Community Archaeology

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.

Cwm Nash Geophysical Survey – Day 1

Day 1. What a fantastic start to the Cwm Nash Geophysical Survey (if you’re unfamiliar with the background to this project you can read all about it here).  Despite the freezing temperatures and bracing wind our volunteers were brilliant and soon got to grips with laying out our survey grids using a GPS system and also managed a few grids of high density resistivity survey.

Volunteers learning how to carry out a geophysical survey at Cwm, Nash

The results are looking good! Our lunch was eaten quickly, trying to get as much shelter out of the wind as we could with the added pleasure of a lovely visit from the particularly interested and knowledgeable landowner. Looking forward to tomorrow!

Volunteers learning how to carry out a geophysical survey at Cwm Nash

 

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

Monastic Margam Survey – Week 1

Hello, my name is Sam Pamment trainee community archaeologist at GGAT and along with Project Officer Rowena Hart we are running the Monastic Margam survey project at Margam Park.

We are here for 3 weeks to record the standing remains of the abbey using a total station to create an outline of the abbey walls and a photo survey to highlight the areas of substantial damage to the remains and the threats to the abbey remains.

It has been a great first week at Margam, with decent weather and fantastic help from local volunteers and the Friends of Margam Park we have been able to survey a large portion of the outside walls of the abbey remains. We have had a good laugh with the volunteers, who have been very enthusiastic and willing to learn.

The project almost had a celebrity visitor this week, Martin Clunes was rumored to be at the park.  Unfortunately, he did not come down to the abbey to see us at work much to my disappointment!

We have had such a fantastic first week and have made good progress, I am hoping the next two weeks will be just as good.

If you are interested in the project and would like to find out more we will be at Margam every week day until the 5th October from 9.30am – 4.30pm or you can follow us here with more  updates on the project over the next two weeks.

Monastic Margam Survey

Remains of Margam Abbey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Monday 17th September, GGAT will be starting the Monastic Margam Survey Project.

The Project will run for 3 weeks at Margam County Park, finishing on Friday 5th October.  With help form the Friends of Margam Park and local volunteers; we will be conducting a survey of the monastic remains of Margam Abbey.

Archaeologists from the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust and the volunteers will be at Margam Abbey weekdays until 4.30. So if you would like to know more about the project or the history of the abbey, come and see us in action!

Gelligaer Rock Art Project blog now online

Following the exciting discovery last summer on Gelligaer Common of a piece of prehistoric art – a cup-marked stone, the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust and Groundwork Caerphilly decided that it would be a good idea if we looked to see if there are any more.
Archaeologists from the Trust along with help from local residents will carry out a survey on the Common, with the specific aim of looking for cup-marked stones.  GGAT are also trying to find out more about a cup-marked stone, called the Marrying Stone, found in 1935 in Bargoed.
Visit the blog at gelligaerrockart.blogspot.co.uk to find out all about this exciting project and the discoveries it makes.
Maen Cattwg cupmarked stone, Gelligaer Common. South Wales

Introduction to Graveyard Investigation-St Donats Churchyard

On a misty Saturday morning people were gathering at St Donats church ready to take part in a free training course.

Natasha explaining the changing churchyard

The Introduction to Graveyard Recording training session began on Saturday 10th March in St Donats Church itself with a presentation looking at history and development of churchyards and cemeteries and the changing designs of gravestones focusing on the significance of different iconographies and the meanings behind them.

This sparked excited discussion, which was very interesting; some of the course attendees were clergy and churchwardens so there were plenty of examples to share!

After a break for lunch everyone headed out into the churchyard to view the whole area and discuss some of the more interesting graves. Once we’d all had a look we began setting up the plane table surveying points showing the attendees how to conduct a survey in order to create their own-scaled map of the graveyard. We followed this with going through an in depth recording form and how to fill it out to ensure we had gathered as much information as possible for each gravestone including style, inscription and iconography.

Menna explaining the process of plane table recording to the course attendees

This was the second of two courses run by the Council for British Archaeology’s (CBA) Community Archaeology Training Placement (CATP)  bursary holders based at GGAT and Dyfed Archaeological Trust.

The courses have been very successful with everyone commenting how interesting and useful they have been, helping to provide more training and incentive for groups interested in recording their own churchyards.

The course has been funded through the CBA’s Community Archaeology Bursaries project with specific funding kindly provided by Cadw. This has meant that all the recording equipment bought for the session are now available to borrow from the GGAT and Dyfed Offices for any group interested in conducting their own graveyard investigation.

People interested in borrowing the kit should get in contact with their local trust and ask for the community archaeologist.

Volunteers trying out their newly-learned plane tabling skills

GGAT;
Natasha Scullion – 01792634236,  email natasha@ggat.org.uk

DAT;

Menna Bell – 01558825997, email M.Bell@DYFEDARCHAEOLOGY.ORG.UK