Timber feature discovered on Swansea foreshore

The presence of a small wooden feature located approximately 330m south of the promenade on the Swansea foreshore was reported to Steve Sell, (GGAT’s Portable Antiquities Recording Officer) by Brian Price of the Swansea Metal Detector Club in the summer of 2008.

An initial site visit was conducted by GGAT field-staff with Brian Price on the 6th September 2008 during which the feature was tentatively identified as a short section of hurdle, and that a funding grant should be made to Cadw to enable further investigation of the feature. Cadw authorised a grant for the work to be carried out in early 2009 and a small team from GGAT Projects conducted a rescue excavation at the beginning of this month.

Working within a narrow tidal window the feature was cleaned, positively identified as a short section of hurdle, photographed and drawn. The six largest timbers from the hurdle where recovered for detailed post-excavation study, AMS dating and species identification. It is hoped that the AMS dating (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry) will return a date during the Iron Age and thus be comparably to features recorded on the Brynmill Peat Shelf in 1992.

Currently two interpretations of the feature are postulated, firstly that it represents the remains of a fallen hurdle leader fence, used for guiding fish into single-basket, tidal fish-trap; secondly that it represents the remains of a hurdle trackway used to cross a particularly marshy piece of ground.

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