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CPAT Project
A458 Cyfronydd Trunk Road, Stage 2

An initial assessment of the route corridor by CPAT (CPAT Project 806) involved desktop study and walkover survey. This revealed that two known cropmark enclosures at Sylfaen and Hydan Cottages, known from cropmark photography, may be affected by the proposed road scheme. One of the recommendations in the subsequent report was that a geophysical survey be undertaken on both sites to provide a more detailed understanding of the nature and extent of the enclosures and as a basis for further mitigation strategies. CPAT was subsequently commissioned by Powys County Council Transport and Property Services to undertake the geophysical survey as Stage 2 of the archaeological assessment. The survey was subcontracted to ArchaeoPhysica of Newport, Shropshire, who employed a caesium vapour magnetic gradiometer at a high spatial resolution. The survey of the Sylfaen has revealed a series of linear and curving anomalies which have been interpreted as a series of ditches defining several phases of enclosure, though the form of the enclosures is irregular and difficult to interpret at this stage. Survey of the Hydan Cottages enclosure revealed faint traces of the enclosure ditch with indications of a number of faint anomalies including a possible ring-ditch of a roundhouse or round barrow. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 809
Funded by Powys County Council Highways Department in 1998/99
Updated April 1999


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Abercynafon, Talybont-on-Usk, Brecknock

CS95/35/13

The final draft report on the excavation and palaeoenvironmental analysis at Abercynafon have recently been submitted to Cadw and to the editor of Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. It is anticipated that a separate short report on the Roman lead/tin 'cups' from the site will shortly be submitted to Cadw and the editor of Britannia. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 590
Funded by Cadw in 1999/00
updated October 1999


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Abercynafon

Two reports for publication were completed during the financial year, as anticipated in the post-excavation research design. A short report was completed under the authorship of Dr Hilary Cool and Dr Peter Northover on the two Roman pewter bowls which was submitted for publication to Britannia. The report was accepted for publication following a small amount of editorial work. A publication report on the Neolithic mire, wood deposits and structures under the authorship of Dr Caroline Earwood, David Thomas and Astrid Caseldine was produced and submitted with a view to publication in the . Work undertaken during the year involved general editorial work, completion of illustrations and the integration of specialist reports on plant remains, insect remains and dendrochronology, the latter report edited for publication by Nigel Nayling. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 590
Funded by Cadw in 1999/00
updated October 2000


CPAT Project
Aerial Photograph Mapping

Continuation of the aerial photograph mapping programme in Montgomeryshire. As in previous years this project concentrated on transcribing CPAT's oblique photography. Mapping of an area of about 80km2 was covered as part of the project. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 696
Funded by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales in 1998/99
Updated April 1999


CPAT Project
Aerial Photography

The original intention had been to undertake 12 hours of exploratory aerial photography in the Tanat and Upper Severn Valleys, together with the Walton Basin and Wye Valley. Unfortunately, the conditions during the summer proved largely unfavourable for cropmark formation with the result that only limited flying was undertaken in the Walton Basin and Tanat Valley. The programme was therefore revised to undertake a series of winter flights to monitor Scheduled Ancient Monuments in northern Montgomeryshire, the Berwyns and the area around Wrexham and Ruabon Mountain. In the event, time and the lack of suitable conditions led to the Berwyn area being dropped from the programme. (Back to past project index)
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CPAT Project 816
Funded by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales in 1999/00
updated July 2000


CPAT Project
Caersws Roman Road: Caersws-Machynlleth Gas Pipeline

An assessment of the pipeline corridor carried out by CPAT in 1998 had revealed evidence for the Roman road heading west from Caersws II Roman fort. Accordingly, an excavation was undertaken in advance of the installation of a new gas pipeline with funding provided by RSK Environment, acting on behalf of British Gas/Transco. The pipeline crossed the Roman road at SO 02209186, 0.8km to the west of Caersws. A section of the Roman road (PRN 13337) still survives as upstanding earthwork in the field immediately to the east, although no earthwork evidence survived within the pipeline corridor. The excavation involved an area measuring 14.5m x 13.0m, within which a section was excavated through the remains of the Roman road, in an attempt to determine its construction and recover any dating material which was present. Underlying the topsoil and a layer of silty clay were the basal remains of the Roman road, approximately 0.1m in thickness, which consisted of a series of probably contemporary dumps of material comprising clay with small to medium sized rounded stones and wood. The wood showed evidence of being cut at an acute angle by a sharp, bladed, tool, but there was no evidence that the cut material had been deliberately placed to form the base of the road make-up. The appearance of the surviving road make-up suggested that much of the upper layers of the road had been removed, perhaps by agricultural land improvement or levelling. No definite evidence of a road surface or flanking ditches was apparent, and it is possible that the road was constructed without ditches. The surviving road make-up overlay several layers of peat and peaty clay extending to a depth of 0.55m. Following the discovery of the peat deposits, with their obvious palaeoenvironmental potential, staff of University of Wales, Lampeter, were contacted for advice on potential sampling methods. The sampling strategy adopted consisted of bulk sampling of the upper 0.25m of the peat deposit at 0.05m vertical intervals, and the removal of a 0.5m soil monolith which spanned the full depth of the peat deposit beneath the Roman road. A programme of auger samples along the pipeline corridor revealed the maximum depth of peat to be c. 2.0m, and suggested that it represents an accumulation within a palaeochannel. An assessment of the pollen from beneath the Roman road suggested that pollen preservation was good in all samples. Taxa noted included alder, oak, elm, Tilia, pine, hazel, grasses, sedges and bracken. The results suggest that the pollen was sufficiently well preserved and frequent enough to justify more detailed analysis of the pollen column. The pollen record from this site is of importance for two main reasons. Firstly, it is directly associated with archaeological remains and it is close to the known Roman site at Caersws. Secondly, there is a lack of information about the vegetational history and landscape development of this lowland area. The nearest pollen record is from Carneddau (Walker 1993), an upland site 8km to the north-north-west. Following discussions with RSK Environment, additional funding has been forthcoming to allow further analysis of the pollen, which is currently being undertaken at the University of Wales, Lampeter. (Back to past project index)

References

Bognar, L., & Hankinson, R., 1998, Caersws to Machynlleth Gas Pipeline (Phase 1 Caersws-Talerddig) Archaeological Assessment. CPAT Report 274

Walker, M J C., 1993. Holocene (Flandrian) vegetation change and human activity in the Carneddau area of upland mid-Wales. In F. Chambers (ed.) Climate Change and Human Impact on the Landscape. London: Chapman and Hall

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CPAT Project 795
Funded by RSK Environmental in 1998/99
Updated April 1999


CPAT Project
Chirbury Road, Montgomery

Watching brief during and excavations for foundations and services associated with the construction of a new dwelling. A pre-determination evaluation undertaken on the site indicated that significant buried deposits relating to a 13th/14th-century timber-framed building were preserved on the street frontage. The watching brief was undertaken over a three-day period between 29 June and 1 July 1999. The only evidence which might relate to medieval or later occupation of the plot consisted of a short section of undated stone surface seen along the street frontage within a service trench. This may represent a continuation of a stone surface identified during the evaluation and interpreted as a possible floor within a timber building. However, no further features were identified which might be associated with a structure. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 819
Funded by private developer in 1999/00
updated July 2000


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Churches Project

CS97/47/22

The fieldwork element of the churches project reached a conclusion during 1998/99. Commencing in the summer of 1995, 261 churches were visited and recorded, and the results amalgamated with details from secondary sources and the archives. Some checking and rewriting of the churches reports for Montgomeryshire, Flintshire and Wrexham County was found to be necessary to achieve a common standard and this has now been completed. A series of six reports carrying the details of each church have been prepared for the following areas: Breconshire; Radnorshire; Montgomeryshire; eastern Conwy; Denbighshire; Flintshire and Wrexham County Borough.

At a time to be agreed with Cadw these reports, or those parts relevant to specific interests, will be circulated to the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW), the Church in Wales, the Council for British Archaeology (Wales), the diocesan archaeologists of St Asaph, Bangor, Swansea and Brecon, Hereford and Chester, the Brecon Beacons National Park, and to individual incumbents. Summary reports or overviews have been prepared for the following areas: Breconshire and Radnorshire; Montgomeryshire; Conwy County Borough (in conjunction with Gwynedd Archaeological Trust); Denbighshire and the Vale of Clwyd; Flintshire and Wrexham County Borough.

These overviews will have a slightly different circulation from the detailed reports, going out to archdeacons, local authorities and county archivists amongst others. A considerable archive of material including field and archive notes, sketch plans, computerised databases, published booklets and black and white, and colour photography has been assembled, much of which will be passed to the Sites and Monuments Records and the Trust archives in the near future. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 607
Funded by Cadw in 1998/99
Updated October 1999

Further information on the Historic Churches Survey can now be found in our Longer Project Report pages.


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Churches Project: Analytical Report

CS96/21/23

The pan-Wales project on historic churches has, for the first time, produced a detailed and thorough record of all the pre-19th-century churches in the Principality, numbering 976 in total but excluding the cathedrals. A significant data set has been assembled which, it is anticipated, will be of use to Cadw themselves, the National Monument Record, diocesan archaeologists and others. This information, too, has considerable research potential, though within the terms of the Cadw project brief it is not possible to tap into that potential, except in the most superficial way. Cadw commissioned an analytical review of the whole project which will appear in the journal, Church Archaeology - probably in the year 2000. Written by Dr E Evans of the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust, it aims to elucidate, inter alia, the distribution across Wales of the major architectural phases as shown through surviving details, the distribution of plan types and the distribution of surviving woodwork, particularly roofs, through a series of maps which will be prepared by the RCAHMW. Each trust has supplied data to Dr Evans using closely-defined criteria, the specific aims of the review being not only to demonstrate what can be achieved by a coherent approach to field recording but also to isolate those regional trends in church architecture which will not necessarily be apparent from the syntheses which were one of the products of the mainstream project. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 764
Funded by Cadw in 1998/99
Updated October 1999

Further information on the Historic Churches Survey can now be found in our Longer Project Report pages.


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Churches Project: popular publication

CS95/61/06

The objective of the project has been to produce a booklet with the title Caring for Historic Churches to be published jointly by Cadw and the Welsh Archaeological Trusts. The booklet will be in the same series as the recently-published booklet Caring for Coastal Heritage/Gofalu am Dreftadaeth yr Arfordir. It follows on from the pan-Wales survey of historic churches in the six Welsh dioceses - Bangor, St Asaph, Monmouth, Swansea & Brecon, Llandaff and St David's - that has been funded by Cadw over recent years and is being undertaken hand in hand with the production of the churches analytical report described above. Comments on the draft text for the booklet have so far been sought from the archaeologist sitting on each of the Diocesan Advisory Committees, the project officer that undertook the historic churches survey, the Sites and Monuments Record and Development Control Officers of each of the Welsh Trusts, the Representative Body of the Church in Wales, and a number of other individuals. Suitable colour illustrations to accompany the text are currently being sought, which is proving to be difficult in some instances. It is anticipated that the booklet will be published in the first half of 1999/00, to coincide with the forthcoming launch of the church survey reports. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 765
Funded by Cadw in 1998/99
Updated October 1999

Further information on the Historic Churches Survey can now be found in our Longer Project Report pages.


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Coastal Publication

CS95/60/12

Assistance with preparation of an analytical report by the Welsh Archaeological Trusts. The archaeological survey of the Welsh coastline, undertaken by the four Welsh Trusts between 1993-97, was prompted by the threats posed to the archaeological resource by rising sea levels and coastal erosion, together with the pressures of development and tourism. The aims of the project were threefold: to assess the nature and extent of the archaeology situated along the coastal edge; to assess the nature of threats and rate of erosion of the coast and of archaeological sites; and to recommend appropriate management strategies. Following the completion of the survey it was recognised that there was a need to present the results in an analytical report which would draw on the wealth of information which had been generated, together with the specialist knowledge of those individuals who had been responsible for undertaking the project. Funding was again provided by Cadw with the intention that the report be published as a Council for British Archaeology Research Report during 1999/00, being collated by staff of the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust. The volume will include the following: introduction; description of the; environmental archaeology; the applications of aerial archaeology; the archaeological resource - a chronological overview; thematic reviews - reclamation, defences, shipwrecks, limekilns, fish weirs and fish traps, the Gwent Levels; coastal management, and concluding sections on potential, recommendations and priorities. The section on reclamation includes a case study of the Dee Estuary, based largely on the results from the recent Dee Estuary Historic Landscape Study undertaken by CPAT and highlighted the potential for buried archaeological and palaeoenvironmental deposits within areas reclaimed from the saltmarsh. Overall, the survey has recorded 1,502km of coastline covering the entire mainland as well as the island of Anglesey, although excluding other, smaller islands. The classification of the coast according the survey methodology has identified 1,406 separate coastal units, each with its own unique characteristics. The main defining characteristic in most instances is that of coast edge type, which either as a result of the geology or human intervention has shaped the coastline to its present day form. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 763
Funded by Cadw in 1998/99
Updated October 1999

Further information on the Coastal Survey can be found in our Longer Project Report pages.


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Corndon Round Barrow VII, Montgomeryshire, 2006

A programme of recording and restoration work on this Bronze Age barrow was undertaken following damage caused during tree-felling operations. The monument was first recorded by Miss Chitty in the early 1950s and prior to damage had been recommended for scheduling as part of the current Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Monuments Initiative. The barrow lies at about 395 metres on the line of a trackway below Corndon Hill and forms part of a dispersed cluster of prehistoric funerary and ritual monuments across the Montgomeryshire-Shropshire border on Lan Fawr, Corndon Hill and Stapeley Hill which include The Hoarstones and Mitchell’s Fold stone circles and a group of distinctive upland cairns. A number of these sites have been damaged or destroyed since the later 19th century. Disturbance to a small upland cairn about 400 metres to the south of the present barrow by CPAT in 1986 led to the discovery of a Bronze Age cremation burial within a Collared Urn, for which two radiocarbon dates which calibrate to 2040–1680 cal BC and 1770–1430 cal BC. Recording work was undertaken in March 2006 within the recently-disturbed area between 5-6 metres across on the northern side of the barrow. This has shown that the barrow is about 15 metres in diameter and up to about 1.8 metres high at the centre, which is significantly larger than recent field observations had suggested, partly due to the fact that the eastern side of the mound has become obscured by a build up of soil and stone. Despite the recent damage the round barrow remains remarkably intact and it even seems likely that now dilapidated and largely obscured field wall to the west has only had a superficial impact upon its structure.

The barrow overlay a thin, gleyed buried soil layer which contained a scattering of charcoal throughout the soil profile and two flint fragments. A slightly greater concentration of charcoal was noted at the surface of the buried soil in one small area. No evidence of stake settings or other structures were identified. The barrow had a core of alternating bands of loam and subsoil which became more homogeneous towards the upper profile of the mound possibly due to animal and root disturbance. The more earthy layers contained a distinct scatter of charcoal fragments, together with some fragments of unworked burnt stone, flint and pottery fragments which seemed to represent artefacts incidentally incorporated in the mound from turf and topsoil stripped from surrounding areas. The presence of fairly large chunks of charcoal suggested an intensive vegetation clearance phase prior to barrow construction, without a prolonged intervening period of cultivation which might be expected to have fragmented the charcoal. The barrow core was bounded on the north by stone deposits, possibly derived from local field clearance, which lay directly on the surface of the buried soil and appeared to mark a phase of construction. The stone deposits were directly overlain by distinct bands of material which had the appearance of fossil turfs with iron-panning which may have capped the barrow mound. This was in turn covered by a layer of stone which had the appearance of a deliberate capping to the mound rather than simply representing casual field clearance. This was overlain by loose loamy soil and then by recent forest soil and rootmat. Palaeoenvironmental sampling was undertaken with advice from Astrid Caseldine, Department of Archaeology, University of Wales, Lampeter which it is hoped will tell us something about the ancient environment in the area of Corndon Hill. Bulk soil samples and charcoal samples were collected from the buried soil and from the redeposited soil within the barrow mound and a pollen core was taken through the base of the mound, through the buried soil into the subsoil. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 1320
Funded by Cadw in 2005/2006
Updated October 2006


CPAT Project
Court Fold, Old Radnor

The proposed development of a pasture field on the south-west side of Old Radnor led to an archaeological evaluation being undertaken during September 1999. The evaluation consisted of six trenches, only two of which contained any significant archaeological features. One trench revealed a ditch 0.4m deep and c. 1.95m wide, the position of which was roughly comparable with a possible linear feature identified from aerial photographs and assumed to represent part of a field system. The other trench contained a stratigraphic sequence which included two undated stone surfaces which were assumed to be associated with possible structures located beyond the limits of excavation. The upper surface was cut by a timber-lined well 2.25m across, of likely post-medieval origin. The assemblage of artefacts from the excavations was rather limited, yet nevertheless represented evidence for former occupation within the general area of the development, consisting of two residual prehistoric flints and nine sherds of medieval pottery of likely 13th or 14th-century date. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 831
Funded by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales in 1998/99
updated July 2000


CPAT Project
Criccin Cross

An evaluation was undertaken in the area surrounding the cross, prior to a programme of repair work involving the lifting and re-erection of the cross. The remains of the cross are situated on a prominent mound and consist of a rectangular base-slab with chamfered upper edge and mutilated stops at the corners, within which is set the now broken shaft of rectangular section with chamfered edges, standing to 0.8m. The base-slab is broken and has been repaired with concrete and two iron dowels. It is thought that the cross is probably of 13th or early 14th century date. The evaluation consisted of two trenches, one surrounding the cross and the other at the base of the mound on the north side. The results from the evaluation have proved that the mound on which the cross is situated is of natural origin. However, there does appear to be a slight terrace up to 9m diameter and 0.3m high on the summit of the mound, which may have resulted from a deliberate levelling of the summit prior to the erection of the cross. A survey of the area, together with a visual assessment of the immediate topography, would suggest that the present appearance of the mound may in part be due to quarrying for sand on the northern side, the date of which is unknown. The mound forms the end of a low natural ridge running north-north-west to south-south-east. The western side of the mound forms a seamless continuation of this ridge and is not a separate feature, while the northern side has the appearance of being cut away. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 873
Funded by Denbighshire County Council in 1999/00
updated July 2000


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Defended Enclosures in Radnorshire, 2005/06

88-c-51

When in 1992 the Trust conducted an assessment of the large number of cropmark and earthwork enclosures of putative Iron Age and Roman date in the Montgomeryshire lowlands, many of which had been first recognised from the air, it was hardly anticipated that the study might in subsequent years develop and be integrated into a larger pan-Wales project that would consider all of the defended enclosures throughout the Principality. Even when the small enclosures in Clwyd had been rapidly examined and later surveyed in the second half of the 1990s, there was no clear intention of conducting a systematic study across the entire eastern region. The Cadw-funded, pan-Wales Defended Enclosures project initiated with a scoping study in Gwynedd in 2004 has offered the opportunity to extend the study to the rest of east Wales and additionally to enlarge its scope by taking in the larger defended enclosures as well. During 2005/6 the present survey has assessed the defended enclosures and hillforts of Radnorshire and is seen as the first part of a two-year study of the enclosures in southern Powys (the old and historic counties of Radnorshire and Brecknock). The earthwork and cropmark sites in Radnorshire are a neglected and poorly known group, but it is clear from the present examination that Radnorshire does have a number of interesting sites, well worth a study in their own right.

The objectives of the exercise, in line with what is being undertaken in other parts of Wales, are the identification, definition and distribution of cropmark and earthwork enclosures in the old county, the preparation of a corpus of plans to accompany detailed descriptions of all relevant sites, the assessment of the archaeological significance of the sites within both a regional and national framework, the assessment of the vulnerability of this element of the archaeological resource and recommendations for future management strategies, and the enhancement of the regional HER and END.

Commencing with a desk-top assessment which whittled the number of sites considered to be authentic down from 202 to 111, fieldwork led to a further thinning of the total, while some sites could simply not be verified from the evidence available. In all there were 54 positive identifications in the county, both earthworks and cropmarks. Of these twenty are Scheduled Ancient Monuments, all earthworks.

There is a fairly small number of true hillforts in the region. At one end of the scale are some magnificent hillforts worthy of the title. Burfa Bank (PRN 312) is nearly 800 metres long its defences moulded to the contours on an elongated hill, while the interesting hill-top enclosure of Castle Bank in Llansantffraed in Elvel probably reflects several phases of activity, has a number of hut platforms within the interior, and appears to have an entrance way that was fired leaving vitrified stone on the surface. Then there are smaller forts such as the sub-oval Castle Ring near Presteigne which is set not on a hill top but on a spur running off the hill which provides a fine aspect and perhaps some control over the lower ground below. Three of the putative hillforts were subsequently re-used after the Norman Conquest: Castell Tinboeth, Knucklas Castle and Cefnllys Castle, but it is only the last of these where the evidence for the hillfort is unequivocal.

Multiple enclosure forts and enclosures were first distinguished as a group by Aileen Fox in the 1950s in both the south-west peninsula and in south Wales, many of them on hill slopes rather than on the crests of hills; that they extended also into central Wales was not recognised at the time. The Gaer near Llandrindod Wells is one of several hillforts with wide-spaced ramparts in the old county of Radnorshire, this one being of particular interest because on the next knoll to the east, no more than 500 metres away is a second hillfort, Cwm Cefn y Gaer which also follows the contours but appears to lack any wide-spaced ramparts and indeed is best seen as a univallate enclosure.

Several enclosures such as the Llandegley Rocks hillfort have sizeable annexes, while Llysin Hill has a sub-oval, inner enclosure is accompanied by two cross dykes, 80 metres and 180 metres away which presumably created additional enclosures. Groupings of hillforts of whatever kind are uncommon in Radnorshire but on the Carneddau to the north-west of Builth Wells there are three sites around the perimeter of the upland within two kilometres of each other. All are multiple enclosure promontory forts, the nature of the terrain lending itself to the adaption of such defensive positions.

Small defended enclosures, of no great size with small internal areas that are no greater than many of the cropmark enclosures in the lowlands, tend to be encountered on hillsides and are akin to some of the raths in south-west Wales. The cropmark enclosures themselves are concentrated in the east of the county and specifically within and on the periphery of the Walton Basin where there has been so much aerial photographic reconnaissance and follow-up fieldwork in the last decade or more, and also where the crop conditions and specifically the prevalence of cultivation appears to be rather higher than in any other part of the county. Virtually all of the validated sites are single, narrow-ditched enclosures of broadly rectilinear form, though a few have the classic D-shaped form with one curved and three straight sides. The relatively simple morphology displayed in the valley sites appears to hold, too, for a few beyond the low ground of the basin. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 1263
Funded by Cadw in 2005/2006
updated October 2006


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Deserted Rural Settlements: Brecknock and Radnorshire

House

The deserted rural sites of Radnorshire were first examined on a selective basis in 1996/97 in the first year of the Cadw-funded pan-Wales programme. During that year 226 sites were visited, somewhere in the region of 66% of the total of known sites. Following a similar assessment in Denbighshire and Montgomeryshire in 1997/8, the Trust returned to Radnorshire in 1998/99 to complete the examination of the relevant field monuments of that county.

Site visits which were completed in January 1999 totalled 161 of which 105 were considered to meet the criteria adopted for the Deserted Rural Settlement study, and these included a number of new sites on Aberedw Hill and some of the adjacent commons which were discovered during prospecting work on a set of RAF aerial photographs taken in 1946/47. The total number of sites for Radnorshire was assessed at 291.

Subsequent analysis included the examination of the setting of all the known Radnorshire sites through their altitude, orientation, slope, aspect and local topographic setting. Site morphology was investigated with up to 15 site types being distinguished and it is anticipated that these will be refined through further work in adjacent areas. Three case studies were prepared on the following: the platform sites of the Glascwm valley; the documented decline of the commons which took as an exemplar Aberedw and contiguous commons and, using existing early maps and some documentary sources, charted the reduction of the unenclosed land as intakes were imposed around the edges; and the scheduled site of Beili Bedw, the largest nucleated group in Radnorshire and the only one to have been excavated, yet one where the existing plans are inadequate and a revised assessment of the development of the settlement is feasible on the basis of the surface evidence. Radnorshire is a particularly interesting area for deserted rural settlement because of the very large number of platform sites that have survived, often on the edge of the commons, and the appearance of high altitude cultivation.

The first Radnorshire survey nominated nine sites or groups of sites for statutory protection, and the present study has added a further eighteen individual sites and five site groups to the list for consideration by Cadw, including a number of examples on Aberedw Hill which form a significant complex of dispersed sites. Three of the nominations have been subjected to a detailed EDM survey, and for a fourth site at Neuadd Ford on the Begwns we were able to tie in to the national grid a manual survey of a nucleated settlement which had been undertaken for the National Trust. A full report on the Radnorshire work was submitted to Cadw in February 1999.

It was also anticipated that much of north Breconshire could be examined during the year, but an unforeseen problem during the preliminary work on this stage of the project was the very large number of potentially relevant sites that had been detected by the RCAHMW aerial mapping programme of the military ranges on Mynydd Eppynt during 1996/97. When the scale of the new data became clear, the overall level of fieldwork in northern Breconshire had to be modified, with the result that the assessment of deserted rural settlement in Breconshire remains in its early stages and will be completed in the financial year 1999/2000. At the time of writing 57 site visits have been made and 35 Breconshire sites have proved to be of relevance to the survey.

The writer presented a paper on deserted rural settlements in central Wales at the Leeds International Medieval Congress in July 1998, and three of the trusts have papers appearing in a volume on medieval or later rural settlement in the British Archaeological Reports series in the second half of 1999. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 658
Funded by Cadw in 1998/99
Updated October 1999


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Deserted Rural Sites

House

The aim in this, the fourth year of the project, was to complete the survey of Brecknock which had been started in the last quarter of 1998/99. The old county had a much larger number of relevant sites than any other area covered by the Trust, many of them in relatively remote upland areas. Previous fieldwork programmes were seen to be largely responsible for the high number of sites: by RCAHMW in the western Beacons, an area which became known on publication as Mynydd Du and Fforest Fawr, by the Royal Commission too in the preparation for its Brecknock Inventory, and through its aerial mapping programme on Mynydd Epynt; by Robin Skeates and his team on National Trust lands, initially in the Brecon Beacons to the east of the A470(T), and also on Abergwesyn Common near the Elan Valley reservoirs in the north of the county; and by the Trust itself in the Elan Valley in 1994 and in conjunction with the Brecon Beacons National Park in the Black Mountains in 1997 and 1998.

It was evident that with the time and resources available not all of the sites could be visited and a decision was taken at an early stage not to field visit those sites that had been adequately recorded by the Royal Commission in the Brecon Beacons or those sites previously examined by the Trust in the Elan Valley. Appropriate information was added to the site database from existing records.

The database for Brecknock currently contains 432 positive site records, an overall number which has tended to fluctuate during the course of the year but has generally moved upwards as new DRS sites were identified or known ones were broken down into their constituent elements when field visited. 367 site visits were made in addition to the 72 made in the previous year, but a significant number of sites, many of them from early records in the SMR, were removed from the database because they were not relevant to the present study.

For virtually every known site the record generated during fieldwork enhanced the existing record, and in addition considerable numbers of new long huts and platform sites were identified. This was the case in some of the valleys in the Beacons, and also on Mynydd Epynt where little fieldwork has previously been undertaken, particularly in the centre of the moorland block where live firing is normally an obstacle to access. For instance on the north side of the military range in the valley of Blaen Duhonw (SN 9746) three sites had been recognised from aerial photographs; a further six were found during fieldwork, and more than half the valley still remains to be examined. Because of the military use of Mynydd Epynt since the Second World War, the level of site preservation is generally exceptionally good and it a number of sites in this area will be recommended for statutory protection. Even in the Elan Valleys and on Abergwesyn Common nearly 50 of the 103 sites were first identified during the year.

Contrary to our aspirations, work in Brecknock was not complete by the end of the year. All of the sites targeted for visits in the Elan Valley/Abergwesyn Common area and in the western half of the Brecon Beacons were examined, as were virtually all the known sites on Mynydd Epynt. Sites in the Black Mountains and on Mynydd Llangatwg and Mynydd Llangynidr remain to be visited during 2000/01.

In addition and in response to the concern that had been expressed at various inter-Trust project meetings that attention tended to focus on the better preserved and more widely recognised settlement sites in the uplands, Cadw had suggested that a rapid identification survey on a block of lower, farmed land might be undertaken to establish whether significant numbers of settlements sites remained to be identified in such environments. Work in the previous year in Gwynedd reportedly saw a good return from such a survey and a similar study was advocated in Powys. From a shortlist the block of farmland north of Aberedw village in Radnorshire was selected for rapid survey for several reasons. Firstly, earlier fieldwork on the unenclosed commons around the village had demonstrated that a significant density of deserted settlement sites close to the boundary between the open hill land and the enclosed farmland beneath. Secondly, there were a group of interesting late 17th-century leases referring to intakes from the waste which it was hoped it might be possible to tie in with field remains. And arising from these points was the possibility that if the rapid survey did reveal further deserted settlement sites, all this evidence might be pulled together to advance our general understanding of settlement development and abandonment in one particular area. Thirdly, such is the natural topography of the parish that it was hoped that deserted settlement sites might reveal themselves as platforms.

The survey area was defined by the Edw on the south and the Wye on the west, the area covered being a little over 8 square kilometres. Overall the results from the survey were satisfactory, perhaps indeed rather more informative than had been anticipated. In total 39 new sites relevant to the deserted rural settlement programme were recorded and this has adjusted the picture with the balance between those sites on unenclosed common and those in farmed land altering fundamentally. Other archaeological features were also encountered including leats, holloways, quarries, abandoned 18th and 19th-century farmsteads, cottages and barns, one patch of cultivation ridges, a dam, a ring bank on a spur which might conceivably be prehistoric but could equally well be a beacon site, the site of a former railway station and the remains of a bridge.

The Trust is grateful to the many landowners and farmers in Brecknock and in the Aberedw area of Radnorshire who permitted access to their land during our surveys. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 658
Funded by Cadw in 1999/00
updated July 2000


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Deserted Rural Settlements

House

The aim in this, the fourth year of the project, was to complete the survey of Brecknock which had been started in the last quarter of 1998/99. The old county had a much larger number of relevant sites than any other area covered by the Trust, many of them in relatively remote upland areas. Previous fieldwork programmes were seen to be largely responsible for the high number of sites: by RCAHMW in the western Beacons, an area which became known on publication as Mynydd Du and Fforest Fawr, by the Royal Commission too in the preparation for its Brecknock Inventory, and through its aerial mapping programme on Mynydd Epynt; by Robin Skeates and his team on National Trust lands, initially in the Brecon Beacons to the east of the A470(T), and also on Abergwesyn Common near the Elan Valley reservoirs in the north of the county; and by the Trust itself in the Elan Valley in 1994 and in conjunction with the Brecon Beacons National Park in the Black Mountains in 1997 and 1998.

It was evident that with the time and resources available not all of the sites could be visited and a decision was taken at an early stage not to field visit those sites that had been adequately recorded by the Royal Commission in the Brecon Beacons or those sites previous examined by the Trust in the Elan Valley. Appropriate information was added to the site database from existing records.

The database for Brecknock currently contains 432 positive site records, an overall number which has tended to fluctuate during the course of the year but has generally moved upwards as new DRS sites were identified or known ones were broken down into their constituent elements when field visited. 367 site visits were made in addition to the 72 made in the previous year, but a significant number of sites, many of them from early records in the SMR, were removed from the database because they were not relevant to the present study.

For virtually every known site the record generated during fieldwork enhanced the existing record, and in addition considerable numbers of new long huts and platform sites were identified. This was the case in some of the valleys in the Beacons, and also on Mynydd Epynt where little fieldwork has previously been undertaken, particularly in the centre of the moorland block where live firing is normally an obstacle to access. For instance on the north side of the military range in the valley of Blaen Duhonw (SN 9746) three sites had been recognised from aerial photographs; a further six were found during fieldwork, and more than half the valley still remains to be examined. Because of the military use of Mynydd Epynt since the Second World War, the level of site preservation is generally exceptionally good and it a number of sites in this area will be recommended for tatutory protection. Even in the Elan Valleys and on Abergwesyn Common nearly 50 of the 103 sites were first identified during the year.

Contrary to our aspirations, work in Brecknock was not complete by the end of the year. All of the sites targeted for visits in the Elan Valley/Abergwesyn Common area and in the western half of the Brecon Beacons were examined, as were virtually all the known sites on Mynydd Epynt. Sites in the Black Mountains and on Mynydd Llangatwg and Mynydd Llangynidr remain to be visited during 2000/01.

In addition and in response to the concern that had been expressed at various inter-Trust project meetings that attention tended to focus on the better preserved and more widely recognised settlement sites in the uplands, Cadw had suggested that a rapid identification survey on a block of lower, farmed land might be undertaken to establish whether significant numbers of settlements sites remained to be identified in such environments. Work in the previous year in Gwynedd reportedly saw a good return from such a survey and a similar study was advocated in Powys. From a shortlist the block of farmland north of Aberedw village in Radnorshire was selected for rapid survey for several reasons. Firstly, earlier fieldwork on the unenclosed commons around the village had demonstrated that a significant density of deserted settlement sites close to the boundary between the open hill land and the enclosed farmland beneath. Secondly, there were a group of interesting late 17th-century leases referring to intakes from the waste which it was hoped it might be possible to tie in with field remains. And arising from these points was the possibility that if the rapid survey did reveal further deserted settlement sites, all this evidence might be pulled together to advance our general understanding of settlement development and abandonment in one particular area. Thirdly, such is the natural topography of the parish that it was hoped that deserted settlement sites might reveal themselves as platforms.

The survey area was defined by the Edw on the south and the Wye on the west, the area covered being a little over 8 square kilometres. Overall the results from the survey were satisfactory, perhaps indeed rather more informative than had been anticipated. In total 39 new sites relevant to the deserted rural settlement programme were recorded and this has adjusted the picture with the balance between those sites on unenclosed common and those in farmed land altering fundamentally. Other archaeological features were also encountered including leats, holloways, quarries, abandoned 18th and 19th-century farmsteads, cottages and barns, one patch of cultivation ridges, a dam, a ring bank on a spur which might conceivably be prehistoric but could equally well be a beacon site, the site of a former railway station and the remains of a bridge. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 658
Funded by Cadw in 1999/2000
updated October 2000


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Deserted Rural Settlements

House

Work has been undertaken during the first half of the financial year on the production of a synthesis of the fieldwork involving just over 1,300 sites in the Clwyd-Powys area over the last five years. The report is intended for publication in a monograph covering the work of the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts throughout Wales, together with contributions by Kate Roberts and Judith Alfrey of Cadw, to be published in the CBA's Research Report Series. A draft report is due for completion according to schedule in early September 2001, though the anticipated field survey work on a complex of relict field boundaries, cruck-built hallhouse and platform sites at Ty-draw, Llanarmon Mynydd Mawr, has had to be postponed due to the foot and mouth outbreak. Proposed field visits with Astrid Caseldine of the University of Wales, Lampeter, to look at the palaeoenvironmental context of a number of sites have also had to be postponed for the time being for this reason. The proposed publication of the CBA monograph will be in addition to the 'Caring for' booklet currently being produced by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust on behalf of the pan-Wales initiative. Two coordination meetings have been held with Cadw and the other Trusts so far this year and a further meeting is anticipated in November 2001. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 658
Funded by Cadw in 2001/02
updated October 2001


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Sites 2001/2002

Preliminary work has begun in the Clwyd-Powys area on this pan-Wales initiative to which each of the Welsh Trusts are contributing in the current financial year. The main focus of work during the first half of the year has been the creation of a project database from the Sites and Monuments Record maintained by CPAT and the enhancement of this record by looking at a range of other records including the National Monuments Record and a number of published and unpublished works. Assistance has been given by Mark Redknap of the National Museum of Wales and Nancy Edwards of University of Wales, Bangor, who have provided data on Early Christian inscribed and decorated stones. A coordination meeting involving Cadw and the Welsh Trusts was held in May 2001 and a second meeting is timetabled for November. An important matter for discussion been the development of system of identifying which sites have the greatest national or regional significance and archaeological potential, by looking at a range of attributes. A project report will be completed by the end of the financial year. It is hoped that, as scheduled, this will include the results of preliminary fieldwork, to be carried out later in the financial year, subject to foot and mouth restrictions. (Back to project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 930
Funded by Cadw in 2001/2002
updated October 2001


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Sites in mid and north-east Wales 2002/2003

In 2001/02 Cadw funded the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts to conduct a study of the evidence of early medieval ecclesiastical activity in their regions, in broad terms covering the period from the beginning of the 5th century AD to the end of the 11th century. This decision was in part a result of one of the more obvious lacunae identified by Musson and Martin in their 1998 report on the state of the archaeological resource in Wales as defined in the four regional Sites and Monuments Records.

The following principal aims of the project were identified: an assessment of the nature and prevalence of the evidence that relates to the early medieval ecclesiastical landscape; the identification, as objectively as possible, the major and the likely early ecclesiastical sites; the identification of potential sites of national importance with a view to recommending statutory protection; the compilation of data compatible across the four trusts in order to facilitate any future pan-Wales assessment; and finally, the enhancement and where necessary the modification of data held in the regional SMR.

The initial stage of the study comprised a detailed desk-top analysis of the early medieval evidence across mid and north-east Wales, utilising a wide range of data, archaeological, historical and place-name. It also defined a system of site grading, developed by three of the Trusts, to determine the relative standing of early churches and church sites in Wales. This formed the subject of the first report which was circulated in April 2003.

The second phase of the project, commenced during 2002/03, involved the field examination of potentially relevant sites. It was appreciated from the onset that the physical survival of early medieval ecclesiastical remains was both variable and thin, and that for a variety of site types, the existing information suggested that while the site itself might have an early medieval origin, the structure currently occupying that site was much more likely to be medieval or even later. For instance, of nearly one thousand historic church sites in Wales, many of which are thought to have originated in the pre-Conquest era, only one - Presteigne in central Powys - can be convincingly shown to have surviving fabric from that era. However, the sub-circular churchyards in which many of these churches are or were set, provides more substantive evidence of early medieval activity. Some of the sub-parochial chapel sites in the region - and curiously there are far fewer of these than in some western parts of Wales - may have their genesis in the early medieval centuries, but again physical traces from that period are absent. And holy wells which are frequently thought of as early medieval because of their frequent attribute of a British saint’s name are intrinsically undateable. On the other hand there are some site types such as early medieval inscribed stones and cross slabs where the chronological attribution is usually indisputable.

Fieldwork has focused on several abandoned churches which escaped the Cadw-funded historic church survey because they no longer functioned as places of worship. Several of them are likely to have had medieval fabric, and the remains of Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd (Denbighshire) and existing knowledge of Llanilltyd (Breconshire) support this contention, although it is highly improbable that anything remained of any early medieval predecessors. Much less can be said of Llangynog, Llanddewi Abergwesyn and Llanfihangel Abergwesyn (all Brececonshire) where the remains have been largely levelled. An exceptional site is Glasbury (Radnorshire). The present church is on the south bank of the Wye in Breconshire, but its predecessor had an unusual location, very close to the river. The ground here has been deliberately raised to create a triangular-shaped mound on which the church could be built, and the position of the latter is still evident in its north-west corner. From the remaining traces which show as linear depressions where stone has been robbed out and spoil cast to one or both sides, that church comprised a small nave and chancel. Presumably, the mound formed some sort of inner church enclosure or graveyard, but an earlier churchyard enclosure is still visible on the south side (see accompanying figure). Glasbury as its name suggests was a clas foundation, and traditionally its site was on an open common to the north where a holy well is situated. But that tradition is relatively recent and its location on the Wye flood plain is comparable with other early monastic establishments in Wales.

Chapels are not particularly prevalent in the region but three have been recorded in the parish of Crai (Brecknock), namely St Ilid’s chapel, Tan y Fedw and Cae Capel. Field visits have revealed that all are authentic chapels. St Ilid’s chapel was apparently demolished after its last use in 1880, when the modern Crai church was built on a new site. Tan y Fedw chapel has some surviving masonry and probable evidence of a sub-circular churchyard, 50-60 metres in diameter, surrounding the knoll on which it is situated. An ogee-headed stone window from it has been built into the wall of a nearby agricultural building. The remains of the chapel at Cae Capel in Cwmnewynydd only consist of the basal walling of a rectangular building and traces of an associated enclosure, but there are no visible architectural fragments which provide useful dating evidence.

Sub-circular churchyards were sporadically examined during the Churches Survey, and the present programme is able to build on the data that were gathered then. Several churchyards exhibit traces of previously unidentified relict boundaries: at Llandefalle (Breconshire), the rectangular churchyard perimeter on the south side of the church has always sat oddly with the curvilinear boundary to the north. An early curvilinear boundary, showing as a slight scarp has now been detected immediately to the south of the church. The polygonal enclosure surrounding the abandoned church at Llangynog (Breconshire) is a reflection of the insertion of a stone facing wall to the raised churchyard, perhaps in the post-medieval era, the original boundary showing as a rather more curvilinear terrace just outside it. Similar is Llandewi’r Cwm (Breconshire) where a measured survey depicts the earlier church enclosure within the later polygonal churchyard. Finally, we might note Forden church to the south of Welshpool, which has an incontrovertibly rectangular enclosure, implying that it is probably a post-Conquest foundation. However, the chance study of a 1783 estate map has revealed that the present churchyard is a 19th-century redesign. Forden previously had a sub-circular churchyard.

There are only a limited number of cemeteries and burial sites in the region and most of these have now been visited. One of very few such sites, not been revealed by excavation is that seem on an aerial photograph at Meusydd, Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant which appears to be an unenclosed group of graves; the site has not been dated, but from its appearance may well belong to the early medieval period. Needless to say there is no surface evidence of the graves, but this may be a site where further techniques such as geophysics or trial trenching could usefully be employed. One further site likely to represent a funerary monument of the period is the probable square-shaped barrow at Coed Bell, near Prestatyn, which could be an extant example of the type of early medieval burial found during excavations at Tandderwen. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 930
Funded by Cadw in 2002/2003
updated October 2003


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Sites in mid and north-east Wales 2003/2004

(Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 930
Funded by Cadw in 2003/2004
updated July 2005


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Sites in mid and north-east Wales 2004/2005

The final year of this project has involved the preparation of a paper for the conference held in Bangor in September 2004 on the archaeology of early medieval Celtic churches, and its preparation for publication as part of the conference proceedings. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 930
Funded by Cadw in 2004/2005
updated July 2005


CPAT Project
Erddig Midden Yard

CPAT was commissioned by The National Trust to undertake a stone-for-stone drawing and photographic survey of the Midden Yard and Lime Yard at Erddig, Wrexham. The aim was to produce an accurate and detailed record of the existing yard surface prior to considering proposals to relay the cobbles to provide safer visitor access. The original house was constructed for Joshua Erdisbury from 1684, with further additions by John Mellor in 1721-4. However, the Midden Yard probably dates from the construction of a new stable block by Philip Yorke in 1774. The survey was undertaken between July and December 1998 using an EDM to lay out an accurate grid, which then formed the basis for the drawn record at a scale of 1:20. The site drawings were subsequently reduced to 1:50 to provide a base for the final drawing. The photographic survey consisted of a series of overlapping oblique views taken from a height of approximately 10m, with the use of a 'cherry-picker'. The survey revealed that significant sections of the original surface still survive. In these areas the cobbles were laid in a series of rectangular blocks separated by larger stones, although not forming a regular design. However, several areas appear to have been re-laid, notably the main thoroughfare, together with a number of service trenches. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 791
Funded by the National Trust in 1998/99
Updated April 1999


CPAT Project
Erddig Motte and Bailey Castle Survey

CPAT was commissioned to undertake a detailed contour survey of the Erddig motte and bailey castle by the National Trust as an aid to management and visitor interpretation. The site lies in woodland to the north of the house and at the time of the survey was covered by fairly dense undergrowth and mature trees. The survey was conducted during January 1999, using a Leica TC500 EDM in conjunction with PenMap survey software. Little is known of the history of the site, although it may be 'Wrislesham', referred to in the sheriff's annual accounts of 1161. The park and grounds were landscaped for John Mellor during the 1720s and 30s by Stephen Switzer, whose plans included a castellated tower on the motte, serving as a summer house, together with a series of tree-lined walks in part following the bailey ditch. A survey by Thomas Badeslade in 1739 shows the tower as well as a formal avenue within the bailey. However, no trace survives of the tower or any other landscape features. The motte and bailey appears to have been constructed in part by utilising a natural promontory which was carved by deep ditches to form a defensive site. The motte survives to a height of c. 5.75m, with a diameter of 44m at the base and 17m at the top. This is separated from the bailey by a broad ditch 36m wide. The bailey has two entrances, one opposite the motte and the other at the south-west corner. Along the southern side the bailey is defended by a substantial ditch 34m wide and up to 8.5m deep. Rounded projections at the corners of the bailey and along the southern side may have been associated with towers. Wat's Dyke, which runs along the western side of the site, has been used as an additional defence forming a ditch up to 18m wide. (Back to past project index)
CPAT logo

CPAT Project 803
Funded by the National Trust in 1998/99
Updated April 1999


 Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Gaol Road, Montgomery

A watching brief conducted by CPAT in 1998 during the initial phase of a new housing development revealed evidence for a possible house platform along the Pool Road frontage of the plot. As a result, an evaluation was undertaken during June 1999 to investigate the rear of the plot and the frontage along Gaol Road. An L-shaped trench 2m wide and 15.7m in length was machine excavated to the base of post-medieval deposits. The evaluation produced no direct evidence for medieval occupation within the area investigated. It had been assumed that the course of the Shite Brook, a medieval open sewer, might have been located within the area although the results did not support this assumption. The stratigraphic evidence suggested that the earliest deposits consisted of hillwash and possible medieval cultivation deposits containing abraded medieval pottery. Above this, up to 1.1m of material had been dumped, possibly to form a causeway associated with the construction of Gaol Road around 1830. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 815
Funded by Cadw in 1999/01
updated October 2000


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

The Maelor Saesneg historic landscape defined in Register of Landscapes of Special Historic Interest in Wales covers parts of the modern communities of Bangor Is-y-coed, Overton, Willington Worthenbury, Hanmer, and Maelor South. For convenience, the present studies covers the whole the historic area of Maelor Saesneg to the east of the River Dee and therefore covers the full extent of each of these communities with in addition the community of Bronington, all of which fall within the modern county of Wrexham. A slightly revised methodology was developed for this particular project because of the particular landscape characteristics of the area. A Geographical Information System (GIS) workspace was created enabling the Regional Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) held and maintained by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust to be interrogated against modern Ordnance Survey (OS) raster (1:10,000) and vector (LandLine) map-bases. About 150 new SMR records were created for structures and sites other than buildings visible on these maps as well as upon modern OS 1:25,000 paper maps (Explorer series) and on the OS First Edition 6-inch maps. Special studies were also undertaken of marl pits and ridge and furrow which are particular characteristic of the past land-use history of Maelor Saesneg. Accordingly, point data for over 2,200 records of marl-pits were created from the paper and digital map sources listed above and polygonal data were created for just under 20 square kilometres of ridge and furrow visible on aerial photographs of the area. A series of 865 polygons were also created for landscape types, including fieldscapes, settlement, woodland, marginal land, parkland etc, according to a classification devised for the project, in order to enable general historical patterns of land-use to be formulated and as a basis for the definition of historic landscape character areas. A topographical model of the area was also created as a tool for historical landscape analysis. Limited fieldwork was undertaken to test the validity of the desk-based work and to provide ground-based photography. A single flight was undertaken to provide the aerial photographic images. The total of 17 historic landscape character areas have been defined within the historic landscape area. A special attempt was made to interface the characterization exercise with the Wrexham LANDMAP project being undertaken simultaneously by the County Archaeologist for Wrexham County Borough Council. This involved the reclassification of the base-level landscape types in terms of the recently revised LANDMAP historic landscape aspect in order that the characterization date could be made use of within LANDMAP. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 761
Funded by Cadw in 2002/03
Updated October 2003

Further information on Historic Landscapes can be found in our Longer Project Reports pages.


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Historic Landscape Characterization: Tanat Valley and Vale of Clwyd

CPAT HL areas

Historic landscape characterization projects were undertaken on two of the historic landscape character areas in the Register of Landscapes of Outstanding Historic Interest in Wales (Cadw 1998) - the Tanat Valley in northern Montgomeryshire and the Vale of Clwyd in Denbighshire. Project work included the following elements: a review of existing information in the Regional Sites and Monuments Record (SMR); a review of early cartographic evidence, including tithe maps, enclosure maps, and earlier editions of the Ordnance Survey maps; a review of published sources including local journals and a number of monographs for landscape information new to the SMR; a review of place-name evidence where information is available; rapid fieldwork to help define distinct historic landscape character areas within each historic landscape area, and to record information relating to current land-use, field boundary types, building types and use of materials; the creation of new SMR records from desktop study and fieldwork; report production.

In both the Tanat Valley and the Vale of Clwyd historic the studies have attempted to identify the key historic landscape components and the processes by which they have come into being, rather than providing a total landscape history. Historic landscape character areas have been defined on the basis of the past and present land-use history. Areas have therefore, for example, been defined on the basis of distinctive field medieval and later field patterns, the presence of extensive mining or industrial remains, and on the basis that the dominant historic landscape features are Iron Age hillforts or prehistoric funerary and ritual monuments. Reports on each of the areas studied include sections on the following: key historic landscape characteristics; the natural landscape; historical and administrative landscape; settlement landscapes; farming landscapes; communications; industry and commerce; legendary and spiritual associations; ornamental and picturesque landscapes; together with descriptions of individual character areas and a bibliography. In the case of the Tanat Valley study it has also proved possible with the extensive use of GIS mapping to produce a digital model of the historic landscape which can be interrogated at various levels.

The immediate purpose of the studies is to contribute to the management of the historic landscape. It is anticipated that the studies will be particularly valuable in responding to requests for management advice resulting from Tir Gofal, the new pan-Wales agri-enviroment scheme, which is due to commence in April 1999.

Parallel studies are being undertaken by the three other Welsh Archaeological Trusts, and in order to establish uniformity in recording and presentation a number of co-ordination meetings were held with staff of Cadw and Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) during the course of the year. Work on the Vale of Clwyd study was undertaken in parallel with the LANDMAP project being undertaken by Denbighshire County Council with support from CCW. Staff attended a number of meetings during the course of the year to consider methodology with a view to co-ordinating the results of landscape characterisation project being undertaken by CPAT in the Vale of Clwyd and the historic environment elements of the Denbighshire LANDMAP project.

Final reports on both studies will be completed early in 1999/00, once a number of technical problems concerning the scale and copyright of the mapping has been resolved, and once compatibility has been achieved with the Denbighshire LANDMAP project. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 761
Funded by Cadw in 1998/99
Updated October 1999

Further information on Historic Landscapes can be found in our Longer Project Reports pages.


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Historic Landscape Charaterization: Vale of Montgomery and Halkyn Mountain-Holywell Common

CPAT HL areas

The project is being undertaken as part of a pan-Wales study by the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts in conjunction with Cadw and the Countryside Council for Wales, working from the basis of areas defined in Part One of the Historic Landscapes Register. These two new areas were studied by CPAT in 1999/00, following on from the studies undertaken in the Vale of Clwyd and the Tanat Valley in the 1998/99 financial year.

Although there is no universally accepted standard for historic landscape characterization, the methodology that has been adopted and is being developed in Wales is based on a practical approach, taking into account a wide range of influences which have helped to shape the landscape including settlement patterns, field boundary patterns, extractive and manufacturing industries, military and defensive works, transport and communication, and parks and gardens. The main purpose of landscape characterization is to help in developing landscape management strategies which can be taken up by initiatives such as the Tir Gofal scheme, by identifying typical or important historical elements and patterns in the historic environment, stimulating further research, raising public perception of the landscape, and the preparation of policy statements by public bodies.

Both the Vale of Montgomery and Halkyn Mountain elements of the project initially involved an analysis of existing historic landscape data contained within the Sites and Monuments Record (SMR), followed by desk-based studies involving local journals, published sources, and cartographic sources for the capture of additional historical and archaeological data, particularly with a landscape dimension. The Vale of Montgomery area spans the border between England and Wales and in this instance a project database was created which included data sets kindly made available by Shropshire County Council as well as from the Powys SMR maintained by CPAT.

In the case of the Vale of Montgomery desk-based studies involved collecting information from Montgomeryshire Collections and the Shropshire Archaeological Society Transactions, early editions of the Ordnance Survey, tithe apportionments and enclosure awards. A total of 629 new records were created, particularly relating to field patterns, vernacular architecture, industrial activity, and communications. In the case of the Halkyn Mountain landscape area the focus was upon early industrial history and here the primary sources included early cartographic evidence, vertical air photo coverage, and publications by the British Geological Survey. Also of particular value was Bryn Ellis's recently published book, The History of Halkyn Mountain, subtitled The mountain with lead in its veins, published in Halkyn in 1998. During the course of the project about 4,883 new records relating to the historic landscape of Halkyn Mountain and Holywell Common were added to the project database, including mine shafts, mine buildings, leats, reservoirs, tramways, whim circles and lime kilns.

Fieldwork was undertaken to help in the definition of character areas. It also enabled photographic recording to be undertaken as well as the recording of field boundary types and building materials and the recording of some new sites added to the SMR. A single flight in a light aircraft was made in the Vale of Montgomery for the purposes of providing illustrative material. A total of 19 character areas were defined in the Vale of Montgomery, including the following landscape types: areas of river meanders along the Severn in Trehelig-gro; low-lying meadows and wetlands along the Camlad and Caebitra streams in the Ffls, Gwern-y-go, and Wernddu character areas; a deep glacial gorge represented by Marrington Dingle; farming landscapes focused on early medieval and medieval nucleated settlements, as in the case of Yr Ystog, Hyssington, and Chirbury; landscapes with scattered farms, some with origins in the early medieval period, as at Gunley, Pen-y-lan, Aldress, Weston Madoc, Ffridd Faldwyn, and Cwm; a planted medieval town in Trefaldwyn; a late medieval hunting park and subsequent parkland landscape at Lymore; a 19th-century cottage landscape deriving from the enclosure of the lowland commons at Forden; enclosed upland commons in the case of Pantglas; and small areas of mountain pasture at Todleth. In the case of Halkyn Mountain the historic landscape is considered to form a single character area dominated by 18th- and 19th-century mining remains. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 761
Funded by Cadw in 1999/2001
updated October 2000

Further information on Historic Landscapes can be found in our Longer Project Reports pages.


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Historic Landscape Charaterization: Mynydd Hiraethog

CPAT HL areas

The project represents a continuation of the pan-Wales Historic Landscape Characterization project, to include Mynydd Hiraethog, the last remaining landscape in the Clwyd-Powys area in Part One of the Historic Landscapes Register in the Clwyd-Powys area, following similar studies involving the Vale of Clwyd, the Tanat Valley, the Halkyn-Holywell Mountain, the Vale of Montgomery, and the Middle Wye Valley. The preliminary stages of the project have now been completed and have involved a definition of the historic landscape area within a GIS, the creation of a project database from the CPAT and GAT Sites and Monuments Records (SMR), the enhancement of SMR data from published cartographic sources including 1st and 2nd editions of the OS 6-inch survey and modern 1:25,000 maps, and the creation of digital data showing the extent of enclosed land and ecclesiastical parish boundaries on the Tithe. Work still to be undertaken includes a literature search for additional SMR enhancement data, aerial photographic survey, definition of provisional historic landscape character areas and fieldwork and fieldwork recording, and report production. Other elements of the project include making available a number of previous reports on the Trust's bilingual website and the production of leaflets on the Vale of Clwyd and Vale of Montgomery landscapes. A coordination meeting involving Cadw and the other Welsh Trusts was held earlier in the year, with a second meeting is timetabled for September. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 761
Funded by Cadw in 2001/2002
updated October 2001

Further information on Historic Landscapes can be found in our Longer Project Reports pages.


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Historic Landscape Charaterization, 2003/2004: Elan Valley

CPAT HL areas

Information on the Elan Valley and other Historic Landscapes can be found via our Longer Project Reports pages. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 761
Funded by Cadw in 2003/2004
updated July 2005


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Historic Landscape Charaterization, 2004/05: Berwyn and the Vale of Llangollen

Continuation of the pan-Wales Historic Landscape Characterization project in 2004/05 took in the Berwyn and Vale of Llangollen landscapes which are in Part Two of the Historic Landscapes Register. CPAT HL areas

Information on the other Historic Landscapes can be found via our Longer Project Reports pages. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 761
Funded by Cadw in 2004/2005
updated July 2005


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Historic Landscape Charaterization, 2005/06: Middle Usk Valley

CPAT HL areas

The aim of the study is to provide a fuller and more detailed characterization of the Middle Usk Valley historic landscape area as defined in the Historic Landscapes Register. A MapInfo 6 workspace was created, within which the Regional Historic Environment Record (HER) held and maintained by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust could be interrogated against both historic and modern Ordnance Survey (OS) raster (1:10,000) and vector (LandLine) map-bases. As part of an initial study MapInfo polygons were drawn, representing historic landscape types, defining settlements, field types and other land use types. These were classified according to a system devised for the project, which formed base-level data for this study. A topographical model of the area was also created as a tool for landscape analysis. A total of 8 historic landscape character areas were defined (detailed below), representing discrete geographical areas of broadly consistent historic character represented physically by a dominant land use or form of settlement, for example, informed by the datasets noted above, or by the cultural associations which are recognised as being particular strong within this historic landscape area.

The study was primarily desk-based, drawing upon information in the regional Historic Environment Record maintained by CPAT and in readily available published sources. Limited fieldwork was undertaken to test the validity of the desk-based assessment and to provide ground-based photography. A single aircraft flight was undertaken by Nigel Jones of CPAT to provide photographic images of the landscape from the air. The identification of unrecorded sites of archaeological or historical significance and the confirmation of sites already identified was beyond the scope of the project and was not attempted.

The results of the study were presented in a paper report for limited circulation. The first section of the report provides a thematic narrative of the development of the Middle Usk Valley landscape, looking at the natural landscape and historical and administrative boundaries, the history of land use and settlement, the impact of the industrial revolution and improvements to transport and communications, and finally the question of cultural associations. This is followed by a description of individual historic landscape character areas, accompanied by a list of essential sources and a location map. Photographs of character areas are presented in a subsequent section. A bilingual version of the report will be available in due course on the CPAT website as part of the historic landscape characterization initiative. An illustrated leaflet about the historic landscape will also be produced in due course.

The following character areas were defined as part of the project: Llanspyddid (medium and large-sized regularly-shaped fields occupying the floor and lower slopes of the Usk, lower Ysgir and Aberbrân valleys west of Brecon, with small medieval church settlements at Llanspyddid and Aberysgir and elements of transport history associated with Roman roads, post-medieval roads, and the railway); Pen-y-crug (diverse, undulating landscape to the north and west of Brecon with predominantly irregular fields, and areas of conifer woodland and unenclosed hilltop common, broken by small stream valleys, with prehistoric and Roman defensive structures including the large Pen-y-crug and Coed Fenni-fach Iron Age hillforts and Brecon Gaer Roman fort); Brecon (large nucleated settlement of medieval origin alongside the river Usk, first established in the late 11th century alongside the castle built by Bernard de Newmarché following the Norman conquest, later becoming one of the largest towns in Wales in the 17th century and the county town of Breconshire); Llan-ddew (undulating lowland fieldscapes to the east and north-east of Brecon, composed of large to medium-sized regular fields, probably of medieval and later origin, together with the shrunken medieval village of Llan-ddew and a number of widely dispersed larger post-medieval farms and possibly later prehistoric hillfort and enclosure); Tal-y-llyn (undulating lowland fringing the northern side of the Usk valley and including part of the watershed of the river Llynfi. Landscape of predominantly medium to large-sized irregular fields, dispersed farmsteads and small church settlements of early medieval and medieval origin. Early settlement and land-use indicated by prehistoric burial and ritual monuments. Small post-medieval settlements relating to now-abandoned 19th century tramroad and railways; Pencelli-Talybont (landscape of large, low-lying irregular fields, probably representing relatively late enclosure of former common meadows on the broad alluvial floodplain of the Usk between Brecon and Talybont-on-Usk, with complex and active system of river meanders and cutoffs, crossed by the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, and including the small nucleated settlements of medieval origin at Llanfrynach, Pencelli, and Talybont-on-Usk. Significant Roman villa complex at Maesderwen near Llanfrynach); Llangorse Lake (large, natural late glacial lake which formed a central feature in pre-Norman Brycheiniog and is now the focus for nature conservation and watersports. The lake is associated with much early folklore and with artificial island or crannog unique to Wales which formed an early medieval royal residence. Evidence of much earlier, Mesolithic activity and sediments of significant regional palaeoenvironmental potential; Cathedine (regularly partitioned fieldscape on the western slopes of Mynydd Troed and Mynydd Llan-gors overlooking Llangorse Lake, with scattered farms, probably enclosed in later medieval and early post-medieval period. Early prehistoric activity indicated by lithic finds. Abandoned and derelict house sites).

Information on the other Historic Landscapes can be found via our Longer Project Reports pages. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 761
Funded by Cadw in 2005/06
updated October 2006


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Historic Ports and Harbours in North East Wales

Queensferry

Historic ports and harbours have played an important role in Welsh history, although their natural and extent is often not well understood. Many important sites have considerable potential for archaeological remains, whether upstanding, buried or submerged, and these are becoming increasingly threatened by development. The present study has therefore been designed to provide a detailed assessment of this important archaeological resource to improve our understanding of ports and harbours, their development, significance and potential, providing a baseline from which to develop future management strategies.

The project is being undertaken in two phases, commencing with a scoping study and detailed case studies of ports along the river Dee New Cut. The second phase will continue the case studies to include the remaining ports within the area.

The north-east Wales coast, and the Dee Estuary in particular, has a rich concentration of small ports and harbours which are important to our understanding of communications, trade and industry in this area. The project includes a variety of ports and quays, including the medieval ports associated with Rhuddlan and Flint, those harbours listed in the Welsh port books of 1550–1603, and those which developed during the 18th and 19th centuries following the industrialisation of the Dee Estuary hinterland, most of which are no longer active. Also included, on the basis of their archaeological potential, are the conjectured Roman ports at Prestatyn and Flint.

There is ample evidence to suggest that the Welsh coast has been an important resource since prehistoric times. However, the present study focuses not on the use of the coast, but on the growth of ports harbours and quays which are assumed to have developed from the Roman period onwards.

Although there is no direct evidence for Roman ports within the study area it is clear that the River Dee in particular was a significant waterway during the period, providing maritime access to Chester. The excavations undertaken at Prestatyn and Flint have, however, led to the suggestion that both may have been associated with nearby ports.

During the medieval period the construction of the Edwardian castle at Flint from 1277 and the founding of the adjacent borough depended heavily on the use of the river as a means of transport and there is evidence that both the castle and town had their own quays. Indeed, the castle could still be reached by sizeable vessels as late as the mid-19th century. At Rhuddlan too, Edward founded a castle and borough in the same year as Flint, the importance of coastal access being clearly demonstrated by the cutting of a new channel for the river Clwyd through marshland to the east of its original course. The Welsh port books of between 1550-1603 provide a valuable source of information on the nature of post-medieval ports in the area which, in 1566, lists Welsh Lake, Wepra Pool, Picton Pool and Foryd as the only havens along the coast of Flintshire. There are no recorded landing places in Denbighshire which should not, however, be taken to imply that coastal trade and activity were entirely lacking. Instead, although the coastline of the county does not present any natural harbours, its beaches do offer ample places where small fishing or trading vessels can be drawn up onto the foreshore, and this is likely to have been the case at Abergele, Llanddulas and Llandrillo-yn-Rhos.

By the 15th century the Dee was already affected by silting and the earliest account of difficulties is a ‘Royal Brief’ in 1449 which assessed the City of Chester and proposed the construction of a quay at Neston for the transfer of cargoes into smaller vessels. A survey by Captain Andrew Yarranton in 1674, published in 1677 and entitled England’s Improvement by Sea and Land, concluded that the river was so choked with sand that a vessel of twenty tons could not reach Chester, proposing the construction of a new channel along the Flintshire shore to provide deep water navigation to Chester. At this time the deep water channel followed the Cheshire shore, with the Flintshire shore largely consisting of the mudflats of Saltney Marsh.

The river Dee New Cut, was eventually constructed in 1737, following the existing southern bank from Chester to Saltney and then, after a slight bend, a straight line to Golftyn along the Flintshire shore. A stone pier was built at Golftyn for the protection of vessels proceeding to and from Chester and waiting for a fair wind, and this formed the nucleus of what became the port of Connah’s Quay. The New Cut was responsible for the birth of Saltney, Sandycroft, Queensferry and Connah’s Quay, affording easy water communication for the importation of materials to the hinterland and the export of coal and minerals to Chester, Ireland and as far as northern France and Spain.

The development of the railway network from the mid 19th century brought further expansion for most of the ports, particularly Connah’s Quay and Mostyn. During the same period, however, Rhuddlan began to decline due to silting of the river Clwyd, which in turn led to the growth of Foryd. With the exception of Rhuddlan, the ports were at their peak during the late 19th and early 20th centuries as the industries on which they had been founded also prospered. It was the subsequent decline in the local industries of coal, lead, brick, engineering and shipbuilding that marked the end for all of the smaller ports, so that today only Mostyn has survived as a major port, and indeed has seen recent expansion. Connah’s Quay also remains active, although a shadow of its former self, while the other small ports have all but disappeared. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 1264
Funded by Cadw in 2005/06
updated October 2006


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CPAT Project
Lithics Scatters

Desktop work has been carried out on this project as anticipated in the first half of the financial year, for the purpose of enhancing the database of lithic scatter sites in the Clwyd-Powys area, following the work undertaken by the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust (GAT) and Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust (GGAT) in previous financial years. Work has involved an interrogation of records in the Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) maintained by CPAT, the National Monuments Record and an assessment of records in museum collections in the National Museum of Wales, and in Brecon, Llandrindod Wells and Welshpool. As a result of the project work during the current year the number of records of all kinds for the Clwyd-Powys area, including single finds, fieldwork scatters and finds from excavations has risen dramatically to about 1130, an increase of about 50% in the number of records in the SMR at the beginning of the project. A coordination meeting with Cadw, the other Trusts and Dr Stephen Aldhouse-Green of the University of Wales, Newport, was held earlier in the year, and a further meeting is to be held in November 2001. A report on the work carried out during the year will be produced by the end of the current financial year. It is anticipated that some fieldwork looking at the current land-use of a number of lithic scatter sites will be undertaken in the latter part of the financial year, depending upon foot and mouth restrictions. An 'Introducing' leaflet on the question of lithic scatter sites is currently being prepared for Cadw by the GAT. It is hoped that further fieldwork including sampling of the kind undertaken by GAT in 2000/01 and by GGAT in the current financial year will be carried out in the CPAT area next year. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 928
Funded by Cadw in 2001/02
updated October 2001


CPAT Project
Llanasa Pipeline: Assessment

The proposed construction of a new 4.5 km sewage pumping main between Prestatyn (SJ 07898410) and Talacre (SJ 24588335) led to an archaeological field evaluation being undertaken along a section of the pipeline to the west of Gronant. The general area consists of an expanse of peat deposits that have developed behind a coastal sand-dune complex, and similar peats have been traced intermittently for some distance to the west. The nearby site of Nant Hall Road, Prestatyn, contains evidence of Neolithic human activity in the form of shell-middens, which have been radiocarbon-dated to about 4700 BP and 4890 BP. Pollen data are also available from this, and from Melyd Avenue, Prestatyn, which provide a record of vegetational changes in this near coastal area throughout parts of the later prehistoric and historic periods. The evaluation was undertaken during October 1999, and consisted of a transect survey using a manual single gouge auger to take core samples every 20m along a 850m section of the proposed pipeline corridor. Field examination of material from selected auger profiles showed the deposits typically to consist of a thin topsoil underlain by variable thicknesses of peat. Woody material was evident in some of the profiles from the eastern part of the transect but, apart from occasional fragments of sedge and reed material, plant macrofossils were generally scarce. In a number of profiles, sandy material was found, either embedded within, or distributed throughout the peats. Small pieces of shell were also observed. These materials are almost certainly a result of episodic sand blow from dunes immediately to the north, and subsequent incorporation of these sediments and shell fragments into the aggrading peats. There was no evidence of archaeological material in any of the auger profiles. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 847
Funded by Welsh Water in 1999/00
updated July 2000


CPAT Project
Llanymynech Golf Club 13th Green

Proposals to re-development the 13th green at Llanymynech Golf Club led to an archaeological evaluation being undertaken during October 1999. The site concerned lay close to the western edge of Llanymynech Hillfort (SJ26092194). The evaluation involved the excavation of a T-shaped trench within the area of the present green. The excavation revealed a number of significant features including the partial plan of a round hut, consisting of a curving drainage gully up to 13m in diameter, within which three pits were identified which may have been post holes for the main structural timbers. There was also considerable evidence for prehistoric metalworking, with fragments of furnace lining and part of a crucible, together with metallurgical residues, demonstrating that copper alloy working took place somewhere in the immediate area. The significance of these deposits can only be determined through specialist analysis, although obviously adding further to the existing evidence uncovered in 1981 for metalworking within the hillfort from the 4th century BC to the 1st century AD. Other artefacts included 16 flints recovered from the surface of the natural subsoil and from the fill of the drainage gully, an upper stone from a saddle quern, and quantities of animal bone. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 842
Funded by Llanymynech Golf Club in 1999/00
updated July 2000


CPAT Project
Metal Mines in mid and north-east Wales: Publication

Continued revisions of report for publication of the Trust’s survey work on metal mining sites in the Clwyd-Powys region, with a view to publication in the Council for British Archaeology’s Research Report Series, following receipt of comments and advice from Cadw’s industrial archaeology specialist. Work undertaken included extensive editorial work and text enhancement, revisions to existing artwork, commissioning of a limited number of new drawings, and the commissioning of a number of photographic prints. The draft report will be completed and submitted for publication in 2003/04. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 983
Funded by Denbighshire County Council in 2002/03
updated October 2003


CPAT Project
Moel Findeg: Assessment

The proposal by Denbighshire County Council to create a Local Nature Reserve on Moel Findeg (SJ206612), led to a detailed archaeological survey being undertaken in area on the western part of Moel Findeg, to the east of the village of Maeshafn. A desk based study suggested that the area remained unenclosed and essentially undeveloped at least until the Tithe Survey of 1838, after which lead mining became an important local industry. The main period of mining interest is associated with the development of the Maeshafn Mine, and in particular with developments around Grosvenor Shaft. Within the study area, this led to the construction of a series of substantial reservoirs and associated leats, the remains of which survive in woodland. Five small shafts have also been identified within the area. Lead mining ceased at Maeshafn in 1906-7, after which the area was the subject of several leases for silica extraction, which continued into the 1940s, and the remains of several quarries, a possible incline, a magazine and other associated features survive. A series of relict field banks and walls were also identified, apparently dating from the latter part of the 19th century. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 818
Funded by Denbighshire County Council in 1999/00
updated July 2000


CPAT Project
Mynydd y Ffynnon

The Mynydd y Ffynnon landscape survey has developed over the last three years as a joint programme of work by CPAT and Cambria Archaeology with funding from the European Union and the RCAHMW. An upland massif on the border between Ceredigion and Powys, east of Devil's Bridge, it has already seen an in-depth desktop assessment, a detailed study of all available aerial photography, and three separate fieldwork surveys. During 1998/99 further fieldwork was undertaken on land on the western side of the massif in the vicinity of Cwmystwyth (Ceredigion), revealing platforms and long huts, mining remains, one possible ring cairn and a number of other features. Prospecting work in the extensive conifer plantations on the massif yielded additional long huts, including one in Powys, leat systems and dams, and mining features. The forest work was supplemented by a Forest Enterprise's Welsh Heritage Assets (WHA) programme, undertaken with financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which sought to assess known sites in the forestry of Mynydd y Ffynnon. These totalled 171 site records, 14 of which were for Powys, the rest for Ceredigion, though several large mine complexes accounted for over 40% of the records. All of the sites were visited to record their condition, potential threat, and brief management recommendations.

The Mynydd y Ffynnon scheme is seen by ADAS and Forest Enterprise, the largest landowners on this upland block as 'a pilot scheme for the uplands aimed at restoring indigenous upland habitats and their wildlife conservation whilst ensuring that there are true economic returns for forestry and agriculture and hence the rural economy of the same area'. The identification of the archaeology of the area and the attention paid to the historic environment by both major landowners resulted in the submission of a final report with detailed management prescriptions for the sites within the forestry and on the open moorlands. Discussions on these recommendations will continue into the next financial year. Over three years the Mynydd y Ffynnon programme has generated a considerable amount of data, much of it completely new. It is hoped that an academic report will produced on the work in due course. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 780
Funded by Welsh Office/ADAS in 1998/99
Updated April 1999


CPAT Project
North Radnorshire Commons Upland Survey

With funding under the Upland Initiative provided by RCAHMW, CPAT continued its regular programme of upland field surveys with an examination of two discrete blocks of upland common in central Powys during the autumn and winter of 1998/99. The more northerly common with Cilfaesty Hill at its centre lies at the extreme northern tip of the historic county of Radnorshire, only a few miles from Newtown and the Severn Valley; four kilometres to the south is a second block focused on Moelfre and Tynybriniau Hills. Together they extend over more than 14km2 of which 13.4km2 was examined. Both are part of the Crown Estate and we are grateful to the Crown Commissioners for permitting access.

Twenty-nine sites were recorded in the regional SMR in the two areas prior to survey, a figure which has increased to 289 as a result of an initial programme of AP mapping followed by systematic fieldwork. Some of the known sites were found to have inadequate records: of 13 barrows and cairns, only 9 were determined as authentic, the others the result of duplicated records or natural features mistaken for archaeology. Also an enclosure, previously attributed to the Iron Age, was found to have an internal ditch and is more likely to be a fold of medieval or post-medieval origin.

The majority of new archaeological data relates to the historic period; previously four settlement sites were known, now there are 23. Considerable numbers of platforms and long huts were identified, together with pounds and enclosures, and extensive traces of cultivation ridges. Most of this settlement activity lay close to the edges of the commons. Leats, quarries, peat cutting and boundary stones were also encountered.

These surveys in northern Radnorshire balance those which were done on the commons in southern Radnorshire in 1996/97 (CPAT Report 234). The results are similar, the earlier exercise producing 262 sites of which 26 were previously recorded, with again a strong medieval and post-medieval settlement component. On the basis of these two surveys it is evident that the discrete blocks of upland which constitute the Radnorshire Commons are rich in remains, particularly of the historic period, and that much more fieldwork with a guaranteed return is required to establish the totality of the archaeological resource. A report has be submitted to the RCAHMW (CPAT Report 316). (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 782
Funded by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Remains of Wales in 1998/99
Updated April 1999


CPAT Project
Old Mill, Nantglyn

A watching brief was undertaken in August 1999 during the alteration and extension of a former water mill, with the remains of a wooden water wheel and pulley system surviving. The building consists of the mill house within which were the remains of the pit-wheel housing wall and the wooden sack hoist pulley and its housing below. Adjacent to the mill house was a former grain drying kiln probably used for drying oats before milling. Externally, the wheelpit had been infilled and the wheel removed. The overshot wheel was formerly fed by launders from the millpond situated to the south-west of the mill. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 828
Funded by private developer in 1999/00
updated July 2000


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Prehistoric funerary and ritual sites in Denbighshire and E Conwy

CS97/47/22

The project essentially involved a continuation of rapid assessment of form and condition of prehistoric funerary and ritual sites in Denbighshire and eastern Conwy for enhancement of the Regional Sites and Monuments Record and for Scheduled Ancient Monument enhancement programme, continuing similar project work being undertaken in the Upper Severn in Montgomeryshire during 1997/98.

Some reorganisation of the project was inevitable following the departure of Dr Alex Gibson to the Central Archaeological Services department of English Heritage, since as well as completing the work programme included in the original project proposal it also became necessary to complete the project report on the Upper Severn Valley, commenced in the previous financial year and the synthesis of the Upper Severn Valley study for submission to Montgomeryshire Collections, as well as fulfilling outstanding commitments to the completion of the Walton project.

The survey of prehistoric and funerary monuments in Denbighshire and East Conwy follows the format adopted for a similar survey in the Upper Severn Valley (Gibson 1998). It was designed as a comprehensive study of Neolithic and Bronze Age sepulchro-ritual monuments in the region and was based on the existing Sites and Monuments Records (SMR). No new fieldwork was undertaken although previously unrecorded sites were noted during some of the site visits and have subsequently been added to the SMR.

The project was undertaken between October 1998 and March 1999. The SMR was interrogated to produce a database of all sites which potentially fell into the category of Neolithic or Bronze Age funerary and/or ritual sites. This was based on an extract of site types falling within the scope of the study. The initial extract produced 597 sites, which included a number of records which were for multiple sites, as well as 40 place-names and 35 sites recorded as destroyed.

These sites were then critically assessed, taking into account the SMR description and any readily available published or other written sources such as CPAT site visit forms or Cadw Field Monument Warden's reports. All sites within the initial database were thoroughly examined with the intention of enhancing the SMR by improving the detail and accuracy of records, regardless of their inclusion or exclusion from the final project database. Having assessed the existing records, 130 sites were discounted as being either of a type and/or period unrelated to the study.

As many sites as possible were visited, with the exception of those which were recorded as having been destroyed. In all, a total of 294 sites were visited, including some 50 scheduled sites. Permission for access was only refused by one landowner, affecting three sites. Although access to the Foelas Estate, affecting 59 sites, has not been granted in time to undertake visits during the current financial year, it is hoped that permission will be forthcoming during April 1999.

New site details and details of current land-use and the condition of the monument were recorded on site visit forms in the field, the information subsequently being added to the project database. Photographs of individual sites were taken as and when appropriate. Details from the site visit forms were subsequently entered into the SMR to update the existing record and provide a basis for the project report. As a result of the field visits a number of previously unrecorded sites were added to the database, while 51 sites were subsequently excluded, giving a final total of 382 sites.

As a result of the project work a significant number of sites will now be recommended for scheduling, including 34 round barrows, 2 stone circles, 2 stone rows, and a cist. Several sites are now being considered for detailed ground surveys during the next financial year as an aid to scheduling, management and interpretation. Other recommendations include de-scheduling a number of sites which have either been destroyed or which are now considered to be non archaeological. (Back to past project index)

References Gibson, A M, 1998. Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites: Upper Severn Valley, CPAT Report No 277.
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CPAT Project 715
Funded by Cadw in 1998/99
Updated October 1999


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites: Flintshire and Wrexham

CS97/47/22

The study involved a continuation of the rapid assessment of prehistoric funerary and ritual sites which has so far covered the Upper Severn in Montgomeryshire, together with Denbighshire and East Conwy. From April 2000 the study will be adopted by the other Welsh Archaeological Trusts to form a pan-Wales project with funding provided by Cadw. As such, it is hoped that the whole of Wales will be surveyed in a similar manner to those areas already examined, the study being completed within five or six years.

The first comprehensive surveys of prehistoric funerary and ritual monuments in Flintshire and Wrexham were published by Canon Ellis Davies in 1929 and 1949 who identified a significant number of sites, giving a descriptive account, together with historical details where available. Indeed, many of the sites owe their initial identification to Davies's seminal work.

The project was undertaken between April 1999 and March 2000. The survey was based on the existing Sites and Monuments Record (SMR), with no new fieldwork being undertaken. The SMR was interrogated to produce a database of all sites which potentially fell into the category of Neolithic or Bronze Age funerary and/or ritual sites. This was based on an extract of site types falling within the scope of the study, and comprised an initial total of 448 sites. Based on the SMR details, these sites were critically assessed, taking into account any readily available published or other written sources. In all, 342 sites were visited, recording the form of the monument, together with landuse and vegetation, and including a critical assessment of the survival, archaeological potential, condition and vulnerability.

The reassessment of monuments during the project has led to significant revisions of the existing records, recategorising and redescribing sites according to revised monument type definitions (see below). The results have been used to produce a summary of the relative numbers of sites and possible sites in each of the prehistoric funerary and ritual monument type currently listed in the regional SMR, together with the current number of scheduled sites.

As expected, round barrows comprise by far the largest number of sites (225 sites), accounting for 79% of all sites. The relatively low number of ring ditches (14 sites) may be attributed to the general lack of cropmark sites noted below. All other monument types represented within the study area are present in comparatively small numbers, with the exception of standing stones (22).

The general distribution of sites shows a marked concentration in northern Flintshire consisting of 151 sites lying on the undulating plateau overlooking the Dee Estuary. It is also noticeable that the area contains a significant number of large round barrows (over 60m diameter), including Gop Cairn (PRN 102207), which is the largest such site in Wales, measuring 100m by 68m and 12m in height.

There are very few sites which survive intact or nearly so (8%), and the majority of sites (56%) have suffered at least some damage, generally as a result of ploughing, robbing for stone, or antiquarian investigation. 30 sites are recorded as destroyed and a further 31 nearly so.

An assessment of the fragility and vulnerability of monuments has indicated that the majority (70%) are of medium or low fragility, while 60 sites were thought to be highly fragile. In terms of vulnerability, the majority (79%) are of medium or low vulnerability, while only 43 sites were thought to be highly vulnerable. Considered together, there are 38 sites which appeared to be both highly fragile and highly vulnerable.

As a result of the project 64 sites will now be put forward for scheduling, including 55 round barrows, 5 standing stones, 2 ring ditches, a henge and a stone setting. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 715
Funded by Cadw in 1999/2001
Updated October 2000


CPAT Project
Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites: South Radnorshire

CS97/47/22

The project in the current year is a continuation of the pan-Wales project of rapid assessment for sites within southern Radnorshire and the Dyfi catchment of Montgomeryshire, to enhance the Regional Sites and Monuments Record and for the Scheduled Ancient Monument enhancement programme. As in previous years, it was intended that the project would involve an initial analysis of sites listed in the Regional Sites and Monuments Record followed by rapid field visits to assess the form and condition of sites to enable management and scheduling recommendations to be made. The desktop element of the project is now complete, indicating a total number of sites of 387 sites in these two areas of which about 12% are scheduled, and which it is anticipated 379 will need to be visited. Additionally, about 40 standing stones still need to be visited in Denbighshire. Due to the foot and mouth outbreak it has so far proved impossible to carry out any of the fieldwork and consequently a revised programme was submitted to and approved by Cadw for the second quarter of the financial year which allowed for a start to be made on desktop work on sites in Brecknockshire. It now seems unlikely that a start can be made on fieldwork before at least the last quarter of the financial year, but there is a possibility that fieldwork will have to be abandoned altogether in the present financial year due to the foot and mouth outbreak. A single coordination meeting with Cadw and the other Trusts was held earlier in the year. A second coordination meeting is timetabled for September. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 715
Funded by Cadw in 1999/2001
Updated October 2001


CPAT Project
Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites, 2002/03: South Radnorshire and Dyfi Valley

CS97/47/22

Continuation of the pan-Wales project funded by Cadw. Following delays as a result of the foot and mouth outbreak, fieldwork has now been completed in South Radnorshire and the Dyfi catchment in western Montgomeryshire. The results from South Radnorshire have now been combined with those from the north of the county to produce a single report on Radnorshire as a whole. An interim report has been produced on the results from the Dyfi catchment, with the intention of integrating the data with the rest of Montgomeryshire following the completion of fieldwork there during 2003/04. The project methodology is now well established and initially involved an interrogation of the Regional Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) to produce a project database of all sites which potentially fell into the category of Neolithic or Bronze Age funerary and ritual sites. This was based on an extract of site types and included sites where the most likely interpretation was not necessarily either prehistoric, or belonging to funerary or ritual monuments, but where other, less likely interpretations fell within the scope of the study. The entries for all sites within the initial database were thoroughly examined with the intention of enhancing the SMR by improving the detail and accuracy of records, regardless of their inclusion or exclusion from the final project database. The sites were then reassessed, taking into account the SMR description and any readily available published or other written sources, as a result of which it was possible to discount a significant number of sites from the study. As many sites as possible were visited, with the exception of those which were recorded as having been destroyed. New site details and details of current land-use and the condition of the monument were recorded on site visit forms in the field, the information subsequently being added to the project database. Photographs of individual sites were taken as and when appropriate. Details from the site visit forms were subsequently entered into the SMR to update the existing record and provide a basis for the present report. During the course of the fieldwork, and subsequently, a judgment was made on whether to recommend individual sites for scheduling, on the basis of the criteria for scheduling ancient monuments.

The only previous studies of prehistoric funerary and ritual monuments in Radnorshire as a whole is that in the Royal Commission Inventory published in 1913, though significant published studies have also been undertaken by Chris Dunn in the area to the east of the River Ithon, and by Alex Gibson in the Walton basin area. The number of excavated sites is fairly small, with only 33 recorded excavations, of which 11 might be regarded as antiquarian investigations. Only twelve sites have been excavated since 1960, with more recent excavations including the Hindwell palisaded enclosure and two round barrows excavated as part of the Walton Basin Project. Numerous sites also appear to have been the subject of less formal antiquarian investigations, but are without any published record.

A total of 585 sites were visited in the whole of Radnorshire, in the course of which five new sites were identified. As might have been expected, round barrows comprise by far the largest number of sites (267), accounting for 66% of all sites. The relatively low number of ring ditches (29) may be attributed to the general lack of cropmark sites noted below. All other monument types represented within the study area are present in comparatively small numbers, with the exception of standing stones (58), which account for 12% of sites. The general distribution of sites shows several noticeable concentrations, and in particular the concentration of monuments within the Walton basin. As noted above, this area has already been the subject of a study by the Trust which included excavations on two barrows, the Walton Cursus, three prehistoric enclosures and a flint scatter. The area has long been recognised as one of considerable archaeological potential, with the well-drained, fertile soils presenting an attractive area for settlement from the Mesolithic onwards. It is ironic, however, that it is these very conditions and their potential for arable agriculture which now poses the greatest threat to the archaeological resource. Elsewhere, there is a distinct concentration in the north of the county to the east of the River Ithon, and a general trend for higher numbers of monuments in the upland areas. To some extent this distribution may be a reflection of the pattern of upland survey, which to date has focused on the following areas: east of the upper Ithon; the Radnor Forest and Radnor Commons; and the Elan Valley in the extreme west. This may at least in part account for the noticeable lack of sites in the north-east of the county which has significant areas of upland where prehistoric funerary and ritual monuments might have been expected.

In terms of the present state of preservation of sites in Radnorshire 83 sites (23%) are intact or nearly intact, 182 (45%) are damaged and 45 (12%) are destroyed or nearly destroyed). Although the majority of sites (59%) have suffered at least some damage, generally as a result of ploughing, robbing for stone, or antiquarian investigation, it is interesting to note that 23% of sites survive intact or nearly so, and only 6% are recorded as destroyed or presumed destroyed. Two sites, both standing stones, or possible standing stones, have been moved. Those sites where the condition remains unknown are either those known from antiquarian references which have not been located, or are sites which were not located during recent field visits. The latter category may therefore represent a number of sites where no visible trace survives. In terms of the physical condition of those monuments for which an assessment was possible, 180 sites (58%) are in good condition with little or no obvious erosion, 82 sites (26%) are in moderate condition with some active erosion and 49 sites (16%) are in poor condition with serious erosion problems.

Each site has been assessed with regard to active and potential threats, which have been graded according to their likely impact on the site as well as the potential timescale involved. As might be expected, agricultural related threats are by far the most numerous, accounting for 68% of cases. This includes not only ploughing, which itself is the most significant high impact threat, but also stock erosion and general agricultural improvement, land management and stock feeding, robbing for building and walling stone. The pattern which emerges serves to reinforce a predictable situation in which those monuments in upland areas are likely to be most at risk from stock erosion, whilst lowland sites, particularly within the Walton basin, are under greater threat from ploughing, either under arable cultivation, as part of a rotation, or else through regular resowing of pasture. Encouragingly, the majority of sites (63%) are considered to be subject to a low impact threat, with the majority of these being potentially at risk from minor stock erosion or from no obvious threat other than (usually long term) natural erosion. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 715
Funded by Cadw in 2002/2003
Updated October 2003


CPAT Project
Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites, 2003/04: Black Mountains

CS97/47/22

Information on the Prehistoric funerary and ritual sites of the Black Mountains and and elsewhere in mid and north-east Wales can be found via our Longer Project Reports pages. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 715
Funded by Cadw in 2003/2004
Updated July 2005


CPAT Project
Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites, 2004/05: Breconshire

CS97/47/22

Continuation of this pan-Wales project has included survey and assessment of sites in central Breconshire and the western area of the Brecon Beacons. Some 500 monuments were visited during the year, including stone circles, standing stones and burial cairns.

Information on the Prehistoric funerary and ritual sites of other areas of mid and north-east Wales can be found via our Longer Project Reports pages. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 715
Funded by Cadw in 2004/2005
Updated July 2005


CPAT Project
Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites, 2005/06: Breconshire

CS97/47/22

The survey of prehistoric funerary and ritual sites within the Clwyd-Powys region is now in its final year of field survey with fieldwork in two areas, the eastern Brecon Beacons and northern Brecknock.

Eastern Brecon Beacons
For the purpose of the present study the eastern Brecon Beacons has been defined as the south-east corner of Brecknock, to the south of the River Usk and east of Afon Tarell. In all, over 200 sites have now been visited in this area, a significant number of which have subsequently been excluded from the study on the basis that they were either not prehistoric funerary and ritual monuments, or were duplicates of existing records. As in other areas, round barrows comprise by far the largest number of sites (61 sites), accounting for 79% of all sites. All other monument types represented within the study area are present in comparatively small numbers, with the exception of standing stones (9 sites), which account for 12% of sites. The range of monuments types is interesting as this is the only area where there are no recorded stone circles. The lack of other monument types such as cursus monuments, timber circles and ring ditches, may be seen as a reflection of the topography, soils and agricultural regime are generally not sympathetic to the formation of cropmarks.

The area includes some of the best known cairns in Wales, namely those on the summits of Pen y Fan and Corn Du, which were excavated by CPAT during the 1990s. Elsewhere, a significant concentration of monuments has been noted on Mynydd Llangynidr, which has an interesting grouping of cairns and ring cairns in close proximity to a stone row and two standing stones.

Although the majority of sites (76%) have suffered at least some damage, generally as a result of robbing for stone, or antiquarian investigation, it is interesting to note that 17% of sites survive intact or nearly so, and only four sites are considered to have been destroyed or nearly destroyed. In terms of the physical condition of those monuments for which an assessment was possible, 102 sites (76%) are in good condition with little or no obvious erosion, 28 sites (21%) are in moderate condition with some active erosion and only four sites are in poor condition with serious erosion problems.

Each site has been assessed with regard to active and potential threats, which have been graded according to their likely impact on the site as well as the potential timescale involved. As one might expect in a largely upland area, natural erosion is by far the most common threat, accounting for 89% of cases. Visitor erosion is also a significant threat to a minority of sites, usually related to stone robbing for the construction of walkers’ cairns, although in the case of the cairns on Cribyn (PRN 4560) and Carn Pica (PRN 4396) the cairns themselves are being encroached upon by the footpaths. Agricultural threats, which may also be taken to include stock erosion, affect only a minority of sites (5%).

Encouragingly, the majority of sites (86%) are considered to be subject to a low impact threat, with 12% subject to a medium impact threat, and only one site with a high impact threat, which is the summit cairn on Cribyn (PRN 4560).

Northern Brecknock
In northern Brecknock, an area which largely falls within the Elan Estate and Abergwesyn Common, the survey has revealed a significant concentration of newly discovered small funerary cairns on Gro Hill (SN 926622), most of which have exposed cists. The sites lie opposite, and facing, the stone circle on Crugian Bach. In all, a total of 368 sites were visited during the project, including 23 previously unknown prehistoric funerary and ritual sites which were identified in the course of visiting known sites. A further 26 previously unrecorded sites of archaeological interest were identified which were not relevant to this specific study. As part of the survey particular attention has been paid to an assessment of vulnerability and the nature and likelihood of any threat with a view to improving the future management of sites. A particularly notable example of a vulnerable site an upland location is the Saith Maen stone row which is under threat from off-road vehicles using an adjacent right of way, but with occasional encroachment on the monument. It is hoped that having identified the problem, remedial works can be undertaken in the near future to prevent any serious damage.

As with the Eastern Brecon Beacons, round barrows comprise by far the largest number of monuments (139 sites), accounting for 79% of all sites. Again all other monument types represented within the study area are present in comparatively small numbers, with the exception of standing stones (26 sites), which account for 15% of sites.

In Northern Brecknock although the majority of sites (60%) have suffered at least some damage, generally as a result of robbing for stone, or antiquarian investigation, although 31% of sites survive intact or nearly so, and only six sites are considered to have been destroyed or nearly destroyed.

In terms of the physical condition of those monuments for which an assessment was possible, 132 sites (85%) are in good condition with little or no obvious erosion, 21 sites (13%) are in moderate condition with some active erosion and only three sites are in poor condition with serious erosion problems.

The assessment of potential threats has again revealed that in upland areas such as Northern Brecknock natural erosion is by far the most common threat, accounting for 72% of cases. Agricultural threats, including stock erosion, affect a relatively small number of sites (17%), while 5% lie within forestry. Of those sites where the threat is considered to be high, perhaps the most seriously affected is Saith Maen Stone Row (PRN 878) which lies immediately adjacent to a track used by off-road vehicles. At the time of the field visit in 2005 it was evident that some vehicles had actually driven across the monument which, due to the small size of the stones, is barely visible amongst reeds. Encouragingly, the majority of sites (88%) are considered to be subject to a low impact threat, with 10% subject to a medium impact threat, and only four sites with a high impact.

Information on the Prehistoric funerary and ritual sites of other areas of mid and north-east Wales can be found via our Longer Project Reports pages. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 715
Funded by Cadw in 2005/06
Updated October 2006


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Research Framework for Wales: Resource Audit for mid and north-east Wales

At the Wales Institute of Field Archaeologists (IFA) conference held in Aberystwyth in 2001 it was agreed that efforts should be made to complete an Archaeological Research Framework for Wales. A steering committee comprising representatives from various walks of Welsh archaeological life, and hosted by IFA Wales, was set up and a specification produced outlining a staged process. This comprised four regionally based audits (one in each Archaeological Trust area) of existing information about the archaeological resource, and its publication, followed by regional seminars presenting period based assessments of the resource and in each case identifying strengths and weaknesses in the data. The collected papers from these seminars will then be published (on the internet) for a period of consultation. Following this, a national seminar will be held to present the results of the exercise and then a national framework will be produced.

The process was started in April 2002 with each of the four regional Trusts producing a resource audit funded by Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments. CPAT’s audit covers the unitary authority areas of Denbighshire, Flintshire, Powys, Wrexham and that eastern part of Conwy that was formerly Clwyd. It comprised an audit of records, lists of key sites and relevant bibliographies all divided by chronological periods, and general sections itemising scientific dating, environmental work, current research projects and data collections.

The record audit was compiled almost exclusively from readily available digital sources - the Regional Sites and Monuments Record (SMR), the Extended National Database (END) for Wales, and the catalogue of archaeological collections of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales, Cardiff. While it was appreciated that each of these sources is incomplete and no doubt contains errors and omissions it was not felt to be the purpose of the audit to address these issues within the project, although each data set was checked and obvious problems corrected. 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 National Museums and Galleries of Wales (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 6,563 ‘sites’ common to both data sets. Of the 9,927 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. In order to break down the records collected into more manageable sections the site data was divided into periods (Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Early Medieval, Medieval, Post Medieval) and within each period into broad classes of site (Agriculture and Subsistence, Civil, Commemorative, Commercial, Communications, Defence, Domestic, Education, Gardens Parks and Urban Spaces, Health and Welfare, Industrial, Maritime, Monument (by form), Recreational, Religious, Ritual and Funerary, Transport, Water Supply and Drainage). The finds data was similarly subdivided (Ceramic, Ceramic (building part), Fauna, Floral, Human remains, Lithic, Lithic (building part), Metal work, Metal work (coins), Textile, Wooden objects, Worked faunal). Having broken down the information in this way summary maps and tables were produced for recorded sites of each period and showing the distribution of each broad class. A list of key sites, chosen for their significant, documented, archaeological work (excavation, survey etc) carried out in modern times, and a bibliography was also compiled for each period and presented with the tabulated and mapped data.

The resource audit was produced as a CPAT report in June 2002, with a full version also being placed on CPAT’s website. On the 26 October CPAT held its, highly successful, regional seminar, kindly hosted by Powys County Council at their offices in Welshpool, with papers from 8 speakers. Following the seminar the papers are currently being revised and will be posted on a central web site, which will be prepared and hosted by CPAT early next year. (Back to past project index)
CPAT logo

CPAT Project 982
Funded by Cadw in 2002/03
updated October 2003


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Roman Civil Sites in Southern Powys: Broadheath and Maesderwen

Maesderwen bath house mosaic

Publication of assessment work undertaken on the Broadheath and Maesderwen Roman civilian settlements during 1997/98. Work undertaken so far this financial year has included the completion of artwork for publication and the completion of a report on plant remains recently submitted by Astrid Caseldine of University of Wales Lampeter. It is anticipated that the reports will be submitted to for publication in local journals or Archaeology in Wales towards the end of the current financial year. (Back to past project index)
CPAT logo

CPAT Project 717
Funded by Cadw in 1999/00
updated October 1999


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Roman Civil Sites

Work was undertaken on two reports dealing with trial work carried out on two Roman settlement sites of Maederwen Roman Villa, Breconshire and Broadheath Roman site, Presteign, Radnorshire, integrating the results of palaeoenvironmental and other specialist reports. As anticipated, the reports were submitted for publication in the forthcoming issue of Archaeology in Wales.

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 717
Funded by Cadw in 2000/2001
updated October 2000


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Roman Roads in mid and north-east Wales 2002/03

The Trust’s long-standing interest in Roman roads was developed into a project in the latter part of 2001/2 when the foot-and-mouth outbreak curtailed fieldwork on some of the field-orientated projects, Cadw agreed to a reallocation of funding which enabled the Trust to commence a Roman Roads project.

Two primary aims were identified for the project. Firstly, there was a considerable amount of data available on the road network, some of it disparate and of variable quality and not all of it is readily available. Using the computerised Geographical Information System (GIS) to record the details of all component sections of each road, the aim was to establish baseline data to a common and consistent standard for all the roads in mid and north-east Wales. Such data could then be used, interrogated and extended by the Trust and by other organisations and individuals in the future. Secondly, a cursory examination of the SMR revealed that a remarkably small number of stretches of Roman road were scheduled, so a further aim of the project was, therefore, to identify further lengths of surviving road, which would benefit from statutory protection.

During 2001/02 a start was made on identifying, correlating and digitising data for the roads in Powys. Existing digital data came from the SMR and from the RCAHMW who had been working on the new Ordnance Survey map of Roman Britain, paper-copy information was derived from the Ordnance Survey ‘linear files’ which recorded in detail their field investigators’ findings in the 1970s and 1980s, from published reports, and from other miscellaneous sources. By the end of the year a reasonable proportion of Powys had been completed, including several of the more complex roads such as that from Cardiff to Brecon Gaer where several different course had been suggested.

During 2002/03 the desktop element of the work, primarily the digitising of the all the available data has been completed. Some further routes were added for Powys as occasional new sources were identified and assessed, and some of the less reliable routes, such as that from Long Mountain in eastern Montgomeryshire to Mallwyd in Merionnydd were added. Others that have been mooted in the past, however, are so imprecise that they cannot legitimately be plotted. Such are the many routes suggested by S O’Dwyer in an obscure set of pamphlets on every county of Wales that were published in the interwar era. The assessment and recognition of Roman roads in the old county of Clwyd has not developed to the same degree as further south. For one thing the Roman forts which are usually seen as the termini for routes, have been more difficult to identify in the north-east than further south, but also there appears to be a strange absence of preserved road sections in the area.

Sources of information are not so varied as for Powys, reflecting less work in the north-east. Until recently, no ‘linear files’ of Ordnance Survey origin, comparable to those for Powys were known to us for Clwyd, but these were found in the National Monuments Record at Aberystwyth and have been of considerable value in plotting the roads of the north-east.

The desktop element of the Roman roads study was completed during the year, with digitisation taken as far as it is possible to go from the written and documentary sources, and it is estimated that we have either created or modified nearly nine hundred records. The complex pattern of roads (see accompanying figure in this report), both probable and possible, is at odds with the simpler and much more tidy layouts that are usually encountered in published works on the subject. In this respect the elucidation of the Roman road in this part of Wales, as elsewhere in the country, has a very long way to go.

The main product is the GIS data which will be made available to the SMR in the near future for development control purposes. In addition a paper copy report has been prepared and circulated which outlines the background to the project and presents a written description for every Roman road, together with computer plots showing the state of current knowledge for that road in terms of its physical survival and whether it can be classed as a known, proposed or possible road.

Fieldwork, complemented by two aerial sorties, has also commenced on known and proposed lengths of road, and this work will continue in 2003/04. The continuing deterioration of some roads, usually through periodic pasture improvement or agriculture, is evident from work on RR642 (the Caersws to Caer Gai road, via Vyrnwy). This Roman road runs over hills to the north of Caersws and is one of the few where the line of the road is depicted, if only intermittently, on modern Ordnance Survey maps. But more than one stretch of road, shown on the map, is now no longer discernible as an earthwork. That the impact of cultivation is both variable and unpredictable is shown by the fact that in the fields to the east of Caersws, the agger of the Caersws to Forden Gaer road still shows as an earthwork, despite cultivation. But it is those roads that run across open moorland - regrettably few except in the extreme south of Powys - that offer the best chance of survival, and fieldwork has recently confirmed the fine section of road to the north-east of Llandrindod Wells, running across Penybont Common, the Mortimer’s Cross to Castell Collen road (RRX76). (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 966
Funded by Cadw in 2002/2003
updated October 2003


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Roman Roads in mid and north-east Wales, 2003/04

Fieldwork was undertaken on the basis of the desktop study initiated in previous years with a view to making recommendations for preserving a number of the better-preserved stretches of road. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 966
Funded by Cadw in 2003/2004
updated July 2005


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Roman Roads, Military Sites and Vici in mid and north-east Wales

Work undertaken by CPAT during 2004/05 included the gathering of further information on Roman roads, field assessments of military sites, a detailed study of the management issues at Forden Gaer Roman fort and its environs, and geophysical survey of extramural areas around three of the Roman forts in Powys. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 966
Funded by Cadw in 2004/2005
updated July 2005


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Roman Military Sites and Vici

During the last four years the Trust has completed a study of the Roman road network in the region and moved on to examine other aspects of Roman military activity and its legacy. The results of geophysical prospecting on vici sites, the extra-mural settlements around Roman forts, has in the last few years proved particularly rewarding and the first season of geophysics work in Powys (in 2004/05) demonstrated the potential here. The exception last year was Colwyn Castle in Radnorshire, where geophysics revealed virtually nothing inside or outside the fort, but during the course of that work it became evident that the existing plans of the fort and its environs were not particularly satisfactory, so we returned in 2005 to undertake a full measured survey of the site. Finally, the outline assessment of the late Barri Jones’ excavations on three proposed Roman military sites in northern Montgomeryshire was expanded into a full report, using the archives that have been passed by his archaeological executors to the NMR in Aberystwyth and to the Trust. Subject to peer review it is hoped to publish this in due course.

The returns from geophysics were demonstrated convincingly last year at Brecon Gaer in southern Powys where the picture of the vicus known from Mortimer Wheeler’s excavations in the 1920s was enhanced by the identification of ribbon development on the west side of the road leading northwards from the fort and the recognition of at least one more stone building to add to the three that he excavated. This year three adjacent blocks on the east side of the road were examined and one further block on the west side. Another previous unknown stone building was detected together with other settlement traces which lay along what appears to be a road running eastwards from the north gate of the fort. The northern limits of the vicus also appear to have been distinguished together with an extension to a substantial stone-lined culvert trenched by Wheeler.

Large areas of land around, and to the north-east of the fort at Forden Gaer near Welshpool in northern Powys are already scheduled as a result of the cropmarks of various settlement features showing on aerial photographs. Geophysics here was geared towards determining whether the scheduled areas effectively covered the vicus or whether there were other unprotected areas for a fort which clearly was set in a well-used landscape. In the event it appears that the main activity areas are already protected and that in the unscheduled areas that border them there are only limited traces of human activity. Geophysics grids to the east, north-east and north-west of the fort produced few anomalies. Within the scheduled area the opportunity was taken to test the figure-of-eight shaped features lying to the north-east of the fort for which various explanations have been advanced in the past (and for which see the photograph taken by Bari Jones below). These showed as broad, diffuse anomalies on the geophysics plots suggesting variations in the natural subsoil, but nothing obvious man-made, and both are at present best interpreted as some sort of extraction hollow.

The third fort to be examined was Pen-y-gaer, near Tretower in the Usk Valley in southern Powys. Traces of a vicus here proved elusive, and one field where extra-mural settlement might have fringed a road leading from the south gate of the fort was not accessible. A single building identified by a stream to the south-west of the fort may perhaps be the ‘lost’ bath house referred to in early 19th-century records.

Colwyn Castle lies to the north-east of Builth Wells in central Powys. The idea of a Roman fort at Colwyn was advanced as recently as 1974 and a much more recent find of early pottery has strengthened the argument considerably. But the fort is overlain by a large medieval ringwork and accompanying bailey, creating a more complex earthwork picture. The fort is virtually square with bank crest to bank crest dimensions of about 162m from north-west to south-east and 165m from north-east to south-west, giving an area of about 2.7 hectares. Although the north-eastern side has largely disappeared, disguised beneath the later ringwork, the northern corner is clear. And about 40m outside these defences is a low scarp bank indicating an outer enclosure, symmetrical to the inner one. Also evident is the line of the road running through the fort on a north-east to south-west alignment.

Barri Jones excavated on three sites in the Vyrnwy valley for over a decade from 1983, yet a close examination of the surviving documentation leaves little doubt that all of these excavations were effectively unfinished. No final report was ever produced and a number of the interim statements were not published, though there were very brief statements in the journal Britannia. The ‘supply depot’ at Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain was examined over two seasons, the work confirming that the polygonal enclosure had a bank fronted by two ditches and that internally there were barracks blocks along the west side and at least one granary on the north side. No finds of indisputable Roman date were found. At Abertanat, where the excavations took place over six seasons, he excavated three features. Site A with its two phases was interpreted as a camp which was then converted into the annexe for a fort. The sequence was based on the backfilling of the first-phase ditch and the creation of a new timber gateway protected by a titulum. Unpublished radiocarbon dates indicate, however, that the titulum was a feature of more recent date, and thus the age of the gateway must also be in question. Site B was ultimately interpreted as a fort and the excavations produced evidence of both the defences and the barrack blocks, though not the finds to go with them. Another ditch known as C had a Roman attribution based solely on the identification of a box rampart backing a ditch. It supposedly ran towards Llanymynech Hill, and Barri Jones saw it as part of a ‘ring fence’ around the hillfort there which he believed to be the site of Caratacus’ last stand against the Roman army. Finally, at Clawdd Coch the evidence for the first camp is at best equivocal, but the presence of Roman activity of a presumed military nature seems to be confirmed by a fine field oven and by ditches exposed in a section of the riverbank. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 966
Funded by Cadw in 2005/2006
updated October 2006


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Round huts: Clwyd and Powys

A project of two parts, the initial work comprised a desktop assessment of the resource throughout Powys and the old county of Clwyd, and the second part examined the round huts of Radnorshire and the southern part of Montgomeryshire.

From the Sites and Monuments Record (SMR), the National Monuments Record (NMR), and recently published reports such as the Brecknock Inventory, 252 round huts or groups were isolated of which 139 were considered to be certain or probable examples, but only eleven of which were scheduled. The distribution across the region was very uneven with more than 50% of the sites occurring in the south of Breconshire. The scarcity of the round hut as a site type can be put in perspective by noting that Gwynedd Archaeological Trust's Hut Circle Settlement Survey encompassed 1,850 examples.

Analysis of the data focused on the nature of the sites, whether stone huts, scoops and platforms, or cropmarks, their associations, the quality of the existing records, and the dating evidence. The report on this first stage was submitted to Cadw in May 1998.

The desktop report served as an introduction to a further, more detailed examination of the sites in central Powys. All the accessible Radnorshire sites and some in Montgomeryshire were visited; of 22, 14 were confirmed as certain or possible round huts, fully recorded and measured plans were prepared. Few of even this noticeably small number can be claimed as classic round huts, perhaps no more than two. For others some uncertainty remains as to whether they could be cairns or even occupation sites of a later date. The report with its detailed gazetteer and consideration of management issues, covers these aspects and develops the point that there are remarkably few of these monuments in central Powys and that many of those that are known have been discovered as a result of Trust fieldwork over the last fifteen years. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 762
Funded by Cadw in 1998/99
Updated October 1999


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Round Huts in north-east Wales

Field survey and recording was undertaken in 2003/04 in the counties of Flintshire and Denbighshire as part of the continuing audit of prehistoric and later settlement sites in the Clwyd-Powys area. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 1055
Funded by Cadw in 2003/2004
Updated July 2005


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Short Dykes and Linear Earthworks in mid and north-east Wales, 2002/03

A short dyke

This Cadw-funded project has been carried out in two phases. The first year (2001/02) of work comprised a desk-top study of available sources, and during the current year (2002/03) field examination has occurred on all of the known and many of the possible dykes. Records were made of the morphology, topographical setting and condition of each dyke. A full report has been submitted to Cadw, containing upgraded plans and enhanced descriptions.

Twenty-one confirmed dykes have been visited, with a total length of 13.32 km, giving an average length of 0.63 km. Of these, the Wantyn Dyke in southern Montgomeryshire, at 2.9 km in length, is the longest, while both the Shepherds Well Dyke and the Red Hill Cross Dyke, both in eastern Radnorshire, are the shortest, being in the order of no more than 0.08 km to 0.09 km long. Fieldwork also suggests that a composite dyke can be traced which crosses the border between Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire and consists of three separately recorded features, the Crugyn Bank Dyke, Two Tumps Dyke I and Two Tumps Dyke II. Certainly, the original recorder of these sites treated them as a single entity, then known as ‘The Double Dyche’, and with a total length at 2.72 kilometres this rivals the Wantyn Dyke in length. However, for the purposes of analysis, each element was considered separately. A larger number of linear earthworks of uncertain origin have also been visited, though none of these has been reinterpreted as a short dyke as a result of the field examination.

The project has considered the morphological features and siting of individual dykes, in an attempt to provide a baseline for further study. The morphologies encountered range from a single linear bank to multiple banks and ditches; the most common form is, perhaps not surprisingly, the single bank and ditch. The siting of the dykes is also variable, but some common factors emerge. These include the crossing of ridge-crests, valleys, and interfluvial spurs, though more often a dyke will encounter complex terrain. Interestingly, the most efficient and direct line is not always utilised and this may suggest that these features acted as boundaries rather than defensive earthworks. The linking of watercourses also points to these linear earthworks being used to define boundaries, which could be demarcated elsewhere by natural features. In a small number of cases (e.g. Cowlod Dyke and Red Hill Cross Dyke, both in eastern Radnorshire) the dyke crosses only one side of a ridge and ends on the crest. No ready explanation for this trait has been forthcoming, but it does not appear to be the simple result of subsequent erosion as no trace of any continuation was found despite careful scrutiny.

Perhaps the major problem in establishing the context and nature of the various short dykes remains the lack of absolute dating evidence, something which field survey is not likely to resolve except in the most fortuitous of circumstances. Direct associations between dykes and other landscape features are rare, and where they occur the latter are usually of medieval or post-medieval date, as is the case with many of the boundaries that impinge on dykes. Two areas have been recorded where there could be a relationship between a dyke and peat deposits which may hold useful palaeoenvironmental data.

One of the main trends in the previous research on short dykes has been the comparison with Offa’s Dyke and their piecemeal inclusion within related studies. Attempts have often been made to integrate the smaller linear earthworks into a broadly contemporary system of defence against encroachment from the uplands to the west. The present appearance of most of the short dykes questions the contention that they could have had a purely defensive function. Fieldwork has demonstrated that in most cases it would be a relatively simple and straightforward matter to outflank any of the earthworks if they were being used as purely defensive mechanisms or functioned as barriers.

Authentic short dykes in the study area appear to be limited to the old kingdom (or gwlad) of Powys. Boundaries would generally have been defined by natural landmarks, perhaps using some artificial features to mark key points and one area where a relation has been identified between a group of several short dykes and a political boundary is the cantref of Mechain in northern Powys. The boundary of the cantref as defined by Melville Richards lies within one kilometre of at least five known dykes: Clawdd Mawr Dyke; Clawdd Llesg Dyke; Ty Newydd Dyke; Abernaint Dyke; and Bwlch y Cibau Dyke. If it can be assumed that these sites are broadly contemporary and could represent the boundary of the cantref, a significant corroborative factor might be that all have a ditch on their outer side. Also, the east end of the Ty Newydd Dyke terminates at a stream which formed the boundary of the manor of Chirk and Chirkland (previously that of the cantref of Mochnant Is Rhaeadr) in a document of the 16th century. It is reasonable to assume that Mechain, despite its relatively small size, would have been an area of primary importance due to the presence in the cantref of the clas church of Meifod, a place of burial for the princes and dignitaries of Powys. The remaining sixteen authentic dykes were also compared to suggested medieval political boundaries, and feasible relationships were found in at least five more cases.

The group of dykes in the vicinity of the Kerry Ridgeway in eastern Montgomeryshire also requires specific mention. Within this group are the two longest dykes, each almost 3 kilometres long, namely the Wantyn Dyke and the composite feature called the ‘Double Dyche’, consisting of the three dykes noted above. The original recorder of these three lengths of earthwork considered them to be parts of a single continuous earthwork, which he termed the ‘Double Dyche’, and fieldwork suggests that this is a correct interpretation. In addition to these two extensive dykes, there are two other dykes in the same area, both less than one kilometre in length, known as the Upper and Lower Short Ditches. Although there is nothing that could relate them morphologically, the fact that all of these dykes have ditches on their west side hints at a general relationship. One possibility may be that the steep-sided stream valley of the Caebitra formed a link between the southern end of the Wantyn Dyke and the northern end of the Upper Short Ditch. Chris Arnold has suggested that this group of earthworks are part of a larger system of territorial divisions, which also utilised natural features, and that they may relate to the division of the commote of Ceri as a result of disputes during the 13th century. Examination of the courses of these dykes in relation to assumed medieval territorial boundaries suggests that they might represent the division of the commote into three, approximately equal, parts. It is also possible that they may form successive definitions of the same political boundary, as it is unlikely on morphological grounds that either the Wantyn Dyke or the ‘Double Dyche’ formed defensive barriers. (Back to project index)

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CPAT Project 929
Funded by Cadw in 2002/03
Updated October 2003


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Short Dykes and Linear Earthworks in mid and north-east Wales, 2003/04

A short dyke

Further work has been undertaken on this project, designed to re-examine a series of linear earthworks which together with their larger cousins - Offa's Dyke and Wat's Dyke - form a distinctive element of the archaeology of the Welsh borderlands. The principal objectives during the year were the preparation of a published report on the survey work undertaken in the previous year as well as a programme of environmental sampling in order to try and understand the landscape conditions at the time several of the dykes were constructed. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 929
Funded by Cadw in 2003/04
Updated July 2005


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Short Dykes and Linear Earthworks in mid and north-east Wales, 2004/05

A short dyke

One of the principal aims of this fourth year of the project has been to carry out further small-scale sampling work on a number of the borderland dykes in Powys with a view to obtaining dating evidence and information about the environment in which they were constructed. Management prescriptions will be prepared for selected earthworks during 2005/06 on the basis of the field evidence assembled in previous years. (Back to past project index)

CPAT logo

CPAT Project 929
Funded by Cadw in 2004/2005
Updated July 2005


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Short Dykes and Linear Earthworks in mid and north-east Wales, 2005/06

A short dyke

2005/06 was the fifth and, from the Trust’s perspective, the concluding year of the study of the short dykes of mid- and north-east Wales. When the project commenced in 2002, nineteen short dykes were authenticated in the region, initially through a desk-top assessment of the available evidence, and subsequently by field visits and recording. In 2003 two of these earthworks were augered in an attempt to locate sealed organic deposits that might have palaeoenvironmental potential and also to determine whether the specific methodology of using augering followed by limited intervention to recover suitable samples for radiocarbon dating was a satisfactory way to develop the study. As a consequence, one dyke — the Giant’s Grave Dyke, near Llandinam in Montgomeryshire — was trenched to establish the structure of the dyke and to allow sampling of a sealed peat deposit by Astrid Caseldine of UCW Lampeter. The peat layer gave a date of 340-530 AD, providing a terminus post quem for the construction of the dyke. The success of this excavation led to the assessment of further sites where there was a possibility of a stratigraphic relationship between a dyke and underlying palaeoenvironmental deposits.

Six short dykes were studied in 2004/05, using the same basic methodology. Auger sampling at each dyke was followed by three excavations where some potential was recognised: at the Clawdd Mawr Dyke near Penybontfawr, in northern Montgomeryshire, the Crugyn Bank Dyke (PRN 1882), near Dolfor in southern Montgomeryshire, and the Short Ditch (PRN 1114), near Llangunllo in eastern Radnorshire.

In 2005/06 work focused on a further six earthworks, five of which had been positively identified as short dykes, while the sixth at Dolhelfa in north-western Radnorshire, though morphologically similar, has been interpreted as a medieval grange boundary. The known dykes comprised the Upper and Lower Short Ditches near Kerry in eastern Montgomeryshire, the Clawdd Llesg Dyke, near Meifod in northern Montgomeryshire, the Red Hill Cross Dyke near Rhulen in southern Radnorshire, and the Cowlod Dyke (PRN 6871) on the Radnor Forest uplands of eastern Radnorshire.

Only one of the dykes, the Upper Short Ditch on the Kerry Ridgeway, was found to have organic deposits sealed by the bank, and a trench was excavated to sample this material. A little less than half of the dyke lies in Wales, with the remainder in Shropshire, the Welsh section lying entirely within a forestry plantation. Dark grey silty peat lay approximately 1 metre below the crest of the bank, and this was sampled. Two peat-rich layers, at depths of around 0.3 and 0.8 metres were found in the ditch, which had been dug out to a depth of about 1.5 metres and had a width of 3.5 metres.

The Lower Short Ditch lies only three kilometres from the Upper Short Ditch, but only a short length of it, some 50 metres, is within Wales, with the remaining 700 metres being in Shropshire. No organic deposits were detected in the auger samples taken on the Welsh side of the border, but it is believed that Dr David Hill of Manchester University found palaeoenvironmental deposits in the form of peat and/or charcoal beneath the bank of the dyke in an excavation that he conducted on the Shropshire length in the 1980s.

In summary of the nineteen authentic short dykes, excavations have now been carried out on five of them. Of the remaining fourteen sites, auger sampling has been carried out at eight without any positive identification of palaeoenvironmental deposits, and six have not been examined, as it is believed from a range of factors that there is little likelihood of these earthworks sealing organic material. Four of the dykes have now produced radiocarbon dates, all of them seeming to indicate an early medieval origin for the earthworks, which has usually been assumed in the past though without any substantive evidence to confirm the belief. Samples from the Clawdd Mawr and Crugyn Bank dykes, excavated in 2004/05, have given dates of 630–710 AD, and 650–780 AD respectively. The sealed peat at the Upper Short Ditch provided a date of 540–660 AD. In addition there is the date previously obtained for the Giant’s Grave dyke (340–530 AD) which is somewhat earlier than these more recently received results, but this may be due to a number of different factors, of which the sampling strategy used is one. Of the recent results, that from Clawdd Mawr was obtained from charred plant remains and is thought to be the most precise because of the short-lived nature of this material. In contrast, the Crugyn Bank and Upper Short Ditch results were obtained from microscopic charcoal which could have been present in the soil for some time, and whose origin, though most probably from heather, could be from trees of unknown age at the time of burning. Material from the Short Ditch in Radnorshire, excavated in 2004/05, remains to be dated. This is largely a result of the inherent complexity of the sealed peat layers at this site, which may represent more than one phase of activity that pre-dates the dyke. It is hoped that a date may be achieved once soil micro-morphology being undertaken by Dr Richard Macphail of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, has clarified the sequence. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 929
Funded by Cadw in 2005/2006
Updated October 2006


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Short Dykes in the Welsh borderland

A short dyke

Work has progressed on this scoping study designed to review the present condition and state of knowledge of short dykes and other linear earthworks along the Welsh borderland in the Clwyd-Powys area. The work undertaken during the first half of the financial year has involved the development of a GIS graphical recording system and database and the enhancement of this record by means of an interrogation of records held in the Sites and Monuments Record maintained by CPAT and the National Monuments Record, including cartographic and aerial photographic evidence for the whole of the Clwyd-Powys area. A second element of the project will involve fieldwork designed to study the present state of monuments, current land-use, to identify sites which are under pressure and to highlight areas where aerial survey is desirable. It is hoped that a start will be made on fieldwork in the last quarter of the financial year, subject to foot and mouth restrictions. It is hoped that further work will be undertaken on the project during next financial year. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 929
Funded by Cadw in 2001/02
Updated October 2001


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Small Enclosed Settlements in N E Wales

A report by John Manley published in Archaeologia Cambrensis in 1990 highlighted the potential importance of a group of undated small enclosed settlements to our understanding of rural settlement in this region during the later prehistoric to early historic periods. The current project follows on from a rapid survey of small enclosures within the former county of Clwyd, undertaken by CPAT during 1993/4 (Frost 1995). This identified over 80 sites where it was recommended that further work should be undertaken to enhance the Sites and Monuments Record (SMR), with provisional recommendations also being made for scheduling a number of sites.

The current work has concentrated on those sites which were recommended for scheduling, with the objectives of improving our understanding of those sites, analysing the various morphological types and enhancing the protection and management.

Following on from the previous work, the sites recommended for scheduling were reassessed, based initially on information extracted from the SMR. The result was a revised list of sites recommended for scheduling, the majority of which required further investigation in the form of aerial photographic rectification or ground survey. In two cases the Ordnance Survey record was deemed to be adequate for scheduling purposes.

For those sites where aerial photography provided the best record, a rectified plot was obtained using AutoCAD12, based on the largest scale Ordnance Survey (OS) map available, or where possible, OS digital data. The resulting plots were then converted to MapInfo tables for integration into the SMR. Where more than one photograph could be rectified for a given site, the final plot was achieved as a best fit between the various sources.

All sites were revisited to complement the aerial photographic rectification and record the condition and land-use. Where possible information was also gathered relating to land ownership to aid with scheduling. Information from the site visits was used to further enhance the SMR.

A detailed ground survey was considered necessary for four sites where no suitable aerial photographic record existed and which had not been recorded by the OS. The surveys were conducted during July and August 1998 using total station survey techniques. Each survey was related to points which could be identified on modern OS maps, although not to Ordnance Datum due to their remote locations. The resulting digital data was further enhanced and rectified to the OS grid using AutoCAD13 before being converted to MapInfo tables for plotting and SMR enhancement.

The previous rapid survey had identified a number of sites where further work was, some of which has been completed as part of the current project. However, one of the key recommendations was for further aerial photography on a number of sites where the existing record was deemed to be insufficient, and to date no additional work has been undertaken. A number of sites have been omitted from the present recommendations for scheduling due to insufficient information either to define or accurately locate them, and it may be hoped that further aerial photography in the future will provide the necessary information. (Back to past project index)

References

Frost., P., 1995. Clwyd Small Enclosures Rapid Survey, CPAT Report 127.
Manley, J., 1990. A Preliminary Survey of Some Undated Small Settlements in North-east Wales, Archaeologia Cambrensis 139, 21-55.

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CPAT Project 509
Funded by Cadw in 1998/99
Updated October 1999


CPAT Project
St Asaph Cathedral: Recording

A metrically accurate survey was made of the undated but possibly mid 18th-century stone floor of the south transept of St Asaph Cathedral on behalf of the Cathedral Architect and the Dean and Chapter. As part of the project a number of memorial stones and part of a ?previously unrecorded medieval cross-slab were recorded in more detail. Some of the floor slabs are wearing unevenly and it is hoped to relay the floor at some stage in the future. The primary purpose of the survey was to provide a basic record of the floor and to assist the Cathedral Architect in deciding which floor slabs might be retained and which might need to be replaced. It is anticipated that further archaeological recording will be necessary when a new floor is laid. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 827
Funded by St Asaph Cathedral Dean and Chapter 1999/00
updated July 2000


CPAT Project
St Cynfarch's Church, Hope: Watching Brief

An extensive programme of repair work to the church began in February 2000 and is likely to continue for at least eight months. The work includes extensive repairs to the south aisle roof and the tower roof, together with more works on the nave east window, the south aisle floor and other associated works. CPAT has been engaged as the archaeological contractor for the scheme and archaeological works completed to date include a photographic survey of the south aisle roof, the tower roof and the east window, together with a watching brief during the installation of external lighting. Future work will include further recording of both roof structures, the excavation of an area within the south aisle, an evaluation of possible wall painting on the arcade and a general watching brief on all structural works and ground disturbance. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 860
Funded by Hope Parish Church in 1999/00
updated July 2000


CPAT Project
St Mary's Church, Newtown

Watching brief in July 1999 during restoration works to the church ruins. The watching brief examined the excavation of a trench along the interior of the east wall of the chancel. The trench was excavated by hand to a depth of 0.5m below the internal ground level, revealing deposits of relatively recent date, with no archaeological deposits relating to the medieval church being encountered. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 823
Funded by Newtown Town Council in 1999/00
updated July 2000


CPAT Project
Synthesis of Upland Survey Work

Uplands Initiative funding from the RCAHMW was offered to compile a synthesis of the results from ten years of uplands surveys undertaken by CPAT since 1989. During that time 29 surveys have been completed, 14 of them on an extensive scale with resources provided by Cadw and more recently the RCAHMW. Twelve windfarm assessments in the uplands are also included in the total, and funding has also come from Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and from Severn -Trent Water for work on their estates. A total of 251km2 has been covered by systematic fieldwork, which equates with 5.8% of the uplands of Powys and Clywd. The 29 surveys had 392 sites registered for them in the regional SMRs; an additional 2385 have been recorded as a result of fieldwork, almost a sixfold increase.

At the time that this report was being prepared, the synthesis had not been completed, but some preliminary results are available. Human activity in the uplands is constrained by both altitude and topography, while a constraint on its recognition is vegetation. It has been claimed that archaeology tends to fall off above 430m Ordnance Datum (OD), but this is quite clearly misleading, at least as far as eastern Wales is concerned. Of the records for which altitude data are immediately to hand, 777 or 35.3% are over 430m OD with 211 (9.6%) over 500m OD. Topography is equally significant but less readily quantifiable. Where steep scarps are prevalent as in the Black Mountains, archaeology of any type is sparse, and there is also a diminution in gross archaeological return on the extensive flat moorland tracts in the west of the region, as was found on some of the windfarm sites such as Y Foel and Mynydd Nantcarfan.

From prehistory significant numbers of new cairns have been identified and the field surveys have also served to correct inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the existing record. Domestic sites are much rarer though as noted above many of the round huts and platforms in central Powys northwards have been detected as a result of CPAT fieldwork.

It is in the historic period, and particularly the medieval and post-medieval eras, that there has been a fundamental change in the size and the quality of the upland record. Previously, for instance, only 31 settlement sites were recorded, now the figure is over 350. The surveys have allowed an ever deepening awareness of the extent and nature of settlement around the upland fringes, and together with the work carried out as part of the Cadw-funded pan-Wales Deserted Rural Sites project this is leading to a more developed appreciation of settlement morphology and, hopefully, chronology. Archaeological features which have rarely been recorded in the past - peat cutting, peat drying platforms, leats and dams, boundary stones, trackways, sheepfolds and shelters, shooting butts, quarries - all go to provide a fuller picture of past human activity in the uplands. A report will be submitted to the RCAHMW in early April, and it is anticipated that the synthesis will be published in some form in due course. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 783
Funded by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Remains of Wales in 1998/99
Updated April 1999


CPAT Project
Talerddig-Machynlleth Gas Pipeline

The course of a proposed gas line between Talerddug and the eastern side of Machynlleth in western Montgomeryshire was examined through a desktop exercise and a walkover survey in August and September 1999. A total of 83 sites or features were recorded within the search area, ranging from place-names and cropmarks to earthworks and buildings (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 830
Funded by RSK Environmental Ltd in 1999/00
updated July 2000


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Tir Gofal Support

CS0003

Assisting Heritage Management Officer with Tir Gofal scheme. Anticipated tasks include the following: logging and printouts of details of all consultations entered into database record system; digitally mapping extent of all discrete land parcels in Tir Gofal applications; Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) interrogation within digitised boundaries of each application; production of SMR printout and SMR search file for each application; AP database interrogation within digitised boundaries of each application; retrieve photos; rapid desktop appraisal of other SMR archive material where available (tithe, Ordnance Survey etc.); production of maps for each application showing digitised boundaries and SMR data; open new files for each application and pass to the Trust's Heritage Management Officer.

It is uncertain at this stage whether there are appropriate levels of resources to service this project until the end of the financial year, since it depends upon the number of applications to be passed to the Trust by Tir Gofal Project Officers. It is hoped that a clearer pattern will emerge later in the calendar year. (Back to past project index)
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CPAT Project 807
Funded by Cadw in 1999/00
updated October 1999


CPAT Project
Trannon Moor Windfarm Survey

Further funding from National Wind Power through Powys County Council enabled the Trust to continue its regular long-term monitoring of the archaeological monuments on Trannon Moor, Carno, in southern Montgomeryshire where a large windfarm has been built, with a view to ensuring that no damage occurs to any of the sites. In addition it was possible to undertake EDM surveys of eighteen of the more significant monuments on the moor. These, together with the written descriptions which are updated where necessary during field visits, should provide a firm base for planning future work on the moor. The Trust have also been invited by National Wind Power to contribute information to the displays currently being prepared for a visitor centre at the windfarm.

Further survey, monitoring, management and presentational work is planned over the expected 25-year life of the site. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 787
Funded by National Wind Power through Powys County Council in 1998/99
Updated April 1999


CPAT Project
Vyrnwy Survey

Resources made available by Severn-Trent Water in previous years for field survey on their large estate around Lake Vyrnwy were in 1998/9 used for an archaeological study of the forestry areas around the reservoir. 102 archaeological sites were listed, 87 of them new, and 74 were visited to assess their condition and any potential threats. Apart from findspots only three prehistoric sites were known to lie within the forestry, and most of the archaeology, whether already known or identified from early maps, was related to post-medieval agricultural activity. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 789
Funded by Severn-Trent Water in 1998/99
Updated April 1999


CPAT Project
Vyrnwy Environs Field Survey

Fieldwork was completed over an area of 6.6 square kilometres during January to March 2000 at the western end of Lake Vyrnwy where the ridge of Moel Eunant is bounded by the rivers known as Afon Eiddew and Eunant Fawr. Most of this area is open moorland extending from 250m to 560m OD. A total of 46 archaeological sites were identified, largely of the medieval or post-medieval periods, only four of which had previously been recorded. Abandoned farms and their fields, enclosures, several long huts and platforms, shelters, extensive peat cuttings, quarries and lazy beds were recorded. Site distribution was found to be highly dependent on location, as might be anticipated in an area of deep valleys separated by ridges of high moorland, particularly at this the most remote end of the Vyrnwy valley, close to the border with Gwynedd. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 824
Funded by Severn Trent Water in 1999/00
updated July 2000


Project funded by Cadw:Welsh Historic Monuments

CPAT Project
Walton Neolithic Enclosures/SEPAH

Through the European Commission's Raphael Programme, CPAT was grant-aided to undertake geophysical and physical survey over 20 hectares of the interior of the Hindwell Neolithic palisaded enclosure, including the area occupied by the Hindwell Roman Fort. The aim of the project was to explore the enclosure using highly sensitive caesium magnetometery and to analyse the results, against the digital terrain model, to attempt to identify any evidence for the function of this large and enigmatic enclosure. A significant financial contribution to the project was also made by Cadw. The project is a collaborative one involving the following organisations: CPAT (ground survey and co-ordination); Sectie Wonen en Monumenten, Zwolle, Netherlands (voluntary workforce); Archaeological Prospection and Aerial Archaeology Section, Bayerisches Landesamt fur Denmalflege, Munich (geophysical survey); and the Discovery Programme, Dublin (data processing). The fieldwork element of the project is now complete and a final report and publication on the project are in the process of completion. Co-ordination of the project has been undertaken by Alex Gibson, now on the staff of English Heritage.

The European funding enabled CPAT staff to travel to both Munich and Dublin. The purpose of the visit to Munich was to look at the discuss the provisional results and analysis of the magnetometery as well as to be shown the workings of the Bavarian museums service. In Dublin, staff participated in a seminar hosted by the Discovery Programme, attended by all the partners to the project as well as a large invited audience from Dublin's archaeological establishment. This seminar outlined the background to the project, looked in detail at the survey and analysis methodologies used, and discussed the future management of the Walton sites. The event was highly successful and provided useful links with Irish curatorial archaeologists.

Geophysical survey has unfortunately failed to provide evidence for internal features within the Neolithic enclosure, but significant results have been obtained about the internal layout of the Hindwell Roman fort and a previously unknown civilian settlement or vicus running from the east gate of the fort. Other results from the geophysics include an intriguing arrangement of oblong pits surrounding the largest of the prehistoric round barrows within the enclosure, which appear to represent a partially burnt timber circle sealed beneath the barrow. A report on the project will be published in 1999/00.

As part of the project trial excavation was undertaken on the presumed Walton Neolithic pit circle, to which access had previous not been possible. The object of the project was to establish the nature of the pits and their dating, in order to establish its relationship with the Hindwell Neolithic pit circle about 0.5km to the north. Excavation of one of the pits of the Walton pit circle established that it was a post-pit about 4.3m by 2m across and up to 1.3m deep, for a post about 0.4m or more in diameter. Oak charcoal was obtained from the base of the pit but for the time being this has been considered to be unsuitable for a reliable radiocarbon date for the precise date of construction, given uncertainties about what the charcoal represents and the fact that it appears to represent slow-growing wood. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 766
Funded by Cadw in 1998/99
Updated October 1999


CPAT Project
Worthenbury Churchyard: Assessment

The proposed extension to the existing graveyard of Worthenbury Church led to an evaluation being undertaken during August 1999. Worthenbury is of Anglo Saxon origin and is recorded in Domesday as Hurdinburie, and there is at least a possibility of a Saxon burh, perhaps to be identified with a defensive fortification referred to in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the early 10th century. The church of St Deniol was rebuilt in 1736-9 and is a fine example of Georgian ecclesiastical architecture, reputedly one of the best in Wales. The evaluation consisted of three trenches which revealed little of archaeological significance, with the only features consisting of possible plough marks and an animal burial. (Back to past project index)

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CPAT Project 829
Funded by Worthenbury Parish Council in 1999/00
updated July 2000


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