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Crugiau Cemmaes Dig Diary 2013

In 2012, the ditches of large enclosures identified by geophysics lying to the west of two Bronze Age round barrows were examined. This year, two trenches are being excavated over a smaller, oval enclosure to the east of the barrows.

Day 1 - 25 September 2013

Opening the trenches

The two earthworks in the background are scheduled Bronze Age round barrows. We are opening 2 trenches this year in the area of the large oval enclosure identified by the geophysical survey carried out in 2009.

Day 2 - 26 September 2013

First day on site for the volunteers. Our task today is to start cleaning both trenches after machining.

From left to right Rob (Volunteer), Pete (Pembrokeshire National Park Archaeologist), Hubert (Dyfed Archaeological Trust) and Gaynor (Volunteer) in Trench 6.

Rob holds part of a decorated spindle whorl that he found in Trench 6 (photo below). Three other spindle whorls were discovered, as well as a loom weight and flint tools.

Day 3 - 27 September 2013

At last the cleaning is finished in Trench 5 and what a wonderful job Rob, Jude, Olwyn and Erin have done.

Day 4 - 28 September 2013

We all move into Trench 6 today. Trench 6 has been located in the area of the enclosure entrance. The enclosure ditch on one side of the entrance is visible as a curving darker area of soil. What appear to be a number of large post holes are also becoming visible.

The Trench 6 team – Luke, Hubert, Tyrone, Rhian, Caroline, Joan and Alice.

Day 5 - 29 September 2013

A lovely sunny day and lunch is taken outside.

Erin excavating one of the large postholes situated on the inside of the enclosure entrance in Trench 6.

Day 6 - 30 September 2013

A dull, damp day but this is a good thing because the ground surface stays damp and we can see differences in soil colour that indicate where archaeological features are located.

A start is made excavating sections of the enclosure ditch in Trench 6.

Luke pondering whether he has more soil to remove from his section of ditch

Joan and Jude make a start on excavating their section of ditch. Some of the ditch fills are beautiful colours.

Day 7 - 1 October 2013

Rather a wet day but the site drains well so we can keep on digging.

Pete directs the excavation of the enclosure ditch while Geraint, Jude and Rob keep their heads down!

Olwyn points to a large lump of charcoal discovered near the bottom of the enclosure ditch. This may help us date when the ditch first started to silt up.

Day 8 - 2 October 2013

Excavation of the enclosure ditch goes on but today we also turn our attention to features that lie within the internal area of the enclosure.

Joan and Sarah excavate a post hole packed with stone. The stone would have been placed around the wooden post to keep it in place.

They then turn their attention to what is termed a ‘palisade'. The linear cut would have held a line of posts or ‘pales' held in place by stones jammed into the cut and around the posts. It would have formed a palisade - a fence or barrier. At the end of the palisade (in the background) is a large clay filled post hole that we have yet to excavate.

The full extent of the palisade is not known as it continues into the side of the trench.

Day 9 - 3 October 2013

Today the weather forecast was awful so the volunteers had a break and stayed at home but in the morning there was a gap between the rain clouds so Hubert started planning Trench 6.

I trowelled again in Trench 6 (this must be the 5th time). However, it was worth it because the rain has soaked the ground and small feature such as stake holes are showing up. Planning their position when the heavens opened, which they did at lunchtime, was more problematic. Many thanks to Alice and Hubert for completing it in the full force of gale and rain.

Day 10 - 4 October 2013

It is still raining in the morning but as soon as the rain lessens Geraint starts removing all the water that has filled the features overnight.

Then it is back to forming a line and trowelling Trench 5. The rain brings out the colours of the soil and archaeological features can be clearly seen as darker areas. In the picture below note the dark square in the centre.

Day 11 - 5 October 2013

A lovely day and Ken and Luke start excavating the dark square shaped feature seen in the previous picture. The square turns out to be more of a rectangle and is revealed as a linear cut aligned east to west. We realise that we probably have a grave; a grave situated in the centre of a small rectangular ditched enclosure. Similar sites excavated elsewhere in Wales suggest it is early medieval in date.

Just before the end of the day Olwyn thinks she might have stumbled upon another grave, cut through the silted up enclosure ditch. The grave is also in Trench 5.

Day 12 - 7 October 2013

Olwyn carries on excavating the grave and the picture above shows the grave, partially excavated, with the stone packing along the edges of the cut.

In Trench 6 Luke and Pete take out the remaining fill from the enclosure ditch to discover how wide and deep the ditch is – luckily it is not much deeper than where Luke is standing.

Day 13 - 8 October 2013

After a grey start the sun came out and shone for most of the day. So we are all very happy except when taking photographs, so we have to improvise and stand in a row to throw a shadow across the area we are photographing. Hubert, Barbara, Jude, Vanessa, Rob, Caroline and Olwyn join forces to provide such a shadow in Trench 5.

Otherwise the day is spent excavating the last of the features – final day on site day tomorrow – and for the last time Gaynor, Alice, Caroline, Luke, Erin and Joan trowel Trench 6.

Lunchtime outside in the sunshine – is this really October?

Day 14 - 9 October 2013

Our last day on site for the volunteers. It seems a good time to end as the weather appears to be getting colder – hence the need for coats.

The day is spent finishing off recording all the features we have excavated. In Trench 5 Luke (that is my coat remember) is planning and Sarah and Erin are drawing a section.

In Trench 5 we have discovered at least 3 east-west aligned graves that we believe are probably of early medieval date.

Pete excavates the last of the fill from the grave pictured in Day 11's report. In the background on the left is a small rectangular cut – possibly a grave for a child. The feature in the background to the right turned out to be an old animal burrow.

Ken Murphy (the Trust Director) joined us for the last day and helped Pete finish off digging a section through the enclosure ditch in Trench 6.

The finished section shows clearly the variously coloured sands, silts and gravels that have filled the ditch over time.

Day 15 - 10 October 2013

Backfilling. Last chance to survey in the edges of the ditch in Trench 6 and then both trenches are backfilled.

Luckily it is a sunny, if cold, day and we get the tent packed up and the tools loaded into the vans.

And soon you wouldn't know we had ever been here…


We are indebted to Robert Davies for allowing the excavation on his land and to the volunteers who turned up every day and worked so hard.




and Sarah

from Dyfed Archaeological Trust and


from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, we would like to say a big thank you (in no particular order) to …




















and Sam

We hope to meet you again soon.





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