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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

West Coast Palaeolandscapes Project - Thomas Telford Centre, Menai Bridge, Hosts Lost Lands of our Ancestors Seminar

West Coast Palaeolandscapes Project 
Lost Lands of our Ancestors
Introduction to work which is currently being undertaken to enhance the National Monuments Record of Wales
On Thursday 13 October 2011, portraits of the great engineers Thomas Telford and Robert Stephenson provided the backdrop for presentations by project team from the University of Birmingham, Dyfed Archaeological Trust and the RCAHMW.

In 2010, these three organisations came together to facilitate a programme of research to explore two areas of that vast low-lying plain that once connected Wales to Ireland and the Isle of Man. Seabed seismic reflection surveys undertaken by companies searching for oil and gas reserves were used to map elements of the former landscape in Liverpool Bay and Bristol Channel. These surveys have proven that areas of higher ground, river valleys, depressions that were once lakes, and earlier coastlines can still be seen locked away in the geological formations of the seabed.

Dr Simon Fitch provided an introduction to the University of Birmingham’s work in the southern North Sea and the results of the review of seismic data for Liverpool Bay and Bristol Channel. Ken Murphy, director, Dyfed Archaeological Trust, provided a fascinating overview of the early prehistory of Wales, whilst Louise Austin, Principal Archaeologist Heritage Management, Dyfed Archaeological Trust, introduced some of the key issues with regard managing these heritage assets. She also introduced the project’s site and the educational resources which are soon to be available. Deanna Groom, Maritime Officer, RCAHMW, concluded with an introduction to work which is currently being undertaken to enhance the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW) in offshore areas and how the information from West Coast Palaeolandscapes Project is being integrated.

The audience had the opportunity to view the project’s exhibition panels and to pick up copies of the popular ‘The Lost Lands of our Ancestors’ book. A special addition to the displays available was that brought by Gordon Roberts from the Sefton Coast Partnership: Archaeology and History Task Group. The panels revealed the fossilised human and animal footprints regularly uncovered at Formby Point, Sefton Coast ( Similar sets of footprints have been found around the Welsh coast in the Severn Estuary and most recently at Lydstep near Tenby. These footprints provide the most evocative evidence yet for the inhabitants of the Lost Lands of our Ancestors.

Project’s exhibition panels

The West Coast Palaeolandscapes Project partner’s WWW pages can be accessed at:

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