Copperworks Community Excavation Starts today

GGAT’s latest community driven dig started today at the former Hafod and Morfa Copperworks in Swansea.  The excavation will be running every day (except Sundays) between 30th May to the 8th June and will be trying to discover the original early 19th century canal basin designed for barges to unloaded coal directly into the copperworks.  The canal basin was filled in during the first half of the 20th century, and has now completely disappeared from view.  In addition, the project is also hoping to find more traces of the tramroad that crossed the canal to take slag away from the furnaces to be dumped on the slag heaps.

To learn more visit the Hafod and Morfa Copperworks projects blog



The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust, working with Swansea University and the City and County of Swansea, is running a community excavation at the Hafod Copperworks, Swansea.
We will be uncovering the original early 19th century canal basin where barges unloaded coal, brought down from the collieries higher up the Swansea Valley, directly into the copperworks.  We also hope to find more traces of the tram road that crossed the canal to take slag away from the furnaces to be dumped on the slag heaps.  The canal basin was filled in during the first half of the 20th century, and has completely disappeared from view.   

Come and help us find it!

If you’re over 18 and interested in volunteering, you can download an application form here or contact our CBA Community Archaeologist trainee Jan Bailey by email janet@ggat.org.uk. or by phone on 01792 634236.

02427w Musgrave Engine Hall & 02426w Vivian Works Engine House

Mumbles Hill Walk for Festival of British Archaeology

If your out enjoying the sunshine at the Mumbles today, why not join us for a tour around the archaeology of Mumbles Hill.  The Hill, with it’s excellent views over Swansea Bay, is a Local Nature Reserve and has a long history of human activity-from agricultural to industrial to military- but is now a haven of tranquility and a home for wildlife.
A talking walk with Paul Huckfield (Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd), John Powell (Oystermouth Historical Association), and assistance from Robin Bonham (Mumbles Divelopment Trust).  Leaving the steps next to the Coach bays in Bracelet Bay pay & display car park.  The walk starts at 2.00pm and is 2 miles and lasts for around 2 1/2 hrs.
Hope to see you there.

Damp but not disheartened!

A laptop with the Archwilio website was free for people to use and view the archaeology of their area

Our ‘Archaeology for All’ event at Swansea Museum suffered, as other events did, from the wet summer weather. Though those brave enough to venture out in Saturdays soggy conditions were treated to a cornucopia of historical and archaeological activities and stalls.

The museums teaching room was a wash (excuse the pun) with historical societies and interest groups informing the public about local history with their usual breadth of knowledge and gusto.  While outside various groups of medieval re-enactors showed the public how we lived during past  times.

Highlights of the day included the woad face painting, which went down a storm, but how long the paint remained on your face after stepping

outside of the tent and into the waiting deluge was up for discussion!  The Roman cookery demonstration, by our own Dr Edith Evans (Happy Birthday Edith), is always a  crowd puller.  However, Edith was finding it difficult to keep the home fires burning as a small pool of water gradually built up within the hearth and threatened to drown the proceedings.

All in all a good day was had despite the weather and a big congratulations goes out to our Community Archaeology Training Placement Sam Pamment who did such a great job organising the event.

GGAT's Heritage and Outreach Manager demonstrating Roman cookery

A GGAT archaeologist using traditional techniques to build a willow fishtrap

Secrets of Swansea’s prehistoric past unearthed.

More secrets of Swansea’s prehistoric past have come to light on the foreshore at Oystermouth Bay. Archaeologists from the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust along with local volunteers taking part in the Arfordir Coastal project, have been carrying out emergency recording of the remains of wooden trackways exposed by the bays shifting sands.

 GGAT archaeologist Ellie Graham stated that these remains are possibly that of an early Bronze Age trackway, similar to that excavated by the Trust in March 2009, and may well be an additional stretch of it. Learn more about the previous excavation.

The trackway crossed a very different landscape from that which we see today, as the climate during the early Bronze Age was much drier and warmer and the sea level significantly lower. Pollen analysis from the previous excavation showed that the trackway was probably built through a wet, marshy environment.

The race to record as much as possible of the site before its destruction by tidal action continues until the 27th February when the project comes to an end.

Two groups of local Volunteers working on the sections of trackway discovered on the foreshoreA GGAT archaeologist cleans a section of exposed wooden trackway with a trowel

Ellie Graham, Arfordir Co-ordinator gently cleans a section of the exposed trackway

Historical documents unearthed during Swansea excavation

The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust has been carrying out an archaeological watching-brief during the construction of the Urban Village development on High Street, Swansea for the developers, Coastal Housing.

 The watching-brief, which has now been completed, discovered a series of small stone chambers, probably 18th and 19th century cesspits for the cramped slum dwellings and commercial properties that ran down each side of High Street. However, from the basement of one of these buildings a collection of documents were recovered.
The documents were all job applications and references of young women, aged between 15½ and 21, applying for the position of Junior Clerk during the height of the Great Depression. The job was advertised in the October 9th 1931 edition of the Daily Post.

The names of the applicants were:

  • Constance Thomas of Pinewood Road, Uplands
  • Jenny James of Richmond Villas, Swansea
  • Joan Thomas of Delhi Street, St Thomas
  • Gwladys Williams of Cydach Road, Morriston
  • Sarah E Davies of Ernald Place, Uplands
  • Mary E Edmonds of Milton Terrace, Mount Pleasant
  • Sarah Margaret Rees of Tanyfron, Penywern Road, Ystalyfera
  • Claudine Price of Glanbrydan Avenue, Uplands

The Trust is interested in tracing the decedents of these women in order to return the letters and would be delighted to hear from any relatives of the applicants. Unfortunately, the position of Junior Clerk was filled some time ago!

A selection of some of the documents, showing the beautiful handwriting of one of the applicants 'Dear Sir' a close-up of one the letters