Day of Archaeology

Coastal archaeology and community engagement

I’m Ellie, a project archaeologist with GGAT, and I’m currently working on a community project, Arfordir (‘coastline’ in Welsh) which involves working with volunteers to monitor and record the vulerable archaeology in the coastal zone of south east Wales.  The study area encompasses the coast of the Gower peninsula and Swansea Bay as far as the mouth of the River Ogmore.  This includes fascinating archaeology of all periods, much of which is at risk from coastal erosion, sea level change, visitor damage and other threats.

A view of the ruined Candleston Castle in the sand dunes of Merthyr Mawr

A large part of the workload of the project involves general admin, I spend the first part of every morning checking and answering emails from volunteers working on the project and liasing with colleagues.  The project study area has just been expanded to the east and a lot of new volunteers have been recruited in this area, so I’ve been organising a meeting and training session, and inviting interested people to come along.

We’ve also just started working in partnership with a similar project in Swansea, and I’ve been creating a leaflet advertising the opportunity to volunteer and get involved in this.  I’m also planning a series of guided walks around the study area so I can show volunteers some interesting archaeological sites and they can get some experience in recording and surveying.  In preparation for this, I’ve been creating maps showing the sites in the area and lists detailing what they are.  Finally, I plan to spend the rest of the afternoon writing a proposal for a spin-off from the Arfordir project, a small excavation on the foreshore of Swansea, investigating a series of wooden posts embedded in the Brynmill peat shelf.  In the past features in this peat shelf have been found to be of prehistoric date, so these wooden posts could be thousands of years old.  I’m hoping to spend part of the autumn excavating them with a team of volunteers so that we can find out.

Day in the life of an archaeological planning officer-ongoing

Our main method of finding out where development is going to occur is by checking the weekly planning list produced by the Local Planning authorities (LPA) each week. Two new ones, for Cardiff and Swansea, have been issued this morning so I go through them and note the applications that may have archaeological implications. Today there were 60 registered applications and I identified 11 that could have an impact on archaeological sites. I then checked those with the Historic Environment Record (HER) and also against the early editions of the Ordnance Survey (there are still a lot of post-medieval sites that are not included in the HER and sometimes we can spot these using the old maps). Three of the identified applications appear to be likely to have an impact on the archaeological resource so I enter them into our register so that detailed analysis and advice to the LPA can be prepared later.

Richard Lewis (Head of Projects) came to see me to explain that it appears that a major breach of a planning condition has occurred on a very sensitive archaeological site. I phone the relevant LPA only to find that the Officer dealing with the application and the Head of Planning are both at a meeting outside the Council’s offices. A helpful assistant promises to send me the full set of planning conditions for the development and gave me the name and direct telephone contact for the Enforcement Officer, in case I feel action is required.

Planning & Archaeology in Wales

Hello! I’m Judith and work for a Welsh Archaeological Trust doing Archaeological Planning. It’s a bit of a varied job and basically we provide information to local authorities, developers, architects, agents, utilities, anything where archaeology is affected by planning.

This morning after all the usual emails, messages etc, I’ve dealt with a utilities query – asking for mitigation where there are Bronze Age cairns in the area and explaining what that means for a below ground development. The first planning application is for methane gas extraction in an area of historic mining – ancient to modern archaeology in seconds! More tea please!

Day in the life of an archaeological planning officer 11am

The good news is that we have sorted the potential beach of condition matter.

The work that is being carried out is covered by a previous planning consent so the approval of a programme of investigation is not required for the on-going work, although they are meant to have an archaeologist present carrying out a watching brief and Richard has sent one of his team to the site to do it.

Hopefully the results of the watching brief will assist in the preparation of a better programme of investigation when it is produced. It is amazing how much time can be spent sorting out possible breaches of conditions, but it must be done if we are going to ensure that the archaeology is protected.

New Roman discoveries in the offing

My name is Martin Tuck, a Project Officer with GGAT. My role alternates between fieldwork and  office based report writing.

At the moment I am engaged on the preparation of an archaeological excavation design, including Scheduled Monument Consent from Cadw, for additional work relating to the site of a Roman fort in Neath, where the Trust carried out an archaeological excavation during 2010, which continued through to the early part of 2011.

The  Roman remains discovered related to a 1st century Roman fort, which included defensive ditches and associated rampart, cooking areas and an internal circuit road.  The forthcoming works are likely to reveal details of part of the barracks.

A day in the life of a GGAT Contract Archaeologist

My name is Jon Burton, I work in the contracts department of GGAT. I normally spend a fair amount of time out in the field, dealing directly with clients, carrying out watching briefs, evaluations, and on occasions full scale excavations.

Most of this week I’ve been working on post excavation reports, related to watching briefs carried out in the Glamorgan and Gwent area.  These include watching briefs carried out in the Caerleon area, related to the line of a former roman road, and another watching brief in the Port Talbot area along the line of a new road scheme which, has uncovered a number of features related to former industrial activity.

Today I had hoped to continue with the writing up of a small watching brief, carried out this week in Cowbridge.  However, another fieldwork project has come up in Merthyr which, requires cover next week, and so now I’ll have to produce a risk assessment, and gather some background information in preparation for this new work.

GGAT’s Commercial Dept

Welcome to a series of blogs today from the commercial department (GGAT Projects) of the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd. My name is Richard Lewis and I am the Head of Projects for the Trust. My role involves supervising all of the many projects we undertake and making sure we have many new projects too!

The kind of projects we carryout are quite diverse and range from Prehistoric and Roman excavations (Swansea Bay and at Neath Nidum) to recording relict early-Industrial iron-stone extractive landscapes in the south Wales valleys.

This morning, my time has been taken up with liaising with the Local Planning Authority’s archaeological advisor (GGAT Curatorial) to provide archaeological cover for an emergency arising in Merthyr Tydfil.

My next problem to solve is how to cover all of our archaeological watching briefs next week with so many staff on holiday. I may have to dust off my old boots and trowel…!!

Day in the life of an archaeological planning officer

I am Neil Maylan and I work as the Archeological Planning Manager for the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust, based in Swansea, Wales. We provide advice to 13 local planning authorities in South East Wales and I hope to be able to provide a work diary for today.

I started my working day circa 7.30am. As part of my job I am responsible for the Trust’s IT network and e-mails, so my first job is to check the e-mails that have come in overnight, delete the vast number of spam messages that are sent to our open e-mail accounts and redirect any messages that have been wrongly addressed or sent to the open accounts and need to be answered by a specific member of staff.

I also check my own e-mails received over night, fortunately few today and read the weekly newsletter from the Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) Maritime Affairs Group, which always has some fascinating information on an area of archaeology I really don’t know enough about.

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