Monastic Margam Survey – Week 2

We have had a hectic last few days of the second week of the Monastic Margam project.

Wednesday we were hit by the bad weather which slowed down the recording of the abbey ruins, we spent about an hour huddling in the tent waiting for the rain to ease.  Eventually we were able to venture outside and continue recording.

Volunteers recording the remains of the Margam Abbey from beneath an umberalla in the rain.

It was decided to move the total station under vaulted remains of the east cloister and continue to record here, so that we were sheltered from most of the rain.  Unfortunately, for two of our volunteers Sarah and Ruth, who were doing the photographic survey, they had to continue to record the interior of the Chapter house in the rain!  They did a brilliant job recording in poor conditions using an umbrella to shelter them as best they could and were able to finish recording the interior of the Chapter house by the end of the day.

Thursday was a very busy day. As well as the recording of the abbey we also received a visit from Neath-Port Talbot council who came to see what we were doing and the condition of the abbey remains to discuss what measures they could put into place.  The meeting was very positive and they seemed very concerned with the condition that the abbey was in and the danger that it might present to the public.  We were also visited by members of the University of the Third Age from Porthcawl.  They had heard about the project from one of our volunteers and were also surprised with the condition the abbey was in but they were happy to see something was being done and they seemed to enjoy the visit.  On the recording side we have using the total station surveyed the partial remains of the Nave/North Cloister wall and we have continued to survey the vaulted area of the East Cloister/Vestibule that we began surveying on Wednesday. With the photographic survey we have moved on to recording the features in the vaulted east cloister.

Volunteers using the total station

On Friday we were able to see just how far we had progressed with the project and how much there was still left to do. The volunteers had recorded the outside of what would have been the former Sacristy and the central columns of the vaulting in the East Cloister and we hope to record the interior of the Chapter House on Monday. On the photographic side the volunteers had started to record the interior face of the West wall of the East Cloister and it is hoped that by the middle of next week we will start to record the remains of the under croft to the south of the Chapter House.

The volunteers have been fantastic again the week and have really moved the project along. I am looking forward to the final week of the project with 3 new volunteers starting I hope we will have as an enjoyable week as we have had over the last two

Sam Pamment

Trainee Community Archaeologist

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