In the village of Llanon on the coast of Ceredigion there are ruins known as Y Neuadd (the hall), which
is thought to be of Tudor date (16th century). Its origins are uncertain, although at one point it was
thought to be the chapel of St Non, it seems that it was later divided into two cottages, one occupied
by the chaplain and the other used by him to store his documents. The site is in the care of Ceredigion
Museum, along with the Museum Cottage which stands beside it. An archaeological excavation is underway
with the local community, volunteers and the Dyfed Archaeological Trust to try to find out more!
In addition to the dig diary, a diary of the whole restoration process is being kept by Irene Phillips
of the Llanon History Society. Click here
Our first day, a beautiful sunny day, on the excavation of the Neuadd was spent removing the last of the rubble
debris which overlies the site. We nearly finished the eastern room but still have some way to go in the rest
to the west.
We found some interesting metal objects including a large old key and a billhook type blade. We also found
lots of drain pipe, glass, pottery and assorted oddments which are difficult to identify.
Our second day on site and thankfully the heavy rain we were promised does not arrive until the evening. We continue
to clear the rubble and weeds from the Neuadd but our work pays off and by the end of the day it is looking like
a proper archaeological site. Some unusual finds have been discovered within the rubble including broken pots,
glass bottles, miscellaneous wrought iron objects including a large key and an animal horn, which we think is
from a cow.
Alan Jones and his assistant Dafydd have been working on the consolidation of the ruins for 2 months now but
today we said goodbye to them as they head off to Scotland for the next few weeks. Before they left Dafydd
kindly took some photos of the site from the roof of the nearby cottage they have been also been repairing.
We have discovered many strange wrought iron items whilst cleaning up including this circular iron object. We
have not lifted it yet and have no idea what it might be. Any ideas?
This is the small 19th century cottage that is positioned close to
the Neuadd. It is owned by Ceredigion Museum and is looked after by Llansantffraed History Society.
With the hot weather the site has been baked hard and we have been having lunch in the shade to cool down.
Olwyn washing some of the large amount of post -medieval pottery that has been discovered on the site.
Day 6 and 7
During the excavation Llansantffraed History Society are opening the
nearby cottage on Saturday afternoons for the public to come and look inside. Members of the society include
Irene and Brenda (above) who are experts on the history of the Neuadd and Llanon.
Irene, pictured here, has been working on the excavations since the beginning of the project and her familiarity
with the history of Neuadd has proved invaluable, especially when visitors ask us difficult questions.
Whilst some volunteers are working with us for the duration, others like Nigel and Helen are working over the
weekend on their days off from work. Everyone's contribution is greatly appreciated no matter how long or short
Domestic artefacts abound on the site and include fragments of teapots, cups, bowls, white ceramic marmalade
jars, as well as keys, locks, pulleys, metal rings, butchered bones and glass bottles.
Hubert and Linda discover that the round metal object we reported on in Day 4 is an extremely heavy iron lid
with handle. It was found near a possible fireplace in the east wall of the Neuadd. Was it from a huge cooking
pot once used in the house?
On the other side of the wall from where the iron lid was found Erin has been excavating a trench and has found
the remains of what appears to be an old kitchen range in amongst stone rubble. Whatever next!
With Llanon Primary school children visiting, the site was buzzing with activity!
Children pick out some of the intriguing finds from the excavation, could this be a sword or a farm implement?
Felicity has help in trying to find the pieces of a broken pot!
The children experience some of the excitement of discovering artefacts and trying to identify them.
Christine and Luke methodically measure and draw the elevation whilst the children look to see what features
have been uncovered.
Ed explaining the history of the Neuadd to the older children from Llanon Primary School who visited the site
Flic uncovers the internal fireplace in the east wall of the Neuadd whilst …
... on the other side of the wall from Flic, Erin exposes the wall of a former cottage we believe adjoined the
The beginning of the last week on site and the excavation is a hive of activity. At the eastern end of the
Neuadd George and Linda are drawing the south facing wall in detail, Rhod and Catriona are drawing the exterior
east facing wall, whilst Tom and Luke are quickly working to reveal the lime mortar that has fallen from the
inside of the walls onto a floor surface, before Hubert reaches them and records it in plan.
At the western end of the Neuadd building Fran, Erin and Neil clean the most recent floor level. The dark hole,
seen between Fran and Erin, is where a small tree once stood.
Day 16 and 17
Over next few days we plan to excavate trenches across the two rooms of the Neuadd to look at the soils below
the floor surfaces. Hubert and Neil valiantly battle with the string whilst laying out trenches across the
rooms but the string is escaping!
In the eastern room Tom and Luke start excavating a trench running parallel to the long walls.
Day 20 – Last Day! Dydd olaf!
Our final day on site so there was plenty to do, no more digging, but lots of recording and drawing walls
and timesheets to fill out. The intense heatwave this week meant that the ice-cream supplies at the village
shop were a bit depleted, but we're hoping they've restocked for the Open Day on the 27 th July! Fran and Hubert
and the rest of the DAT team would like to thank all the volunteers who have worked so hard in extreme heat
and difficult conditions, plus the neighbours and residents who have offered support in many and varied ways.
Neil and Luke get the planning frame into position.
Fran sorts out the paperwork before George and Linda say goodbye
Fran and Hubert at the end of the excavation, tired but happy!