Heritage

The Archaeology beneath the World Leaders feet

Long before the Americans and other World Leaders took over the Celtic Manor Resort for the NATO Summit, another invading nation, the Romans, decided to make the land there their home.
Discover all about the Roman archaeology around the Celtic Manor, learn about the excavations, associated finds and background information.
The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust have undertaken all the archaeological works at the site, where construction of a top class golf course and management of top class archaeology somehow had to work together.
Learn more by visiting the Celtic Manor Archaeology website.

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Cwm Nash Geophysical Survey – Day 3

Day 3 of the Cwm Nash Survey saw plenty of resistivity and magnetometer survey undertaken.

Only a few part-grids remaining for tomorrow. Once again we would like to thank the volunteers who came to site today and undertook the survey techniques.

One of the volunteers undertaking the geophysical survey at Cwm Nash.

Sam Pamment and members of the Friends of Margam Park came to visit the site this afternoon. Will the weather hold for one last day?

Volunteers learning how to carry out a geophysical survey

Cwm Nash Geophysical Survey – Day 2

A beautifully sunny day at the GGAT Cwm Nash Survey. The site was very busy today with our fantastic and hard working volunteers! We also had lots of visits from members of the public passing through on their coastal path walks. It was lovely to meet you all.
We began our day by setting up our GPS station at the top of the hill to the south of the site. What a beautiful view from there. Our volunteers surveyed then surveyed two grids of resistivity and two grids of magnetometry. A good set of data collected.
We also undertook the survey of the edge of the receding cliff by GPS. To enable us to do this safely Richard Hamilton of Atlantic College was on site to attach us to the land by anchored ropes and harness. The volunteers then continued the topographic survey of the site with great detail. 

Many thanks to everyone who gave their time, skill and enthusiasm, to the project today. Looking forward to tomorrow!A GGAT archaeologist surveys the cliff edge at Cwm Nash to help plot erosion rates.

Work Experience: Archaeology

During the past two days I have been working and mostly learning the ‘in’ and ‘out’ of the archaeological trade.

Coming into year ten in Olchfa Comprehensive I had come to the time when I had to be posted places for work experience. The manner that I was posted in was quite different from the more familiar method of acquiring work experience placements. Due to the introduction of a new course to the school curriculum called the ‘Welsh Baccalaureat’. (from hear on forwards it is welsh bacc)  Due to this new curriculum the choosing of work experience placements had to be done by a careers Wales interface.

During this search I looked down the administrative column to find the GGAT (the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust) so I thought to myself that working for an archaeology firm would be far more interesting than sitting in an office kitchen making coffee and tea nine-to-five. So as you could probably tell by the title I managed to be posted in the GGAT.

My first day at the GGAT was an interesting one, first of all I did not spend all day making coffee and tea to overworked cranky office workers. No, in the GGAT my first day started with a tour of the workplace and then settling down and doing research about an old abandoned copper-works. To be honest I did not expect to go running off to some crumbling old roman fort or some soggy old dig site, no the notion that archeologists all have stetson expertly cocked over their heads and that they all wear weather worn leather jackets and run off to strange adventures is all quite wrong. As I have come to find out yes archeologists do go to some half mythical dig site time to time, but the majority of the work is technical and spent tapping away in front of a key board.  However the whole process is interesting for you begin to see the time and preparation needed to make things like ‘Time Team’ and other archeology shows work. All the small and large problems faced to legally and properly dig a four by four hole in the ground.

Now on my second day well I’m doing this blog, overall this course and hopefully the rest of this course would prove to be interesting and engaging as I have found it to be so far.

Wooji Choi student at Olchfa comprehensive

Why so quiet on the Western Front?

People have been asking why it’s been so quiet on the GGAT news front.  This is because we’ve all been so busy!

Here’s a little taster of what the Trust has been up to.

Our Arfordir Co-ordinator, Rachel, has been busy training volunteers in the Year 3 study area, which runs along the Vale of Glamorgan Heritage Coastline to Penarth.  Through a number of guided walks the volunteers have been taught about the numerous archaeological sites along this stretch of coast, as well as emphasising the potential threats caused by current and future coastal erosion.  The groups have also been taught how to recognise various types of archaeological sites and have been trained in basic recording and photographic techniques used by archaeologists.  Attendance has been good at these events with a keen interest shown by the volunteers.  If you’re interested in learning about this project visit the Arfordir pages on the GGAT website (http://www.ggat.org.uk) or follow the link (Arfordir pages).  To see what the groups have just been up to visit our Facebook page here.

The second year of the Second World War Airfields in Southeast Wales project is drawing to a conclusion.  The Trusts WWII enthusiast Paul has recorded lots of new sites, which you can get a sneaky peek at by visiting our Instagram feed

Meanwhile in our Projects Division, Charley James has just written the first malt kiln tile report for the excavations at Vulcan house, Merthyr Tydfil.  She has discovered that some of the tiles are from a well-known manufacturer, Sealy & Co., based in Bridgewater Somerset.

Remains of one of the malt kiln tiles from the Vulcan House brewery

Remains of one of the malt kiln tiles from the Vulcan House brewery

While Martin Tuck is undertaking a review of the numerous archaeological works that have taken place within the environs of the Roman fort at Neath.  This review funded by the Welsh Government/Cadw focuses primarily on the civilian settlement or vicus, and will supplement the forthcoming reports on the extensive excavations that GGAT carried out between 2010 and 2012. Learn more about the excavations

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

Monastic Margam Survey – Week 2

Volunteer recording the abbey remainsThe start to the second week of the project has been really encouraging.  On Monday the weather was kind to us, as unlike the rest of South Wales it did not rain in Margam.  However, it was windy and we had to wrestle with the tent that Dr Evans brought down for us last week, as it threatened to blow away in the wind with us in it!

We were able to survey using the total station the internal wall of the chancel and the remaining internal walls of the south transept where a side chapel would have been.  We were able to get some good detail on these walls, recording the two recesses in the wall that would have served as a small alter.These recesses were described by one of the volunteers as looking like pizza ovens.

On the photography front we began to survey the external face of the chapter house entrance and began to record the internal walls of the chapter house. We had some extra help with the photography in the afternoon with one of our volunteers, scheduled help out next week turning up!

On Tuesday the good spell of weather we had had on Monday and the previous week had ended and we arrived on site in the rain.  Luckily the rain stopped shortly after and held off for most of the day. We were also sharing the Margam Park and the Orangery Car park with a film company, filming for a new T.V. series called Da Vinci’s Deamons.  They were filming at the castle and did not interfere with the recording, however it did spark some interesting conversations at lunch.  Just after the lunch break we were visited by a photographer form the Evening Post who took photos of Rowena and myself working and a group photo with the volunteers.

Volunteers being taught how to use the total station to surveyOn the project front we continued to photograph the internal wall faces of the chapter house and record the extent of the damage. With a fantastic effort from the volunteers we have have almost finished the recording  the inside of the chapter house and will be moving on to the vaulted remains of the east cloister/vestibule walls. We have also moved on with the total station recording, the arches of the vestibule and the internal face of a small section of the nave wall have been surveyed in. We were able to put in another survey peg before the end of the day ready to survey the outer face of the east cloister wall tomorrow.

The day ended a little early today as unfortunately the heavens opened with half an hour left so we decided to call it a day.

One big positive from last week and the start of the week is the enthusiasm the volunteers have shown and any chance to volunteer for extra days have been snapped up immediately.

Sam Pamment

Community Archaeologist Trainee

Monastic Margam Survey – Supplemental

Volunteers recording the upstanding remains of Margam Abbey

I went out this afternoon to see how the team is getting on, and to take out the gazebo with a table and chairs so they had something more convenient than the ruins to keep the rain off the notes.

Sam showed me the photos they’ve taken so far, which look fine.  I was able to answer some of the questions about the way the buildings relate to each other, and provide some technical vocabulary!

Dr Edith Evans