AVAILABLE NOW! New Royal Commission Publication ‘Welsh Slate - Archaeology and History of an Industry’ by David Gwyn

Heritage of Wales News - Wed, 2015-04-01 10:53

Slates from quarries in Wales once went to roof the world. By the late nineteenth century as many as a third of all the roofing slates produced world-wide came from Wales, competing with quarries in France and the United States. This exciting and lavishly illustrated new book traces the slate industry from its origins in the Roman period, its slow medieval development and then its massive expansion in the nineteenth century – as well as through its long drawn out decline in the twentieth.

Dinorwic Quarry viewed from the west, across Llyn Peris (AP_2010_2454, NPRN 40538)
The books author David Gwyn, draws not only on the extensive industrial archaeology of the quarries themselves and the historic evidence of the stunning landscapes within which they are situated, but also on legal and company records, port books, local and national newspapers, trade journals, painting and photographic collections and parish histories to build up a picture of this distinctive industry.

The Cornish beam engine at Dorothea quarry, Nantlle, built 1904-06 (DI2013_0723, NPRN 26409)
Separate chapters examine the quarries themselves and the ways in which the rock was extracted and processed. Others examine the evidence for the technologies that made the quarries possible – the pumping and power systems, the internal and overland transport systems, and the sailing ships that exported the finished slates all over the globe.

The 1924 Australia Mill at Dinorwic with its row of saw tables (DS2013_509_005, NPRN 419478)
It also looks at the distinctive settlement and community created by the quarrymen and their families, in towns like Bethesda and Blaenau Ffestiniog, and villages like Deiniolen, Tal y Sarn and Abergynolwyn.

The Ffestiniog quarries and slate-quarrymen’s city of Blaenau Ffestiniog (AP_2011_3093, NPRN 305760)
Welsh Slate. Archaeology and History of an Industry is a large format book of 291 pages with 243 high-quality illustrations, and costs £45.

Welsh Slate - Archaeology and History of an Industry
For further details and to order a copy, please contact the Royal Commission on 01970 621200,

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Categories: Resources

National Monuments Record of Wales Archives and Library Bulletin - March 2015

Heritage of Wales News - Tue, 2015-03-31 17:00
Welcome to the latest monthly edition of the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW) Archives and Library Bulletin which lists all newly catalogued material. The archival items, library books and journal articles are all available to view in our public reading room. The full archive catalogue is available on Coflein and contains digital copies of many of the items listed.

Our Library and reading room is open:
Monday – Friday 09.30 – 16.00, Wednesday 10.30 – 16.30.
An appointment is advisable.

March 2015


Gerallt Nash Welsh Mills Collection
  • Collection of material relating to mills in Wales, including correspondence, newspaper cuttings, reports, drawings and photos, collated or produced by Gerallt D. Nash in the course of his research and his involvement with the Welsh Mills Society: C602666 

Cwmystwyth Mines Complex Collection
  • Collection of records comprising original and copied drawings and maps compiled during research and survey relating to the Cwmystwyth Mines complex: C603398 

D.B. Hague Collection
  • Set of mainly site-specific records relating to buildings/structures outside Wales, collated or produced by Douglas Hague: C602560 
  • Set of black and white photographs labelled Deerness Orkney, 1962, taken by Douglas Hague: C602561 

Peter Smith Collection
  • Unsorted notes, drawings photos and correspondence relating to the publication of a series of essays on Ty Mawr, published in The Montgomeryshire Collections, journal of the Powysland Club, volume 89, 2001: C602562 
  • Bound volume entitled "The Development of Miltary and Civil Architecture and Town Planning in North-west Wales". Finals thesis presented to R.I.B.A. by Peter Smith. Undated: C602563 
  • Miscellaneous notes and correspondence produced or collated by Peter Smith: C602631 

Peter Smith Slide Collection
  • Colour slides of buildings in Carmarthenshire. Held in alphabetical order of site name with unidentified sites at the back: C602557 
  • Colour slides of buildings in Breconshire: C602788 
  • Colour slides showing churches in Wales: C602799 
  • Colour slides of Welsh landscapes: C602800 

RCAHMW Field Notes
  • Investigators' field survey logs produced by Deanna Groom prior to and during field trips to a number of maritime sites in 2013: C602575 

Cotswold Archaeology Projects Archive
  • Project archive relating to an Archaeological Watching brief for Former Gas Works, Mount Street, Bala. Produced in 2015 by Cotswold Archaeology: Project No: 3640, Report No: 12043. The collection comprises digital and hard copy reports: C602969 

William Grimes Collection
  • Various artefacts from a number of projects and excavations, including Burry Holms: C603339 

RCAHMW Digital Survey, Borth Submerged Forest : C561232

Digital image relating to Level 1 Survey, Borth Submerged Forest: Area C, DSC_BSF06
  • ArcGIS 10 shapefiles relating to a survey of Borth Submerged Forest, produced by RCAHMW 2010-2012 
  • Google Earth Screen Grabs of routes walked, relating to a survey of Borth Submerged Forest, carried out by RCAHMW 2010-2012 
  • Access database relating to a survey of Borth Submerged Forest, carried out by RCAHMW 2010-2012 

Jeremy Lowe Collection
  • Photocopy of fifteen field notebooks on workers housing produced by Jeremy Lowe, dated between 1970 and 1993. Access to these notebooks may be controlled until his work is published: C603399 
  • Notes, drafts and correspondence relating to a proposed joint project on workers housing produced and\or collated by RCAHMW and Mr Lowe: C603400 

Investigators' Digital Photography

Digital photographic surveys of the following sites taken c2009-2015

View of west façade, Dan-y-bwlch, DS2015_021_012, taken March 2015
  • Dan-y-bwlch, Crucorney: C602370 
  • Sully Island Promontory Fort, taken by Deanna Groom, June 2010: C602372, C602377 
  • Llandudno Pier taken by Deanna Groom, August 2010: C602426 
  • East Tower, Nash Lighthouse, taken by Nicola Roberts Sept 2009: C602378 
  • Foghorn Signal Building at Nash Lighthouse, taken by Nicola Roberts Sept 2009: C602387 
  • West Tower at Nash Lighthouse, taken by Nicola Roberts Sept 2009: C602391 
  • Ynyshir Hall, taken by Deanna Groom, March 2010: C602397 
  • Great Orme Copper Mine taken by Deanna Groom, August 2009: C602401 
  • Rhyl Flats Windfarm taken by Deanna Groom, August 2009: C602438 
  • Greenala Point Fort taken by Deanna Groom, Oct 2009: C602446 
  • Cilcain Church: C602654 
  • Interior photos of Bethania Baptist Chapel, Maesteg: C603162 

Sites in Cardiff
  • Gorsedd Gardens, Cardiff: C602667 
  • Friary Gardens: C602669 
  • City Hall: C602671 
  • Law Courts: C602673 
  • Cardiff University Registry: C602675 
  • UCW Cardiff: C602683 
  • Great Court and Drapers Library: C602687 
  • County Hall: C602699 
  • National Museum: C602703 
  • Bute Building, UCW Cardiff: C602705 
  • Glamorgan County Hall Extension: C602729 
  • Queen Anne’s Square screen: C602741 
  • Former Welsh Office: C602772 
  • Temple of Peace and Health: C602775 
  • UCW Cardiff Law Building: C602786 
  • Sir Martin Evans Building: C602789 
  • Life & Science Building: C602791 
  • UCW Cardiff Tower Building: C602793 
  • Police Station, Cathays: C602795 
  • Welsh government offices: C602797 
  • UCW Redwood Building: C602782 
  • Aberdare Hall, UCW Cardiff: C603551 

Statues and memorials in Cardiff
  • Statue of David Lloyd George, Gorsedd Gardens: C602784 
  • Statue of Col Lord Ninian Crichton Stuart, Gorsedd Gardens: C602709 
  • Statue of Marquis of Bute, Friary Gardens: C602719 
  • Mining and Navigation sculpture, County Hall: C602701 
  • Statue of John Cory, Gorsedd Gardens: C602680 
  • Boer War Memorial: C602689 
  • Statue of Viscount Tredegar: C602693 
  • Statue of Judge Gwilym Williams: C602695 
  • Statue of Henry Austin, Alexandra Gardens: C602697 
  • Cardiff City Falklands Conflict Memorial: C602801 
  • Welsh National Falklands Conflict Memorial: C602804 

Castell Tan y Castell Collection
  • Black and white slides taken or produced during excavation in 1956-57: C602632 

NMR Site Files

Photo surveys of sites taken 1970s to 1990s:
  • St Bridgets Church, St Brides Wentlooge: C602534 
  • Malthouse and associated residence at Bryn Street, Newtown: C603588 
  • Tro'r Derlwyn deserted rural settlement, taken by D.J. Percival, 1986: C603592 
  • Old Turnpike Road between Llangadog and Brynaman, taken by D.J. Percival, 1987: C603594 
  • Carn Fadog, taken by D.J. Percival, 1987: C603599 
  • Nant y Llyn Maenhir, taken by D.J. Percival, 1987: C603601 
  • Abdon Clee houses, taken by D.J. Percival, 1990: C603605 
  • Lower Clydach aqueduct on the Swansea Canal: C602707, C602735 
  • Clydach Pumphouse on the Swansea Canal: C602747 
  • Clydach Bridge, Lock No. 6, on the Swansea Canal: C602752, C602757 
  • Fountain Hall on the Swansea Canal: C602771 
  • Godre'r Graig Dry Dock on the Swansea Canal: C602768 
  • Giedd Feeder Weir on the Swansea Canal: C602806 
  • The Castle Hotel, Cae'r Llan on the Swansea Canal: C602813 
  • Limekiln at Cae'r Lan Canal Wharf on the Swansea Canal: C602816 
  • Canal boat at Abercraf on the Swansea Canal: C602824 
  • Lengthman's Punt at Trebanos on the Swansea Canal: C602836 
  • Ynyscedwyn Ironworks Colliery Branch on the Swansea Canal: C602847 
  • Godre'r Graig Dry Dock on the Swansea Canal: C602866 
  • Hafod Limekiln, Landore.: C602870 
  • Hafod Copperworks Tramway Viaduct: C602891 

Photo surveys of the following sites taken in the 1930s to 1960s:
  • High Street, Conwy: C602967 
  • St Gwyddelan's Church: C603012 
  • Gwyndy: C603014 
  • Cwm Fynhadog Isaf: C603019 
  • Moel Goch Bridge: C603026 
  • Bwlch Ehediad: C603028 
  • Pont Sarn yr Offeriad: C603032 
  • Pont Sarn Ddu: C603034 
  • Bwlch Cynnud: C603036 
  • Bwlch Bach: C603039 
  • Round Huts near Clogwyn Mawr: C603041 
  • Capel Horeb: C603047 
  • Pendyffryn stables: C603052 
  • Braich y Dinas: C603053 
  • Plas Coch: C603067 
  • Cwm Fynhadog Uchaf: C603074 
  • Tai, Dolwyddelan: C603081 
  • St Mary's Church, Rhossili: C603136 
  • 11 Castle Street: C603129 
  • The Old Cockpit, Conwy: C603131 

The Old Cockpit, Conwy, 1939: C603131, DS2015_021_012
  • 28 Castle Street, Conwy: C603134 
  • Bishopston Church: C603138 
  • Llanddewi Church: C603144 
  • Ogmore Castle: C603146 
  • St Donat's Castle: C603149 
  • Chantry House: C603151 
  • St John's Hospice: C603154 
  • Church House, Llantwit Major: C603159 
  • Candleston Castle: C603349 
  • Maen Ceti: C603354 
  • Samson’s Jacks standing stone: C603360 
  • Conwy Suspension Bridge: C603376 

1929 photo surveys of the following sites taken by B. C. Clayton:
  • Manorbier Castle: C603389 
  • Carew Church: C603386 
  • St Davids Cathedral: C603392 
  • Conwy Castle: C603401 
  • Skenfrith Castle: C603406 
  • Skenfrith: C603408 
  • Raglan Castle: C603410 
  • St Mary's College, St Davids: C603416 
  • Caernarfon Castle: C603544 
  • White Castle: C603555 
  • Margam Abbey Church: C603559 
  • Neath Abbey Church: C603571 
  • Llangan Churchyard Cross: C603573 
  • Llanwnog Church: C603575 
  • Ogam Stone, Nevern: C603580 
  • Pembroke Castle: C603582 
  • Nevern Cross: C603584 
  • Old Radnor Church: C603586 
  • Pontypool Park Gates: C603612 
  • Bettws Newydd Church: C603615 
  • Mitchel Troy Church: C603618 

Investigators' Photographs
  • Bethel Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, High Street, Pen-y-Groes: Photo survey comprising 1 B&W print taken by S. R. Hughes, January 2000: C602664 
  • Merthyr Mawr Sawmill: Photo survey comprising 22 B&W prints taken by B.A. Malaws, August 1999: C603229 

A.J. Parkinson Slide Collection
  • Sheet of slides showing architectural details of No7 Town Hill, Wrexham: C602812 
  • Sheet of slides showing various buildings, most of which are identified: C602817 

Additional Information
  • Two mounted black and white photographs showing Cors y Gedol Chamber, donated by Cadw: C603340 

General Digital Donations Collection
  • Batch of digital colour aerial photographs showing various sites in Wales taken by Paul R Davis using a quadcopter: C603049 
  • Report entitled: 'Discovery of a new Four Poster in North east Wales. Site no.70 from 'Digs, Discoveries and Megaliths' produced by the discoverer, John Denton Blore in 2014. Comprises electronic report and two photographs: C603353 

History of the Royal Commission
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Branch: desk instructions for the archival recording of antiquities and their publication on maps: C602661

Christopher J. Williams Mines Photographs
  • 96 catalogue entries of digital copies of 35mm slides of various lead mines and related artefacts in Wales, taken by Christopher J. Williams, during mine exploration and research 1970-2000. 


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Thompson, W.J. (General Editor), 1989, A guide to the industrial heritage of West Yorkshire, Twelveheads, Redruth.

Tymms, Samuel, 1848, An architectural and historical account of Saint Mary's Church, St Bury St. Edmund’s, Part I, Jackson and Frost, Bury St. Edmund's.

Tymms, Samuel, 1848, An architectural and historical account of Saint Mary's Church, St Bury St. Edmund’s, Part II, Jackson and Frost, Bury St. Edmund's.

Tymms, Samuel, 1848, An architectural and historical account of Saint Mary's Church, St Bury St. Edmund’s, Part III, Jackson and Frost, Bury St. Edmund's.

U. S. Department of the Interior, 2000, Historic American engineering record; Volume 23, No. 4, US. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC.

Wales Tourist Board, 1983, Wales architectural heritage, Wales Tourist Board, Cardiff.

White, Richard, 1988, Gerald's Wales: a twelfth century journey, Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments, Cardiff.

Wild, J., 1969, A short guide to the Cathedral Church of Durham.

Wiliam, Eurwyn, 2003, Rhyd-y-car: a Welsh mining community : the life, death and re-creation of a Welsh mining community, 1800-1980, National Museums & Galleries of Wales, Cardiff.

Wyeth, Lynn, 2011, A practical guide to handling freedom of information requests, Ark Group in association with Inside Knowledge, London.

York Archaeological Trust / Ordnance Survey, 1988, Roman and Anglian York (Map), Ordnance Survey, Southampton.


Anglesey Antiquarian Society & Field Club Transactions (2013)

Antiquity vol. 89 no. 343 (February 2015)

Archaeology Ireland no. 110 (Winter 2014) [donation]

Archive: The Quarterly Journal for British Industrial and Transport History no. 85 (March 2015)

Brycheiniog vol. 46 (2015)

BSI Update Standards (March 2015)

C20: The Magazine of the Twentieth Century Society issue 1/2015

Cardiganshire Family History Society Journal 1996-2013 (some gaps) [donation]

Cartographic Journal vol. 52 no. 1 (February 2015)

Ceredigion vol. 18 no. 2 (2014)

CPRW Newsletter no. 11 (Summer 1971)

Current Archaeology no. 301 (April 2015)

Cymmrodorion Transactions vol. 20 (2014)

Dyfed Archaeological Trust Newsletter (Summer 2014 and Autumn 2014)

Dyfed Family History Journal 1984-2013 (some gaps) [donation]

Focus: Historic Scotland’s Annual Magazine (2015)

Gower Society Newsletter (Spring 2015)

Heritage Bill e-Bulletin no. 9 (February 2015) [electronic version only]

Historical Association Annual Report nos. 60 & 63 (1965/66 & 1968-69)

Journal of Ecclesiastical History vol. 39 no. 1 to vol. 49 no. 4 (1988-1998) [donation]

NAMHO Newsletter (March 2015) [electronic version only]

Pembrokeshire Life (March 2015)

Post-Medieval Archaeology vols. 39 and 42-48 (2005 and 2008-2014) [donation]

Railway and Canal Historical Society Bulletin no. 454 (March-April 2015)

Railway and Canal Historical Society Journal no. 222 (March 2015)

Twentieth Century Society News and Events (January 2015) [electronic version only]

The Victorian no. 48 (March 2015)

Welsh Mills Society Newsletter no. 119 (April 2015)

Welsh Railways Research Circle Newsletter no. 142 (March 2015)

Yr Ardd (National Botanic Garden of Wales Magazine) no. 22 (Autumn 2014)

Also: An index of articles on houses in Country Life from 2 June 1950 to 2 August 1962. Typescript. To be kept with pamphlets in the library, ref. H5.COU(P)

Journals Current Awareness

Ceredigion vol. 18 no. 2, p. 1: ‘The Strange Case of a Mysterious Lead Anomaly: Castell Grogwynion Hillfort, Ceredigion: Iron Age smelting, eighteenth century pottery or post medieval prospection?’ by Simon Timberlake, Keith Haylock, Toby Driver, Louise Barker, Phil Andrews, Brenda Craddock, Anthony Gilmour and Lorraine Mepham

Current Archaeology no. 301, p. 11: ‘New heads for English Heritage’ [on the appointment of new CEOs for the new bodies arising from EH’s impending reorganization]; p. 12: ‘The English Railway Station’ by Chris Catling

Focus: Historic Scotland’s Annual Magazine, p. 5 ‘Historic Scotland and RCAHMS join forces in new heritage organisation’

Contact us
If you have any comments or enquiries, please feel free to contact us:

NMRW Library and Enquiries Service
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales
Crown Building,
Plas Crug,
SY23 1NJ

Telephone: +44 (0)1970 621200
Fax: +44 (0)1970 627701

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Categories: Resources

Walking into history – completion of the fieldwork stage of the Welsh Uplands Archaeology Initiative

Heritage of Wales News - Mon, 2015-03-30 14:57
Peter Schofield and Hannah Leighton from Oxford Archaeology North (OAN), on fieldwork in Snowdonia with David Leighton (centre) of the Royal Commission.
Field archaeologists have been making history by completing the final surveys in the 28-year long Uplands Archaeology Initiative.

The Uplands Archaeology Initiative has been in progress since 1987, and sponsored by the Royal Commission since 1991. Wales is essentially an upland country and this project is a programme of archaeological investigation designed to promote a wider and deeper understanding of Welsh upland heritage through survey, research and publication. Its core activity has been the exploration of upland above about 244m (800 ft) with teams of archaeologists recording sites and monuments they find there.

Exploration has focused on the unimproved moorland component of the Welsh landscape. Although some parts had previously been investigated to a greater or lesser degree and monuments identified, no systematic programme of reconnaissance had been carried out and vast areas remained entirely unexamined. This immense exploratory stage of the project draws to a close this year. By the end of March 2015 a little more than 2500 km2 of moorland will have been surveyed since the inception of the project. This work has taken place in all weathers, in some of the most exposed and extreme environments in Wales.

The final surveys are now being completed and the last covers upland to the south of Trawsfynydd, around Craig Aberserw in the Snowdonia National Park. Fieldwork here is being carried out by Peter Schofield and Hannah Leighton from Oxford Archaeology North (OAN), one of several organisations to have participated regularly in the project, through grant aid, over many years. OAN has now spent nine seasons working in the project in the uplands of North Wales since 2002. They have investigated 350 km2 of moorland and recorded some 4500 sites and monuments.

Hannah Leighton from Oxford Archaeology North (OAN) making a detailed record of an abandoned cottage settlement on moorland near Trawsfynydd.
Peter and Hannah have been looking at a broad range of ancient structures including abandoned settlements, burnt mounds, burial monuments, old peat workings and sheepfolds, many of which were entirely unknown. This diversity is typical of upland environments which are generally conducive to monument survival. By the close of this season it is anticipated that the entire programme of exploration will have resulted in the recording of around 42,000 previously unrecorded archaeological features, and the updating and enhancement of existing records for about 6000 more.

This dataset is a rich resource of information on past land use in the Welsh uplands. The Royal Commission will now begin to examine the legacy and achievements of this long running project. The future analysis of nearly three decades of survey data should lead to a deeper and richer understanding of the part played by the uplands in the history and culture of Wales.

By David Leighton

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Categories: Resources

One Hundred Years Ago Today…

Heritage of Wales News - Fri, 2015-03-27 10:00
The Western Approaches, off the coast of Pembrokeshire, were the hunting ground for the German submarine, U-28, under the command of Georg-Günther Freiherr (Baron) von Forstner. Two liners were sunk within 24 hours of each other. The first was the Dundee-built steamship AGUILA on 27 March. The second, a day later and with an even greater loss of life, was the West African mail steamer FALABA.

The AGUILA was built by Caledon Ship Building and Engineering Co, Dundee, in 1909. The vessel was one of several ships built by the yard for the Yeoward Line Ltd for their fruit importation and passenger service between Liverpool, Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands. The steamship was primarily a cargo carrier, but could accommodate 82 first-class passengers and had a normal crew complement of 42.

The AGUILA was on passage from Liverpool to Lisbon and Los Palmas under the command of Captain Bannerman. At 6pm on 27 March 1915, the ship began to be chased on the surface by U-28. The u-boat fired a warning shot forcing Captain Bannerman to order his ship to stop. The ship’s lifeboats were then lowered to begin the evacuation. However the enemy continued to shell the AGUILA; the Chief Engineer and two men were killed by shrapnel, a female passenger was shot and a female stewardess drowned when a lifeboat capsized. In all, 20 shells hit the ship before the u-boat fired the torpedo that caused the AGUILA to break in two and sink.

The crew remembered by us today and on the memorial for Merchant Navy seaman and fishermen at Tower Hill, London, are as follows: R. A. Chantler, Boatswain; Ernest Chard, Second Mate; William George Edwards, Chief Engineer; Martha Emily Jenkins, Stewardess; Mathew Kirkman, Donkeyman; and J Peterson, Able Seaman.

The FALABA was sunk in Irish waters, some 30 miles to the west of the Smalls. Over 100 people were killed, including one American passenger, Leon Chester Thrasher, a 31-year-old mining engineer from Massachusetts. The Thrasher incident, as it became known in the US media, nearly brought America into the Great War.

Commemorating all who gave their lives for their country who have no grave but the sea.

If you have documents, photographs or family history information associated with either of these shipping losses, you are most welcome to add them to the collection we have started on People’s Collection Wales.

People's Collection Wales details:

Coflein details:

This general arrangement plan for the AGUILA from the archive of Caledon Shipbuilding Company shows the various compartments for the cargo and the arrangement of cabins for passengers and crew.
A very special thank you to Dundee Archives for allowing us to include an image of the plan on the People's Collection Wales website site.

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Categories: Resources

Issue 38. Issue contents

Internet Archaeology - Wed, 2015-03-25 16:45
Landscape Structures and Human Evolutionary Ecology: space, scale and environmental patterning in Africa by Isabelle C. Winder; A New Record of Pre-Columbian Engravings in Urubici (SC), Brazil using Polynomial Texture Mapping by Philip Riris and Rafael Corteletti; Digital Media, Power and (In)Equality in Archaeology and Heritage by Sara Perry, Lucy Shipley and Jim Osborne; Understanding Archaeological Authority in a Digital Context by Lorna-Jane Richardson; Insular artefacts from Viking-Age burials from mid-Norway. A review of contact between Trøndelag and Britain and Ireland by Aina Margrethe Heen-Pettersen; Reconstructing Rebellion: Digital Terrain Analysis of the Battle of Dussindale (1549) by Alexander Hodgkins; UAV Aerial Survey - Blackquarries Hill Long Barrow (Data Paper) by Stephen Gray (Referee statement by Toby Driver); Review of Dactyl [app] by Alison Atkin; Review of Never Alone [game] by Andrew Reinhard
Categories: Resources

A New Archaeological Survey of Llanmelin Wood Hillfort, Caerwent

Heritage of Wales News - Mon, 2015-03-23 11:34
Survey in progress by Royal Commission Investigators at Llanmelin Wood hillfort, March 2015. Here GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) technology is used to gather highly accurate 3D data.A new archaeological survey is in progress at the magnificent Llanmelin Wood Iron Age hillfort, which overlooks Caerwent Roman town in south-east Wales. The Royal Commission is working closely with Cadw to provide a new detailed survey and understanding of this important hillfort to underpin a programme of new management, access and interpretation.

In the early 1930s Llanmelin hillfort was the focus of intense activity. An original survey by Sir Mortimer Wheeler was improved by V. E. Nash-Williams who conducted three seasons of excavation between 1930-32. At the time the hillfort was thickly wooded with virtually no clear sight lines. Nash-Williams excavated many narrow excavation trenches and running sections to explore the hillfort. In 2012 a new community excavation led by Cadw with Archaeology Wales was carried out to recover better artefactual and dating evidence including evidence for occupation into the Romano-British period.

Over 80 years on from the original survey, archaeologists Louise Barker and Toby Driver have returned to make a new detailed record of the fort. This is a site where many questions remain. The main hillfort has massive defences like many in south Wales, but it is flanked by a rectangular annex divided into two main compounds and bounded by massive linear earthworks. The 1930s excavations produced two human skeletons on the peripheries of the annex, an incredibly rare find for any Welsh hillfort. Previous opinion has suggested the rectangular compounds were for keeping stock, but there are few entrances. Reappraisal of the site in the Gwent County History suggested Llanmelin may be a late Iron Age oppidum with high status funerary enclosures – the annex - developed alongside the settlement.

Llanmelin hillfort from the air in 2011, AP_2011_1115.The new survey has identified previously unknown parts of the hillfort defences, discovered traces of an early phase enclosure within the main hillfort and recorded evidence of alterations or rebuilds to the ramparts. It is also making an accurate record of all the 1930s trenches, documenting management issues like animal burrows and erosion, and shedding new light on all parts of this complex site. When complete this will provide a starting point for a fresh appraisal of one of the most important Iron Age hillforts in south-east Wales.

Louise Barker and Toby Driver
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Categories: Resources

Laying Bare the Landscape: commercial archaeology and the potential of digital spatial data

Internet Archaeology - Thu, 2014-12-11 12:45
This article summarises the methodology we have applied to an intensively investigated part of the Upper Thames Valley. We discuss the potential of digital spatially referenced data to help bridge the gaps between the various commercial units who work side by side in the landscape, as well as between the various planning authorities. This article will be of interest to anyone working with digital data or with diverse datasets to understand wider landscapes, as well as anyone working with various funders, developers, and consultancies to plan for the best use of such 'big data' to improve heritage management and archaeological enquiry.
Categories: Resources

Issue 37. Human Exploitation of Aquatic Landscapes - themed issue

Internet Archaeology - Thu, 2014-12-11 12:45
Aquatic landscapes such as rivers, lakes, and seas played an important role in past human behaviour, affecting modes of subsistence, patterns of mobility, access to material resources, and technological choices and their developments. The interaction with aquatic landscapes was also influential in the establishment of economic and social structures and in the formation of communal identities. The aim of this special themed issue of Internet Archaeology is to contribute to a better understanding of different forms of human interaction with aquatic landscapes. Contents: Beneath Still Waters - Multistage Aquatic Exploitation of Euryale ferox (Salisb.) during the Acheulian; 4200 New Shell Mound Sites in the Southern Red Sea; Fishing and Fish Consumption in the Swahili Communities of East Africa, 700–1400 CE; The 'Wretched Poor' and the Sea: Contest and exploitation of Achill Island's historic maritime landscape; Direct Evidence for Bottom-fishing in Archaeological Whelks (Buccinum undatum); Shellfish from the Bronze Age Site of Clos des Châtaigniers (Mathieu, Normandy, France); Late Mesolithic-Early Neolithic Sealers: a case study on the exploitation of marine resources during the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in the south-western Baltic Sea; Exploitation of Aquatic Resources in Ahanve, Badagry, south-western Nigeria; Inland Ertebølle Culture: the importance of aquatic resources and the freshwater reservoir effect in radiocarbon dates from pottery food crusts; Increasing Mobility at the Neolithic/Bronze Age Transition - sulphur isotope evidence from Öland, Sweden
Categories: Resources

December 2011: Heathrow Terminal 5 Excavation Archive released.

Archaeology Data Service - Wed, 2011-12-07 17:45
The ADS and Framework Archaeology are pleased to announce the release of Heathrow Terminal 5 Excavation Archive, 2011. Framework Archaeology is a Joint Venture agreement between Oxford Archaeology (OA) and Wessex Archaeology (WA) to provide archaeological services to BAA. Between 1996 and 2000 they undertook extensive excavations of an important prehistoric and Roman landscape at Perry Oaks sludge works, Heathrow, Middlesex. Further archaeological work in advance of a fifth passenger terminal ('T5') at Heathrow Airport took place from 2002 onwards, and the results of those excavations will be integrated with the data contained in this archive.
Categories: Resources

November 2011: York Archaeology wins Queen's Anniversary Prize

Archaeology Data Service - Wed, 2011-12-07 17:45
The Department of Archaeology at York University, which hosts the ADS, has been given a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. Introduced following the 40th Anniversary of the Queen's reign in 1992, the prizes, which rank alongside the Queen's Awards for Industry are awarded biennially for 'work of exceptional quality and of broad benefit either nationally or internationally'. This is the fifth to be conferred on the university in 15 years, only the second time it has been awarded to a whole Department.
Categories: Resources

December 2011: Settlement Hierarchies in Roman Essex data online.

Archaeology Data Service - Wed, 2011-12-07 17:45
The ADS, ASE, English Heritage and UCL are pleased to announce the release of Town and Country in Roman Essex: Settlement Hierarchies in Roman Essex datasets, This is a large scale regional study based on correspondence analysis of finds assemblages, including coins, pottery, registered finds, animal bone and vessel glass. Data was primarily gathered from existing published or archive sources and was collected from sites in Essex, south-east Cambridgeshire and London dating to the period c 50BC-AD250. The database includes linked tables on small finds, glass, pottery and coins, as well as for the following aspects of the animal bone assemblages: NSIP, MNI, tooth-wear, MNE and metrics for bone elements.
Categories: Resources

November 2011: CAA Recycle Awards announced

Archaeology Data Service - Wed, 2011-12-07 17:45
Do you use ADS data in your research? If so then the CAA Recycle award should be of interest.CAA believes that any vibrant discipline must continually return to its own roots and re-evaluate legacy data if it is to progress. Furthermore, in the field of Archaeology it provides a far less destructive means of researching the past, and maximizes the return on resources invested in fieldwork. Digital technologies have a particularly strong role to play in this regard, thanks to their ability to synthesize large volumes of information and because they often apply new techniques unavailable to the original investigators. To this end, CAA is commencing an annual CAA Recycle Award that seeks to recognize those who breathe new life into old data.
Categories: Resources

November 2011: Parts and Wholes Project archive released

Archaeology Data Service - Fri, 2011-12-02 16:45
The ADS, The British Academy and Durham University are pleased to announce the release of Parts and Wholes: object categorisation and fragmentation in prehistoric context by J C Chapman and Bisserka Gaydarska, 2011. The 'Parts and Wholes' project is concerned with the relationship between complete objects and their fragments. The primary premise of the project can be concisely stated: deliberate object fragmentation was commonplace in the past, with widespread re-use of the ensuing fragments in an extended life 'after the break'. The project studied the artefact assemblages from Chalcolithic sites at Dolnoslav tell and the Durankulak and Varna cemeteries in Bulgaria.
Categories: Resources

October 2011: Historic Seascape Characterisation, Hastings to Purbeck

Archaeology Data Service - Thu, 2011-12-01 12:45
The ADS, SeaZone Solutions and English Heritage are pleased to announce the release of the Hastings to Purbeck and Adjacent Waters archive by SeaZone Solutions Limited, Maritime Archaeology Ltd, 2011.The project resulted in a GIS-based characterisation of the project area, extending from Hastings, Kent, to Purbeck, Dorset, along the coast and seaward across adjacent waters to the Median Line with France.
Categories: Resources

October 2011: The Virtual Amarna Project now released.

Archaeology Data Service - Thu, 2011-11-24 13:45
The ADS, the University of Arkansas and Barry Kemp are pleased to announce the release of The Virtual Amarna Project. This archive resulted from the 3D digitisation of objects from the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna using a Konica Minolta Vivid 9i system. Data includes images, 3D PDF files, meshes (obj) and point clouds (ascii). This archive was undertaken in conjunction with an electronic publication through the LEAP II project and the corresponding article (Limp et al, 2011) can be found in Internet Archaeology 30.
Categories: Resources

October 2011: Historic Seascape Characterisation, The Irish Sea (English sector)

Archaeology Data Service - Mon, 2011-10-31 15:45
The ADS, the University of Newcastle and English Heritage are pleased to announce the release of the Historic Seascape Characterisation: The Irish Sea (English sector) archive by Sam Turner, 2011. The project comprises a GIS-based historic seascape characterisation (HSC) of the English sector of the Irish Sea. HSC is guided by the same principles as Historic Landscape Characterisation, and is intended to inform coastal and marine management and planning, with particular reference to the role of English Heritage and its statutory responsibilities.
Categories: Resources

September 2011: Midlands ceramic project archive released

Archaeology Data Service - Tue, 2011-10-18 11:45
The ADS, Worcestershire Historic Environment, English Heritage and the Royal Archaeological Institute are pleased to announce the release of the Midlands purple and Cistercian-type wares in the west Midlands in the 15th-16th centuries by Susan M Wright, Derek Hurst, 2011. This project aimed to develop understanding of a major ceramics industry, its products being some of the commonest wares on late medieval to post-medieval (transitional) sites though it is an industry whose origins, dating and distribution are not sufficiently well understood.
Categories: Resources

August 2011: Medieval Britain and Ireland database updated

Archaeology Data Service - Thu, 2011-10-06 12:45
This searchable on-line database of fieldwork summaries has just been updated to include data from fieldwork carried out in 2009. Individual database records link through to unpublished reports in our on-line library of grey literature reports where appropriate. Updates to the Post-Medieval Fieldwork in Britain and Northern Ireland database will follow shortly.
Categories: Resources

August 2011: Southampton's Designated Archaeology Collections

Archaeology Data Service - Mon, 2011-10-03 12:45
Three new archives from excavations in Southampton have been added to this collection. The excavations were carried out in 2008 and 2009 by Thames Valley Archaeological Services and Southern Archaeological Services Ltd and cover sites at 20-26 College Street, Woolston Riverside and The 'Coach House' on Bevois Valley Road. Files available for download include reports, photographs and CAD diagrams.
Categories: Resources

August 2011: Vernacular Architecture Group Bibliography and Cruck database updated

Archaeology Data Service - Mon, 2011-09-12 17:45
These two resources from the Vernacular Architecture Group have been updated with new data and revisions. Some interface changes have also been implemented in order to make the searchable databases easier to use.
Categories: Resources
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