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Section 1

A Research Framework for the Archaeology of Wales


East and North East Wales Archaeological Resource Audit

Section 1


Record Audit

In the following section a summary of known records has been tabulated and mapped.  The data are drawn from three main digital sources - the Regional Sites and Monuments Record, the Extended National Database for Wales, and the catalogue of archaeological collections of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales, Cardiff.   It is known that each of these sources is incomplete, and there will doubtless be a number of errors and omissions (for example a number of current field projects running in CPAT have yet to present completed data to the SMR, much of the NMR is not yet in END), but it has not been the purpose of this audit to address these issues.  However, each data set has been checked and obvious errors corrected.  Similarly, records which are patently nonsense or substantially incomplete have been removed before preparing the summaries.  The amended data sets comprised 47,507 site records and 68,844 artefact records from the SMR, 16,490 site records from END and 28,885 artefact records from NMGW.


A comparison was made between the SMR and END data and where possible END records cross-referenced to their SMR equivalents.  This process identified 6563 'sites' common to both data sets.  Of the 9927 END records without an equivalent in the SMR it is suspected that at least a third again could have been similarly cross referenced had the data quality of both records been better.


A similar compassion of the SMR sites records with those inferred from the NMGW data showed that, while the individual artefact records of the latter where very much more detailed than their equivalents in the SMR, there appeared to be only 83 site locations not represented in the former.  New records were created for these from the NMGW data and added to the SMR.  


In order to break down the records collected into more manageable sections the data have been categorised in line with the current data standards used by END and the SMRs (derived from the English Heritage data standard).  Each record is therefore defined according to Period and then Broad Class using the following terms:-






Bronze Age

Iron Age

Early Medieval (further subdivided - see below)


Post Medieval (further subdivided - see below)


Broad Class

Agriculture and Subsistence








Gardens, Parks and Urban Spaces

Health and Welfare



Monument (by form)


Religious, Ritual and Funerary



Water Supply and Drainage


The presentation of the record audit conforms to this standard, and where possible these divisions have been used when presenting data throughout the report.  At the outset it had been hoped that individual site types could be mapped but these are so many and various that the exponential increase in size of what is already a large report would have made this impractical.    


In two periods existing sub-divisions already existed in the SMR.  These have been retained in the SMR data for his audit. 


In the Early Medieval period, certain records are attributed to Saxon or Viking.  Both terms occur in the English Heritage data standard, and are used in the CPAT SMR to indicate the 'origin' of the monuments concerned, but are not currently used in the rest of Wales.   


In the CPAT SMR Post Medieval and Modern sites are attributed (where possible) to the appropriate century (16th - 18th for Post Medieval and 19th - 21st for Modern).  This subdivision has also been retained - principally to ease the problems of mapping some 24,000 Post Medieval SMR sites.  The period category Post Medieval does however occur in the SMR for those sites that cannot be dated to a particular century.


The data structure used here, follows the traditional Bronze Age / Iron Age split and does not reflect the earlier / later prehistory divide.  It has not been possible to restructure the data to reflect the latter chronology but it is hoped that there is sufficient information in the data supplied to construct this.  Maps broken into site types (for example) may assist this and these can be supplied if required.


No standard 'categorisation' existed between the SMR and NMGW artefact data so, in order better summarise the data in tabulated and mapped form, 'best-fit' classes were devised and imposed by the author.  These are:-




Ceramic (building part)



Human remains


Lithic (building part)

Metal work

Metal work (coins)


Wooden objects

Worked faunal



Key Sites

Each period section contains a list of key sites.  These various lists have been compiled, in the main, from the SMR (and informal discussion).  The basic criteria for inclusion have been those sites where significant, documented, archaeological work (excavation, survey etc) has been carried out in modern times.  It is appreciated that this selection might appear somewhat arbitrary, and no doubt has lead to the exclusion of some well known (but uninvestigated) monuments, but it was felt that this was the most even handed approach across all periods.


Information for each period is broken down into the Broad Classes used in section 1, and is followed by a selective bibliography for that period.  The bibliography has been compiled directly from the SMR, with only a minimum of editing or new research. Clearly these period bibliographies, while long, are not complete nor has the manner of their production allowed their formatting to comply fully with current publishing standards. However it was felt that the process of selection from lists produced directly from the SMR database was preferable to the prospect of recompilation of the whole from scratch - which would have taken far longer than allowed by the current project.  The various incomplete or incorrectly formatted entries have been left in the hope that they may be useful.