examined. One was a palisaded enclosure along with pits, post-holes, Neolithic pottery and radiocarbon dates ranging from the early Neolithic to the Iron Age. The second site included three ring ditches, thought to be the remains of ploughed out Bronze Age round barrows.

Ken Murphy taking a school party on a tour of the excavations at Cwm Meudwy, Llandysul

Following the completion of the major excavation in advance of the construction of a new Liquified Natural Gas storage facility for Petroplus at Waterston, Milford Haven, work began on the programme of post-excavation analysis and reporting. Bronze Age dates were obtained for charcoal samples recovered from the excavated roundhouse and an early medieval date was associated with two corn drying kilns, pre-dating a circular dovecote.

Several smaller excavations were undertaken in Pembrokeshire in a variety of circumstances. An unusual example was at the Cilwendeg Shell House, an early nineteenth century garden building in the grounds of the Cilwendeg Estate in northeast Pembrokeshire. The combined excavation and building survey was intended to inform a programme of restoration being planned by the Temple Trust.

The excavation at Cilwendeg Shell Grotto

In south Pembrokeshire, further work, including a field evaluation, was undertaken at Brownslade Barrow, Castlemartin for MoD Defence Estates. This Bronze Age barrow, together with a group of inhumation burials, is currently under threat from a large badger sett. Radiocarbon dates from several of the burials indicate an early medieval date. A small excavation on behalf of Anthony Phillips at Hayguard Lane, Haverfordwest, demonstrated the archaeological potential of the site. It is hoped that the surviving medieval deposits can be protected during the construction of six new houses. Finally, a small-scale excavation was undertaken on the north side of St David's Cathedral on behalf of the Dean of St David's.

Several pieces of fieldwork were associated with road schemes. These included the completion of the assessment prior to the dualling of the A40 St Clears to Fishguard road, undertaken on behalf of TACP. Recording work was undertaken on behalf of Carmarthenshire County Council of the road bridge at Pont ar Twrch, Pumsaint prior to and during its demolition. Work also began for Carmarthenshire County Council on an assessment and evaluation prior to the construction of the Burry Port Southern Distributor Road.

A condition survey was undertaken for MoD Defence Estates of all sites on the Castlemartin Firing Range and the results were presented as a database and GIS. An Intertidal Survey around the coast of Pembrokeshire was undertaken on behalf of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park as a prelude to putting in place a monitoring programme of the coastal historic environmental resource, specifically prehistoric coastal peat deposits. Meanwhile, topographic surveys were undertaken for the National Trust of the woodland garden at Colby Lodge, Pembrokeshire, of the Long Adit at Dolaucothi Gold Mines and for the Penllegare Trust of the walled garden on the Penllergare Estate, Swansea.

Other projects outside the region included the long term monitoring, on behalf of Nuttalls Ltd, of the removal of massive spoil heaps and landscaping works associated within the Maesteg Washery Land Reclamation Scheme. In north Wales, an assessment was undertaken in advance of the Bangor City Centre Redevelopment on behalf of the Ottley Partnership. This was followed by building recording prior to the demolition of the police station and magistrates' court. A further assessment was also undertaken for Beech Homes on land adjacent to the Bishop's Palace at Gogarth, Llandudno.

Education and Publication

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. The Trust's Outreach Strategy continues to contribute to the fulfilment of the Trust's basic charitable objective - the education of the public in archaeology - and its role in promoting the historic environment as one of our greatest assets.

Community Heritage

The Trust continues to recognise the 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).

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 the Bynea Community Forum, Gorslas Community Council, Amman Valley and Llandeilo Town Council. Work began on projects for Llandre Community Council, for Balchder Bro at Llangadog and for Symud Ymlaen at Llangeler. Work was completed on the heritage audits for nine communities in northeast Ceredigion on behalf of Pentir Pumlumon and this informed the production of 19 heritage interpretation panels.

The community heritage meeting in Llandeilo

The provision of these interpretation panels is an important aspect of the promotion of the historic environment. In addition to the 19 panels for Pentir Pumlumon, work was completed on panels for Bynea (Bynea Community Forum), Pencader (Pencader Regeneration Group), Slash Pond, Broad Haven (Broad Haven Community Development Trust) and Llandysul (Llandysul Community Council). Work also began on numerous other panels for Carmarthenshire County Council (Cilycwm and Laugharne), for Balchder Bro (Llanddeusant) and for Pembrokeshire Council (Narberth Castle).

Lectures and Talks

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 workshops and seminars. In February 2004, the Trust organised a day-school in Ferryside on behalf of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society providing a roundup of recent archaeological work in Carmarthenshire. Several Trust staff presented papers.

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; the Historic Environment Forum; 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 Carmarthen Bay Coastal Engineering Group; the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum; the Welsh Coastal and Maritime Partnership; the Cardigan Castle Advisory Group; the Balchder Bro Steering Group; the Ymlaen Dyffryn Tywi Steering Group and various national and local history and archaeological societies and groups.

Exhibitions, displays and open days

The high profile excavations undertaken by the Trust during the year were accompanied by open days, press releases and news-sheets, allowing the public to share in the excitement of archaeological discovery. Five news bulletins were produced for the Carmarthen Castle excavation, forming part of a programme of interpretation that also included an information panel, guided tours, media interviews and an open day to coincide with National Archaeology Weekend. A news-sheet on the excavation at Cardigan Castle was also produced and distributed at two open days held on site. An open day held at the end of the excavation at Cwm Meudwy, Llandysul was attended by over 300 local people and followed visits by five local schools and the Llandysul Historical Society. All these excavations attracted extensive media coverage and they featured on the television news, radio and in the press.

The Trust provided exhibitions and displays on the Historic Environment at a number of other public events including a careers fair in Carmarthen organised by Chwarae Teg, a two-day History Fair at Scolton Manor and a Local History Fair at the University of Wales, Lampeter organised by Ceredigion Local History Forum. The Trust and Carmarthen Museum once again joined forces to put on a day of activities and information as part of the CBA's National Archaeology Weekend in July 2003. The activities included an HER display and a mock excavation pit. This proved to be a big 'hit' with visiting children allowing them to get their hands dirty on 'real' archaeology. The Trust also provided support as part of the Time Team's Big Dig.

Reports and Publications

The highlight of the year was the publication as a Britannia Monograph of the report on the excavations on Roman Carmarthen between 1978 and 1993 by Heather James. This substantial report is a tribute to the hard work put in by Heather and her team over the years. The publication was formally launched at the County Hall, Carmarthen in January 2004.

The Trust made several contributions to the most recent volume of the Carmarthenshire Antiquary including interim reports on the survey of Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites in Carmarthenshire, the discovery of a Roman Fort at Dinefwr Park, Llandeilo and the long term archaeological recording at Carmarthen Castle. Two contributions were also made to the review of the Archaeology of the Welsh Uplands published by the RCAHMW.

The second Trust Newsletter, funded as part of the Cadw curatorial grant, was produced in July 2003 and distributed free to libraries and other individuals and institutions around the region.

Education and University Training Support

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. Opportunities continued to be provided for student placements at the Trust's offices. During the year these placements included students from a number of local schools and colleges. Together with the Carmarthenshire Museum Service, the Trust also held a history inset day introducing the support that the museum and the HER can provide to history teachers working in Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

Website

The Trust's website was completely redesigned during the year with the provision of lots more information including the Trusts Annual Review, the Trust newsletter and information on many additional developer and Cadw-funded projects. The quantity and quality of the information relating to the work on historic landscapes is particularly impressive with the characterisation work on the Milford Haven Historic Landscape appearing for the first time with funding support from Cadw. This was accompanied by the preparation of a leaflet advertising the site.

Archaeological Services

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. Including overhead allowances, the Cadw grant for Curatorial Services was 123,438 (2002/2003: 119,620). There was a small increase in the grant provided by the RCAHMW for the regional Historic Environment Record at 27,500 (compared with 27,000 the previous year).

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. Their support amounted to a total of 11,020. 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 Trust held a Planning Archaeology Meeting, allowing an opportunity for planning officers and Trust staff to review work in progress.

Cadw also provided a grant of 42,959 for the Trust's contribution to the historic environment provisions of the all-Wales Tir Gofal Agri-Environment Scheme. A further 55,020 was provided by the Countryside Council for Wales to cover the cost of undertaking farm visits for a selected number of farms.

Regional Historic Environment Record

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 throughout the year.

At the end of the year the total number of individual records stood at 38,364. The number of additional records created during the year was 1,932. 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 by the community heritage audits being undertaken by the Trust.

The Trust continued to be involved in the exchange of core data with the other partners of END (Extended National Database for Wales). Data continues to be exchanged on two levels: ENDEX (data used by partners for management purposes) and CARN (data made available to the public on the internet through the website of the RCAHMW). The Trust contributed to the completion of a national ENDEX Glossary of Site Types to be used by END partners. A commitment has also been made to bring the HER up to the First level benchmarks set out by ALGAO and English Heritage for Historic Environment Records.

The Trust's HER office

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.

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 continued to be focused on HER data provision and the writing of descriptions for sites recorded within the Park.

Issues relating to the Historic Environment Records were very prominent in the Review of the Historic Environment of Wales published by the Welsh Assembly Government. As a consequence, the Trust is working with its partners on the establishment of a Strategic Framework for Records Relating to the Historic Environment of Wales. One of the issues raised by the Review related to the ownership of HERs and their long-term security. This question is also being addressed by the Trust and its partners. The Trust has also been actively engaged in considering options for a new digital computer platform for the HER that will allow on-line access to the record.

Curatorial Services: Planning

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 6,930 planning applications were notified to the Trust (2002/2003: 6,190). Of these 698 needed detailed appraisal, resulting in further action in 228 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 proposal for residential development at Priory Farm, Monkton, a large-scale development in Cardigan, and the demolition of the former Buckleys Brewery in Llanelli. Following an extensive programme of archaeological evaluation for the leisure village for Bluestone in the area of Newton North Church, it was recommended that a condition be attached to any planning consent requiring archaeological mitigation including both preservation in situ and preservation by record of different areas of the surviving archaeological remains.

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 continued to be numerous consultations relating to the Woodland Grant Scheme, with 117 applications considered and 27 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. The Trust also provided management information and advice as part of a pilot scheme to the Forestry Commission for the development of Woodland Management Plans.

The Trust also responded to consultations from the service industries including 20 Utility Schemes. Information was provided on 15 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.

Curatorial Services: Heritage Management

Following on from the Historic Environment Review the Trust provided detailed comments to the Welsh Assembly Government on their consultation Protection of the Historical Assets in Wales.

The Trust has been keen to stress the continuing recognition of the cultural heritage in any integrated coastal management programmes and staff have attended numerous meetings during the year to put forward the interests of the historic environment. The Trust continued to provide input into the management of the MoD South Pembrokeshire Training Estates through the Advisory Group and the Management Implementation Team.

During the Year, the Trust was able to reach agreement with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park over the provision of a much expanded Heritage Management advice service. This will allow the appointment during 2004/2005 of a Park Archaeologist who will be employed by the Trust.

The Trust contributed to consultations on the CroW Act Open Countryside, on Carmarthenshire's Countryside Strategy and to DEFRA on the Compendium of Organic Standards Consultation. During the year consultations were received from the Welsh Assembly Government as part of the Uncultivated Land and Semi-Natural Areas provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.

The Trust continued to provide advice to the St David's Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) on faculties and the Fabric Advisory Committee (FAC) for St David's Cathedral. Meetings were attended to deal specifically with the proposals for the St David's Cathedral Cloister Project.

During the year the Trust started work on a Carmarthen Historic Town Survey with the support of Carmarthenshire County Council. A large part of this work will involve enhancing the HER for the town, and the development of a GIS to allow detailed advice on the management of the historic environment. During the year, an initial report was produced that provides an overview of the historic development and archaeological resource of Carmarthen.

The Trust continued to participate in the Portable Antiquities Scheme, a voluntary scheme for the reporting and recording of archaeological finds.

A Neolithic axe from Trelech, Carmarthenshire recorded as part of the Portable Antiquities scheme

 

Tir Gofal

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 provided information on 323 consultations as part of the historic environment report (HE1) process. In addition, during the course of the year 85 CCW-funded visits were undertaken. Full HE2 farm visit reports were prepared for 54 of these visits. The remaining 31 visits were made in response to a request for historic environment management recommendations on specific issues. Advice to 8 potential applicants was provided at pre-application stage.

The Trust provided support for a training day for CCW project officers in Harlech in order to support them in the provision of information on management issues relating to archaeological sites. Following the CCW review of the historic environment provisions and processes of the Tir Gofal scheme the Trust has assisted with the implementation of new reporting procedures. It is hoped that the results of this review will ensure that the historic environment is better represented in the completed Farm Management Plans. As a result of changes in the format of the farm management agreements, Trust staff have revised the way in which the historic environment reports are prepared. Again, this should ensure better representation for the historic environment in the final agreements.

 

 

 

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