graveyard survey

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

Introduction to Graveyard Investigation- St Telio’s Course

On Saturday 3rd March people assembled in the Dyfed Archaeological Trust offices in Llandelio in order to learn more about graveyard investigation and survey in a free training session made possible by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) with funding from Cadw.

The first half of the day comprised of presentations detailing the history and evolution of graveyards and their changing style of memorials, followed by examples of the types of survey recording work that have already been carried out.

Menna showing her group how to use the plane table despite the rain!

After a break for lunch the course attendees led by the CBA Community Archaeology Training Placement (CATP) holders from Dyfed Archaeological Trust and GGAT headed to St Telio’s Church to start the practical session of the course

The group were split into two halves, one being taken by Menna Bell (Dyfed’s CATP) to be trained in plane table survey whilst the others were taken by Natasha Scullion (GGAT’s CATP)  to look at general graveyard recording methods and how to focus on features of individual gravestones.

The day proved very popular with the group who bravely withstood the elements in order to get the most from the course, learning new skills ready to be used in their own planned graveyard surveys.
Everyone agreed it had been an informative day and we’re now looking forward to the new surveys that will be produced using what was learnt in St Telio’s.

Course attendees recording the details of individual gravestones

If this sounds interesting then there is a repeat of this course taking place this Saturday 10th March at St Donats Church, St Donats, Vale of Glamorgan.

The course is free to attend though places are limited and will have to be booked through either:

Menna Bell, CATP Dyfed Archaeological Trust

Tel: 01558 825997
Email: m.bell@dyfedarchaeology.org.uk

Natasha Scullion, CATP Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust

Tel:01792634236

Email: natasha@ggat.org.uk

The day runs from 9:30 am meeting at St Donats Church Car Park and will finish at 4pm.

Explaining different memorial types to course attendees

Introduction to Graveyard Investigation-Free 1-Day Courses

Ever been interested in having a go at some hands on family history research?

The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) with funding from Cadw is putting on two special free training sessions that will provide an Introduction to Graveyard Investigation and is being run by the CBA’s Community Archaeology Training Placement (CATP) holders based at GGAT and Dyfed Archaeological Trust.

The free one-day course involves an introductory presentation on graveyard history, gravestone evolution and iconography followed by a practical session recording features and details in a graveyard using the equipment provided.

It should be a fascinating insight into local history and provide the basic skills needed to conduct further investigations in the graveyards of your own areas .

The sessions are being run from 9:30-4:30pm

The first session is being held on Saturday 3rd March at St Teilo’s Church, Llandelio, Carmarthenshire.

The second session is being held on Saturday 10th March at St Donats Church, St Donats, Vale of Glamorgan.

Places need to be booked in advance as capacity is very limited so if you are interested in attending please contact either;

Menna Bell, CATP Dyfed Archaeological Trust Tel: 01558 825997 email m.bell@dyfedarchaeology.org.uk

Natasha Scullion, CATP Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Tel:01792634236 Email natasha@ggat.org.uk

A typical selection of the different styles of gravestones found in graveyards

Introduction to Graveyard Investigation

View of St Peter's church in Llanwenarth, Abergavenny with some gravestones in front of the church's tower Over the last few days GGAT has been involved with running a introduction to graveyard recording course focusing on the different eras of design and architecture of monuments and headstones and the individual significance of various iconographies that are used.

Approached by Adventa GGAT put together and delivered 5 days of 1-day introduction training courses, originally only 3 had been booked however, due to popular demand it was extended to a 5 day run!

The first half of the day comprising of a presentation and discussion followed by explanation of the recording forms and processes. After lunch we then headed out for some ‘hands on’ practice heading to the local churchyards and cemeteries to see the evidence of what had been discussed and the aspects of recording and research that can be done.

Graveyards are real snapshots of community life and if viewed closely enough can reveal details and stories that might never otherwise come to life however they are a finite resource, without active attempts to record the information details of family history will be lost that may not be recorded anywhere else.

The days were hugely successful with most people coming away with new knowledge, keen to put in to practice what they had learned about, the general consensus being ‘I’ll never look at a graveyard the same way again!’

Two volunteers looking at an old carved stone momunment in St Mary's churchyard, Monmouth