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Crugiau Cemmaes Dig Diary 2012
Dyddiadur Cloddio Crugiau Cemmaes 2012

Day 1

As ever, the “inclement” weather delayed the start of the dig by two days and the merry band of volunteers were put on standby. However, the weather soon cleared up and four trenches were machine cut, each placed strategically over key elements of the site. The excavations this year a located in the western field; the “banjo” enclosure in the east will have to wait for another time!

As though making up for lost time, the sun was shining brilliantly today but the wind chill was still enough to justify wearing three layers underneath the waterproofs! Standing at the top of the hill just beneath the barrow ridge, it's not difficult to imagine why our prehistoric ancestors chose this location as a place of memorial and settlement. The vista is fantastic with a commanding view if the Preselis to the south, the sea to the north, Strumble Head and Newport to the west and the start of lowland Ceredigion to the east .

With the trenches ready cut, the task today was to clean up the sections and begin the first (of many) cleaning back of the trench surfaces, carefully pealing back the top layers of the archaeology.

Trench 1 (confusingly the furthest trench in the field) is located across the interior ditch and bank of the northern double-ditched enclosure. Trench 2 is located just east of Trench 1, just beneath the barrow ridge and is located over another ditch and bank with some interesting looking “features” just inside from the ditch. We would quite like these “features” to be hut platforms, but we shall see! Only a short climb back up to the hill's summit and south of Trench 2 lies Trench 3. This is located over another ditch and bank feature; a smaller enclosure located closer to the summit of the ridge. According to the geophysical report, this enclosure lies within the larger southern enclosure although we do not know what the temporal relationship is between these enclosures. Could it be that Trench 3 is located on an earlier part of the site? Our aim is to gain a better understanding of the archaeology of the site and we are hoping to find some good dating evidence to facilitate this! Hopefully, there will be a convenient layer of charcoal at the bottom of every ditch! What's the betting?

Finally, Trench 4 is located furthest south on the site but in line still, with the barrows. Trench 4 is supposed to be located on the entrance of the enclosure and again, there are some “interesting” features at its eastern end.

After a day of troweling away, Trench 4 is the first to yield some information with the revelation of two sets of plough marks and more excitingly, four worked flint pieces! Unfortunately, these were found still within the ploughed zone of the trench and so are not in their in-situ archaeological context. The flints themselves are fairly crude in manufacture and are probably Bronze Age in origin but they are still exciting finds. Flint does not occur naturally in this part of Britain and so any occurrences of flint are anthropogenic in origin; they were brought by humans.


The plough marks have also turned up in the other trenches. There appear to be two distinct sets; narrow, diagonally running marks following the gradient of the hill slope and then a very distinct, thick set of parallel marks running N-S across the slope. Our initial thoughts are that the diagonal set represent much earlier ploughing, possibly Medieval in age? The distinct, railway track like thicker marks are modern plough marks. Not quite the Iron Age archaeology we were after but significant nevertheless as they are just later phases of the site's story.

Dydd 1
28ain Medi 2012

Agorwyd 4 cloddiad gan Pete Crane a Hubert Wilson ddoe, yn barod i'r Gwirfoddelwyr dechrau ymchwilio heddiw. Mae'r cloddiadau i gyd wedi'i lleoli yn y cae i'rgorllewin ô 'r crugiau, â rhifwyd 1-4 o'r gogledd i'r de. Maent yn canolbwyntio ar 4 ffôs â chysylltwyd gyda'r llociau, â welom ni yn canlynidau'r geoffiseg. Dechreuodd y fore'n gobeithiol iawn gyda 4 darn o fflint o'r un man yn cloddiad 4. Edrychon yn fwy fanwl at beth oedd y tu fewn î 'n cloddiadau, ac mae'n disgwyl fel fydd ochrau'r ffôsydd yn anodd i'w gweld, ond fod yna newidiadau yn lliwiau'r dyddodion. Mae'n rhaid fod rhywbeth yma!

Day 2

Yet another sunny day but the wind was certainly keeping things fresh! Our merry band of volunteers has grown in number but our average age range has just dropped a generation or two with the arrival of brothers Max and Ryan, aged 9 and 7 years old respectively! Keen diggers and hard workers, the boys were placed in Trench 1 to supervise their parents .

Meanwhile in Trench 4, the plough marks were carefully planned by Jo whilst her trenchmates continued to trowel away at the western end of the trench. As a volunteer dig, we see this as a training opportunity for volunteers to learn the skills and processes of archaeological investigation. It is our intention to teach our volunteers about all aspects of the dig and the recording methodology. Today we introduced context forms to record the initial archaeological data and Hubert began his masterclasses in the art and science of measure drawings! Doesn't Jo look pleased?!


Trench 2 has also been yielding some small pieces of flint and it looks as though the top of the ditch has been revealed at the southern end of the trench .

Dydd 2
29ain Medi 2012

Ar ol glanhau lan y cloddiadau i gyd allwn weld yn glir yn cloddiad 2 fod genym ochrau'r ffôs ac fod yna clawdd yng gyswyllt gydag ef ar yr ochor mewnol. Paratown fellu i darganfod dyfnder y ffôs ô yfori ymlaen. Mae ochr gogleiddiol y clawdd yn disgwyl fel ei fod wedi'i cryfhau gyda dyddodyn o cerrig, ond cyn allwn darganfod sut â'i adeiladwyd, bydd rhaid palu mas y dyddodion allwn weld uwchben (sef i'r gogledd). Mae'n bosib fod gennym ffôs bach arall fan hyn ond dim ond trwy cloddio allwn fod yn sicr.

Day 3

Rained stopped play again today and worked packed in after lunch. Or rather, so I was told as today was my day off to celebrate my birthday at home with silly amounts of birthday cake!

Looking at the photos, the rain has really brought out the plough marks very nicely though!

Dydd 3
30ain Medi 2012

Tu fewn i cloddiadau 1,3 â 4 rydym yn gallu gweld marciau aredig sy'n cyswllt â 2 wahanol system aredig. Wrth edrych a'r topograffeg y cae, mae'n amlwg fod un system aredig yn tueddi rhedeg lan a lawr tile'r bryn a'r system arall yn mynd ynghroes y tile. Mae'n bosib fod hyn yn dweud wrthym rywbeth am pryd wnaeth y marciau aredig cael eu gafael ar y tir, gan fod systemau aredig sy'n rhedeg lan a lawr y tile yn nodweddiadol â 'r canoloesoedd neu'r ô l-canoloesoedd gynnar, a'r system arall yn cynrychioli gwaith aredig mwy fodern. Mae'r tywydd gwlyb wedi bod yn dipyn ô rhwystr ac felly ddewisom ni i ganolbwyntio ar arlunio ‘r cloddidau yn lle bod y glaw yn strwa'n gwaith cloddio i gyd, ond roedd y glaw yn bendith i rhai, sef y creuadurion a cwypodd mewn ir cloddiadau !

Day 4

Day 4 and the ditches are really starting to become visible in all of the trenches, although Trench 1 remains to be ambiguous.

Fuelled by salvaged amounts of birthday cake, our merry band took to the heavier tools to continue the interrogation of Trench 2.

We were also inspected by the IFA today. No, not the Institute of Financial Advisors , but the Institute for Archaeologists! The offering of free cake on site was purely coincidental.

Dydd 4
1af Hydref 2012

Wrth i'r bore wawrio, cliriodd y cymylau, ac felly'r glaw, a ddewisom ni i dechrau palu mas llanw'r ffôs â welwn yn cloddiad 2, â hefyd darganfod mwy am beth sy'n digwydd i gogledd y clawdd. Mae'n disgwyl fel bod y clawdd wedi cael ei torri lawr gan gwaith aredig hanesyddol ond gobeithiwn fod digon ar ôl i ni gweld. Pen blwydd Menna oedd hi ar Dydd Sul, felly wnaeth pawb dathlu gyda darn o cacen gyda cinio. Pen Blwydd Hapus Menna!

Day 5

Following a 24 hour intermission, the rain returned once again today! I'm not sure if we're toughing up a bit or if today's rain wasn't relentless enough, but we ploughed on nevertheless!


We have begun half sectioning the ditches in all the trenches now except Trench 1 because we're not entirely sure where it is in Trench 1! The usual dark, tell-tale deposit and layer in the section of the trench which has in the other trenches revealed the ditch fill, seems to have disappeared in Trench 1. I'm beginning to wonder if it's not just a buried occupation soil horizon... Still, the plough marks in the eastern end of the trench as looking quite nice and are worthy of another photo, set up and taken by Margaret and Jo.


Half-sectioning the ditches is the easiest and quickest way to excavate the ditch fill in order to see the ditch cut and profile so that we can have a better understanding. Progress on the ditch in Trench 2 is well on its way!

There was more masterclasses in context recording today as well as an introduction to recording elevations using a dumpy level for our now youngest member of the team Theodore. How many archaeologists does it take to record a level? Four and a half apparently!

Our dig Director Pete was off today and so our Head of DAT Archaeological Services Jim stepped in as the dig Director.

Dydd 5
2ail Hydref 2012

Ar ol pedwar diwrnod o glanhau nid ydym yn gallu gweld unrhyw sôn am yr un ffos yn cloddiad 1, ond mae'n disgwyl bod y doddydion wedi'i cymysgu llawer gan gweithgareddau planhigion a anifeiliad, felly mae gobaith o hyd fydd yr ochrau yn fwy amlwg yn y lefelau îs. Darganfodo'n ni nodwedd bosib wrth yr ochr yn cloddiad 3; yn sgwar mewn siap, gyda 3 hanner-cylch o siarcol yn amlwg tu fewn iddo. Disgwylwn ymlaen i weld beth ydy e yn y diwrnodau nesaf.

Day 6

Today's weather started off well with lots of bright sunshine but it soon was replaced by the return of the rain! Before the rain set in Rob A was able to begin to plan the archaeology in Trench 2 whilst trenchmate Rob W continued to excavate the ditch at the southern end of the trench and Brian continued investigations at the northern end of the trench.

Meanwhile, the archaeology is progressing in the other trenches except Trench 1 which remains to be ambiguous.

Today we had our youngest helper onsite; 5 year old Bec brought his Dad Howard along to dig. Equipped with his own trowel, bucket and spade, Bec helped his Dad trowel back in Trench 1 and also managed to find a small piece of flint which was sitting in one of the plough marks.

Afterwards, Bec drew us a brilliant drawing of his time in the trench and I have been given permission to post this online for you all to you see! Please note the Hi-Vis jacket wearing and bucket carrying person at the bottom right of the picture. I'd say that was a fairly accurate portrait of the author!

Thanks Bec!

Dydd 6
3ydd Hydref 2012

Wrth archwilio yn cloddiad 2 i darganfod beth sydd yn digwydd i gogledd y clawdd, mae'n debyg fod sawl dodydd wedi casglu tu ol iddo dros amser, ac nid ydym yn siwr os oes ffôs i'r gogledd neu beidio. I ceisio ymateb hyn, y syniad iw i torri ffos archwilio ar draws y clawdd, â'r dodyddion i'r gogledd, a felly gallwn weld sut meant yn perthyn i'w gilydd.

Day 7

Day 7 and after a great deal of hard work and soil shifting, Trench 1 is finally beginning to make more sense! I believe we have a ditch! (photo 9990) .

It was a tremendous effort today in Trench 1 and despite the hard work everyone remained in good spirits! I must say at this point that our merry band has been very hard working and enthusiastic throughout! All the trenches are looking great and the arduous paper recording work is being done also! I think each day we are becoming more resistant to the now fairly miserable weather but our spirits are not dampening! The tea-break and lunch time conversations however, seems firmly weighed down with toilet humour.

Meanwhile, Director Pete and merry band member Rob A have discovered that they have actually met previously on another archaeological dig; back in 1971!

We also received our first school visit today! Year 5 from Ysgol Bro Ingli visited along with PCNPA Ranger Richard Vaughan. The children were fantastic! Ed and I split the group and took them on a tour of the site; Ed leading in Welsh and myself in English.

There is only a limited amount of enthusiasm and excitement that a ditch can inspire, even less so for children as I'd imagined. I was quite concerned that the children might find our sand pits rather underwhelming. How wrong could I be?! Children have the best imaginations, ask the brightest of questions and approach things with an inert enthusiastic energy!

For a dig lacking any obvious or monumental archaeology, we were keen to emphasise to the children that for sites like these where we don't have much artefactual data we must use the sediments as artefacts. We must learn how to read the soil. We encouraged the children to get stuck into the spoil heaps, to feel the changes of texture, to see the colour changes and to read the patterns and layers in the trenches. By the end of the site visit they could all “read” the trenches and one particular sharp eyed pupil even identified a flint in one of the contexts!

Diolch yn fawr Ysgol Bro Ingli! Unfortunately as Ed and I were busy leading the tours, we both forgot to take pictures of the visit but hopefully we shall be able to upload some of the school's photos soon!

Dydd 7
4ydd Hydref 2012

Bore ‘ma, fe wnaeth Ysgol Bro Ingli ymweld a'r safle, a chafodd y plant cyfle i gweld sut y mae gwaith archaeoloegol yn digwydd. Darganfododd y gwirfoddelwyr fod llanw'r ffos yn cloddiad 2 yn dyfnach nag oedd yn bosib palu mas o'r toriad a dechreuo'n; felly fu rhaid i ni ehangu'r gwaith cyn i ni cael cario ymlaen yn diogel. Ac yn cloddiad 1, wnaeth y merched palu'n dyfnach i ceisio darganfod os oes ffos neu beidio.

Day 8

Today has been a very busy and productive day!

We received our second school visit from Year 5 pupils at Ysgol Maenclochog and they were also fantastic children! I could go on and enthuse about how good they were but I should only be repeating myself. So I shall just say that we were also very impressed with them and to apologise for forgetting to take pictures again!

Meanwhile elsewhere; guess what's turned up in the ditch fill of Trench 4? Only a charcoal deposit! It's not at the bottom of the ditch but it is far enough down to justify taking a sample. It would be nice if every ditch yielded such a layer!

As like the other trenches, Trench 1 has started to be recorded on plan and levels were taken. This turned into only a brief lesson for our super proficient volunteers and Margaret, Jane, Hazel and Sue were able to record it in no time at all.


The ditch in trench 2 is beginning to surprise us. What was first thought to be a broad, shallow ditch to keep animals out (like a “ha-ha”), the ditch is proving to have quite steep sides and it's still going down. A narrow slot has been excavated into the original half-section digging spit to investigate how deep this ditch may go. It's still going!

Dydd 8
5ed Hydref 2012

Heddiw fe ymwelodd Ysgol Maenclochog â'r cloddiadau ble cefon nhw'r cyfle i weld a dal y pethau rydym wedi darganfod. Wnaeth y gwirfoddelwyr arlunio a lefelu cloddiad 1, ac yn cloddiad 4 darganfodon ni dodyddiad yn llawn siarcol, rydym yn gobeithio wrth samplo'r dodydd yma, allwn darganfod rhywbeth am yr amgylchedd pryd disgynnodd e i gwaelod y ffos, ac os bosib cael dyddiad.

Day 9

As the trenches are getting quite deep now, or rather the fill of the ditches are getting deep, it was necessary to put some “‘elf and safety” measures in place for fear of collapse of the sand sections. Across the trenches we cut “sondage” slots into the ditch fills. A “sondage” is a trial trench, a narrow slot with which to investigate further. Putting the sondages across the ditch fill meant that we have “stepped-in” our sections and have created safety margins either side of the area of deeper excavation.

There hasn't been much to report on the progress of today, other than Rob A has started a section drawing to record the profiles of Trench 1. It's not easy trying to discern such ephemeral contexts in sand, particularly if it's been so damaged by animal and plant activity.


Dydd 9
6ed Hydref 2012

Paratown i llunio'r trawslun am cloddiad 1, ac wrth i dwfnder y cloddiadau cynyddu, fu rhaid i ni newid pob gwaith cloddiad i gynnwys ochrau wedi stepio i cadw pawb yn ddiogel.

Day 10

The bottom of the ditch in trench 2 has been reached and a very nice bottom it is too! Huzzah! For a field boundary it is a fairly steep, deep ditch and looks more defensive perhaps? I'm not sure if I can call it a “ha-ha” anymore!

Regardless, attention has now been altered to focus on the “features” appearing in the north end of the trench. This includes a small assemblage of upright stones. What are these? Answers on the back of a postcard please!

Dydd 10
7fed Hydref 2012

Darganfodo'n gwaelod y ffos yn cloddiad 2 ac nid ydym yn bell bant yn cloddiad 1, ond mae'n disgwyl fel bydd y ffosydd yn dyfnach eto yn cloddiadau 3 a 4.

Day 11

It's the penultimate day of the dig and we've got three out of four ditches bottomed! All expect Trench 4! Not that today's weather has been very helpful! Wind and rain which is almost impossible to work against when you're trying to clean out a bottom of a ditch, lying on your belly and working up hill!

Still the ditch in Trench 1 turned out to be quite shallow in the end! However, I did find a nice artefact from it; at the very bottom of the primary fill I found a flint nodule amongst the other stones!

Meanwhile, Pete has been excavating the ditch in Trench 3 and its huge! It's very deep! It's about 2m in depth!

Otherwise, we've all been finishing off the recording for each trench and it looks like we'll have everything finished by the end of tomorrow which is very good timing indeed!

Dydd 11
8fed Hydref 2012

Mae'n debyg fod gennym 1-2 tyllau pyst a sawl bosib twll-stanc, i'w weld yn cloddiad 2, i gogledd y clawdd. Mae rhyw fath o cysylltiad rhyngddynt â cerrig yn sefyll ar eu pen ond nid oes digon o le tu fewn i'r cloddiadau i darganfod os oes fwy na hyn. Mae'n disgwyl fel bod llawer o olion tu fewn i'r lloc yma, efallai'n gynnwys tystiolaeth ynglyn a bwrpas y lloc. Rhywbeth i darganfod tro nesaf efallai?


Day 12

Last day of the dig! I'm very sad and already feeling nostalgic!

All the recording was finished for the trenches although we didn't reach the bottom of the ditch in Trench 4. It looks set to be the same sort of size as the beast in Trench 3!

We've also managed to take some charcoal samples from all of the ditch fills so it will be very interesting to see what dates they return with. Hopefully, from then we can build up a better picture of the formation history of the site and have a better understanding.

So we packed up the tent and all the tools and that was it! Hometime!

It's been an excellent time during the dig and out merry band of volunteers have been absolutely fantastic! Thank you ever so much to everyone involved!

Hopefully we can return again next year! Watch this space!


Dydd 12
9fed Hydref 2012

Diwrnod olaf y gwaith, ac mae pawb o hyd yn troi lan i cadw ati, er i'r gwaith symyd ymlaen ô cloddio, at cofnodi. Mae'n debyg fod pawb wedi mwynhau'r gwaith, ac mae pawb wedi cael dylanwad dda.









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