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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

First World War Centenary Commemoration

The Welsh National War Memorial was erected in Cathays Park in 1928. This image is one of many photographs of war memorials now available on Coflein.
Between 2014 and 2018 the Royal Commission will take part in the centenary commemoration of the First World War. The conflict, beginning in 1914 and ending in 1918, as well as its immediate aftermath, helped shape the Wales of today. One hundred years on, organisations across the nation are working to: promote understanding of the conflict and the devastation it wrought, explore its impacts, and discover its legacy for modern Wales.

Over the next four years, the Commission will contribute to the national commemoration of the First World War in Wales by:
  • Surveying and recording a selected number of sites with connections to the First World War and its legacy, including aerial reconnaissance work of sites such as the practice trenches at Penally, Pembrokeshire, and other training areas.
  • Enhancing information in the National Monuments Record of Wales related to the First World War.
  • Continuing to enrich our knowledge of shipwrecks and U-boat wrecks located off the Welsh coastline, and other maritime losses caused by the conflict.
  • Providing exhibitions that highlight the history, impact and legacy of the First World War in Wales.
  • Working with People’s Collection Wales to enhance content relating to the First World War. 
  • Working in partnership with Cadw, English Heritage, Historic Scotland and the Council for British Archaeology on the Home Front Legacy 1914-18 project. This unique, UK-wide community project records physical remains of sites and buildings associated with the First World War, ensuring their history, heritage and stories are recorded for future generations (
  • Taking opportunities to work in partnership with other organisations to commemorate the events of the First World War, and to explore its impact and legacy for the people of Wales.

You can follow our work on the First World War by subscribing to our blog,, and by following us on Twitter at @RCAHMWales, and #walesremembers.

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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Upland Archaeology and Military Landscapes in Wales

A dayschool organised by the Royal Commission in partnership with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust.
9 May 2014. Sennybridge Training Area,
Brecon, Powys
There will be an opportunity, over lunch, for delegates to view surviving Prisoner of War paintings on the Sennybridge Camp Cookhouse wall, painted by prisoners of war from Italy and Germany in 1945-6.  This view shows Heidlberg Castle in southern Germany (DS2011_331_003).

This year’s Uplands Archaeology Forum will be held on Friday 9 May 2014 at the Red Kite Centre, Sennybridge Training Area (SENTA) in Powys. This will be an open event, held in partnership with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust. The morning will see reports from upland surveys around Wales while the afternoon will be dedicated to papers about the archaeology of upland military landscapes in Wales. Registration is £20 to include sit-down lunch, refreshments and admission.

This will be a rare opportunity to attend an event at the training area and for delegates to hear more about the archaeology of Mynydd Epynt and other archaeological landscapes in Wales, and to visit sites around the range in the company of archaeologists and military personnel. As places will be limited early booking is advisable. 

Further details and booking arrangements can be found on the Royal Commission’s website. For further information please contact David Leighton on or telephone 01970 621204

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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Nissen Hut: “one of the great design classics of the twentieth century”

Two Nissen Huts at RNAD Trecwn, Pembrokeshire, NPRN 96059

One of the world’s most recognisable military structures is the humble half-cylindrical Nissen Hut. The simple design was developed by Canadian-American Captain Peter Norman Nissen, of 29th Company, Royal Engineers in 1916.

First used later that year at Hesdin, France, the light, economic and reusable huts were manufactured in three widths – 16ft; 24ft; and 30ft, the internal bays were set at 6ft, so any length of hut could be used, as necessary. The whole standard unit could be carried by a single 3-tonne army lorry. The load comprised the corrugated-iron outer skin; wooden inner linings; the semi-circular metal frames; a wooden door; and oiled cloth windows. A well-rehearsed team of six men could assemble a hut on a prepared concrete base in four hours. One hut was completed in a record time of 1 hour 27 minutes. It is estimated that over 100,000 units were produced during WWI.

The Nissen Huts fulfilled the requirement for temporary structures to accommodate the large numbers of newly conscripted troops for the army. The versatile design meant functions could also include kitchens, mess rooms, stores, dressing stations, churches etc.

Drawing: From Medwyn Parry Collection.

Nissen had filed the patent for his design in the UK, Australia, South Africa, Canada, and the US. But he declined any royalties for the duration of WWI, and the manufacturing company did the same again during WWII.

Captain Nissen was not the only one to be developing temporary hutting during the First World War. Other solutions included Armstrong Huts, Aylwin Huts, Forest Huts, Tarrant's Portable Huts, and Weblee Huts, each named after officers in the Royal Engineers. During the Second World War there were similar designs such as Abbey Huts, Iris Huts, Romney Huts, and Tufton Huts. However, none of these was as ubiquitous as one of the great design classics of the twentieth century, the eponymous Nissen Hut. The simple concept has continued to be used for almost a century without alteration to its basic shape.

By Medwyn Parry.

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Atlanterra Project II: Slate Studies

The Atlanterra project has also led to cultural tourism and heritage maps and guides of a number of mining fields including the Mapa de Patrimonia Minero de Galicia, (IGME, Madrid, 2013) and the Slate quarrying & mining sites of the French/Breton border in ‘Sur le Chemin des Ardoisières’ (Marie de Noyant-la-Gravoyère, 2013). Mapping and publication of mining on the iron pyrites belt of Portugal is also being published as part of the project. Mapping of the Swansea Valley coalmining field and its eighteenth and early nineteenth-century railways in south Wales has also led to a re-analysis of the origins of the public railway published in S. R. Hughes, 2010, ‘The Emergence of the public railway in Wales’, in G. Boyes (Ed.), Early Railways 4: Papers from the Fourth International Early Railways Conference (Six Martlets, Sudbury, 2010), 107-124. The international diffusion of narrow-gauge railway practice from Wales to Sardinia is discussed in Hughes, Stephen, 2011. ‘Piercy, Benjamin (1827-88), railway builder. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, Oxford University Press [].

The geological analysis of building-stones in the area studied as part of the Atlanterra project has included an analysis of part of the World Heritage Pilgrimage route to Santiago Compostella in a volume by Martinez, R.J. & Diaz Martinez, E. on Las piedras del Camino de Santiago en Galicia, (Instituto Geolόgico y Minero de España, Madrid, 2013); available at!/p/coleccion-guias-geologicas.html.

A major aim of the Atlanterra project has been the heritage contribution to the valorisation and regeneration of old mining fields. Part of the explanation of this process has been published as Stephen Hughes, 2011 ‘The Comparative Regeneration of the Blaenavon and Pontcysyllte World Heritage Areas’, in Industrie Archäologie 10 (2011) (Industrial Heritage –Ecology & Economy: XIV. International TICCIH Congress 2009 in Freiberg, Germany – Selected Papers), 55-9.

The Atlanterra Project has also contributed to the process whereby TICCIH has agreed with ICOMOS to restart the series of World Heritage Studies. The background to this has already been explained in Stephen Hughes 2012, ‘Thematic World Heritage Studies’ in James Douet (Ed.), Industrial Heritage Re-tooled: The TICCIH guide to Industrial Heritage Conservation (TICCIH, Michigan, USA & Carnegie, Lancaster), 2012, 174-181.

The Atlanterra Project has provided the funding for the process of the compilation of initial studies of the slate and building-stone industries to be started. An initial summary of some of this comparative work has been published by Dr. David Gwyn in Anjou and Gwynedd: Slate Landscapes (Snowdonia National Park, Plas Tan y Bwlch, 2013). Much more and analytical detail of the north Wales Slate Industry will shortly be published in Gwyn, D., Welsh Slate: Archaeology & History of an Industry (RCAHMW, Aberystwyth, 2014).

The Atlanterra partnership has included representatives of areas that had some of the biggest international slate-producing industries. The largest industry developed in the Loire Valley in France in the medieval and post-medieval period and then was overtaken in scale by the nineteenth-century Welsh industry. In the twentieth-century the Spanish slate industry has become the largest in Europe.  Discussion and field visits have allowed draft documents to be produced as a foundation for future World Heritage Studies of slate and building-stone to be produced in consultation with a wider range of TICCIH members.

The methodology of producing animations for industrial archaeological interpretation continues and the annual Digital Past Conferences are one vehicle for carrying this discussion forward (check for future conferences). Some further work has been carried-out as part of the Metal Links Irish-Welsh partnership led by the Royal Commission in Wales and this will be reported on in a future Bulletin.

Stephen Hughes.
Projects Director, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales & TICCIH Secretary

Further Reading:

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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Atlanterra Project I: the Development of Interpretative Animation & International Slate Studies

The development and international diffusion of innovatory survey and presentation techniques was one of the objectives of the four year Atlanterra: Green Mines Project which was brought to a conclusion in the early months of 2014.  The Project Partners also laid the foundations for international studies of the building-stone and slate industries.

The first four months of 2014 saw the culmination of a four year project that examined the valorisation of the mining heritage and laid the foundations for World Heritage Studies of the Building-stone and slate industries. It examined the mining heritage from both a geological and archaeological/historical viewpoint and explored how to showcase this heritage using the application of new digital technologies. As a result The Royal Commission recently won the first Peter Neaverson Award for Digital Innovation given by the British Association for Industrial Archaeology for its animation of world’s largest early/mid 19th century copper works - Hafod Copperworks in Swansea, south Wales, U.K. which can be viewed online at Other industrial archaeological interpretative animation films can be viewed at .

The two surviving engine sheds and rolling machinery at the Hafod Copper Works site. Crown Copyright: RCAHMW

Utilising a wealth of survey carried out by the RCAHMW and their in-house expertise in industrial archaeology, combined with historic images from the West Glamorgan Record Office and Swansea Museum, the animation recreates the detail of buildings, machinery and processes on the site as well as a sense of the highly industrial nature of the Lower Swansea Valley in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The establishment of authenticity by analytical survey must underpin both the conservation and presentation of internationally important industrial archaeology sites as discussed in Stephen Hughes, 2011 ‘Authenticity and Conservation in World Heritage’ in ICOMOS  China, Wuxi Forum on the Conservation of China’s Cultural Heritage, Conservation of Heritage Canals: Material for Academic Exchanges (ICOMOS China, Wuxi, 2011), 9-13.
Stills from the animation. Crown Copyright: RCAHMW

The Atlanterra: Green Mines II European Inter-regional Project was formed in February 2010 by a group of geological, archaeological, tourism and regeneration organisations from France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Wales led by the municipality of Noyant-la-Gravoyère. An understanding of historic mining fields can only be achieved by a determination of their geological structure considered together with their archaeological remains. Cosequently the project partners have included the Instituto Geologico y Minero de España (IGME), the Laboratorio Nacional de Energia e Geologia of Portugal (LNEG) and the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI). The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) has led on the archaeological objectives that included the demonstration and diffusion of digital and laser-scanning techniques.

Some 19 project blogs, describing the survey work undertaken, some based on the former centre of the world slate industry in the mountains of north Wales were posted here at  including  ‘2011/10/atlanterra-project-business-meeting.html’ , ‘2010/10/survey-at-maenofferen-slate-quarry.html’ and ‘2010/8/periant-arbrofol-codi-cwch-camlas.html’ [i.e. looking for an 18th century canal boat lift]. The slate industry was identified as being of international importance in S. R. Hughes, D. Gwyn & J. Alfrey,  2010, ‘Wales in the Industrial and Modern Period (Post 1750), Review of the Research Framework for the Archaeology of Wales, 7pp.’ at

Laser-scanning of a significant site such as that carried-out in the Vivian Slate Quarry, part of one of the world’s biggest nineteenth-century mountain terraced slate quarries of Dinorwig, Llanberis, north Wales can be viewed at These laser-scans of large industrial landscapes can simply be used to produce on-line ‘fly-throughs’ and seem to have an almost magical other-worldly feel that draws new audiences to go and explore these sites for themselves. The Royal Commission also commissioned an equally attractive scan of an underground mine-pumping waterwheel in a lead mine in mid Wales which can be viewed online at

This work helped inspire our Atlanterra project partners to produce their own ‘fly-through’ films.  One has just been produced by the Copper Coast Geopark in County Waterford in Ireland of the conserved copper mine engine-houses on the cliff at Tankardstown and can be viewed at Another has a fly-through of the remaining dry underground tunnels and mineral formations in the mine. This includes a 3D digital representation of all the levels, shafts and tunnels ever worked in the mine constructed from the historical mine plans archive held by the Geological Survey of Ireland. This can be viewed at The tours also encourage cultural tourism from the Copper Coast Geopark Centre ( where they can be viewed on-site.

The digital and laser surveys have helped produce high quality results upon which animators can build 3D models conveying reliable information to cultural tourists. The Royal Commission’s initial animation of the building of the World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in north Wales available at, produced in 2009, lacked a sound track. The Hafod Copper Works animation has soundtracks in the English and Welsh languages and as well as being available on youtube these animations are shown at the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Visitor Centre, the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea and by the Swansea Riverboat Trust. The Hafod Animation also has character animations of copper-workers.

The Geological Survey of Ireland subsequently produced a visualisation of the copper-ore dressing-floors at Knockmahon and the Laboratorio Nacional de Energia e Geologia of Portugal has produced an animation of historical conical-shaped copper-roasting structures in use as part of the Teleiras mining process at Aljustrel.

The design and distribution of workers’ housing and settlements were also compared as part of the Atlanterra Project (online database of workers housing in Wales is available as part of ‘Coflein’ at In Wales animations of the key 1790s ironworkers ‘Bunkers Row’ Houses & institutional buildings at Blaenavon World Heritage Site (south Wales) was produced and can be viewed online in English at and in the Welsh-language at Both films are now shown on-site at the World Heritage Centre in Blaenavon. The animations show clearly how urban ideas of designing ‘back-to-back’ houses from the English west Midlands were imported to rural south Wales with the influx of both capital and key workers to the region. They also show how the iron workers built their own protestant Welsh-language chapels in the Italianate style to distinguish them from the gothic English-language Anglican churches provided by the ironmasters. The international background to this has been discussed in S. R. Hughes, 2010, ‘Attitudes to Religion, Education, and Status in Worker Settlements: The Architectural and Archaeological Evidence from Wales’, in M. C. Beaudry & J. Symonds (Ed.), Interpreting the Early Modern World: Transatlantic Perspectives (Springer, New York, in series C.E. Orser (Ed.) Contributions to Global Historical Archaeology, 2010), 197-225.  The international context has been expanded upon in Stephen Hughes, 2011 ‘The Architecture of Nonconformist Christian Religion and National Identity’ in P. Bellamy & Guarin Montpetit (Ed.), Religion: Beliefs, Theories and Societal Effects, (Nova Science Publishers, New York, 2011), 1-33 (2011).

International exchanges and visits to key slate-quarrying and mining sites were held during two international conferences held as part of the Atlanterra Project in 2012: at Plas Tan-y-Bwlch in north Wales (in conjunction with ICOMOS-UK) and at Nantes in France. Papers from the latter conference are available in Atlanterra, ‘Valorisation du Patrimoine Minier’ Actes du Colloque18 et 19 Septembre 2012, Nantes (Noyant-la-Gravoyère, 2013).

Animations of two of the major slate-quarrying and mining sites at Maenofferen Blaenau Ffestiniog and Vivian’s Quarry at the Dinorwig slate-quarrying complex have been produced as part of the Atlanterra Project and will be available at An animation of the railway inclined-planes at the Vivian’s Slate Quarry is already available at

During discussions with partner organisations it was decided that previous animations of sites such as the Hafod Copper Works lacked photographs showing the present state of the works. The latest slate animations address this deficiency by including both terrestrial and aerial photographs of the sites and landscapes. They also use an alternative narrative methodology by using sub-titles rather than spoken narratives.

In 2012 the Atlanterra project also sponsored the Royal Commission’s annual international conference on digital innovation Digital Past (details at Part of the output of that conference was the Atlanterra sponsored booklet Rhannu Ein Gorffennol Digidol: Sharing Our Digital Past (RCAHMW, Aberystwyth, 2012) to give guidance on current digital innovations and their use. Much of this is available online at: One very useful survey tool is aerial laser-scanning (also used by GSI in a Maritime context to detect wrecks as well as undersea deposits) which is explained at:

By Stephen Hughes.
Projects Director, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales & TICCIH Secretary

Further Reading:
  • The Atlanterra Project II: Slate Studies
    23 Apr 2014
    The Atlanterra project has also led to cultural tourism and heritage maps and guides of a number of mining fields including the Mapa de Patrimonia Minero de Galicia, (IGME, Madrid, 2013) and the Slate quarrying & mining sites ...

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Monday, 14 April 2014

Britain From Above at Cardigan Library

On Monday 31 March, Britain From Above’s Activity Officer and Community Archaeologists from the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments Wales were in Cardigan Library as part of the nationwide Spring Online campaign, helping senior members of the community explore and use the internet. Over thirty people including residents from the local community and further afield came along to hear about the Britain from Above project for the first time. They were astonished by the range of the collection and the quality of the images.

The website is a fantastic online resource showcasing a previously unseen collection of aerial photographs of Wales, Scotland and England from the pioneering age of aviation. The collection covers the years 1919-1953, a period when the landscape of Britain was undergoing drastic change.

After hearing about the project and seeing the remarkable collection, they were all keen to log in and get started! Once registered, people were eager to start looking for places they knew well. There was an engaging mix of interests drawing people to the event, some came along who had a strong fascination with local history and were enthusiastic to find out how to use the site for their own research whilst other people enjoyed looking for places they knew when they were growing up.

It was a successful day with attendees happily sharing their stories of Cardigan from both their research and personal memories. Everyone who joined us left knowing more about the Britain from Above project and the ways it could be explored and used as a free research resource.

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

First Modern Excavation on Skomer Seeks to Explore and Date Island’s Prehistoric Settlements

The Skomer Island Project team (L-R), Dr Oliver Davis (Cardiff University), Louise Barker (RCAHMW), Dr Bob Johnston (University of Sheffield), Dr Toby Driver (RCAHMW)
A collaborative research project between staff of the Royal Commission, The University of Sheffield and Cardiff University has just completed a third season of fieldwork and research on the renowned prehistoric landscape and national nature reserve of Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire, west Wales. This included the historic, first modern excavation in the island’s history, exploring a mound of burnt stone alongside a prehistoric settlement, which produced flintwork, datable charcoal and the first fragments of prehistoric pottery from the island.

Skomer is a heavily protected landscape famous for its puffins and other breeding seabirds, but it is also home to some of the best preserved prehistoric field systems and hut settlements anywhere in Britain. In 2011 the Royal Commission used airborne laser scanning (LiDAR) to map comprehensively the island’s field systems. This work discovered evidence for a longer chronology to the fields than had previously been thought. The Skomer Island Project built on this work in 2012 with the first use of geophysics on the island, which showed that unrecorded prehistoric fields and settlements survive beneath the modern fields in the centre of the island.

Despite two major studies of the island’s archaeology in the twentieth century, no modern excavation had been attempted. In order to refine a chronology, the team set out in 2014 to undertake the first modern excavation to locate buried charcoal and other evidence suitable for radiocarbon dating and scientific analysis. It was decided to target one of the many substantial mounds of burnt stone in the north of the island, which are found alongside the prehistoric hut groups, thought to have built up from cooking activities. Although few finds were encountered in the mound itself, a sealed soil layer was uncovered a metre down, which yielded charcoal, flint tools and fragments of prehistoric pottery. Excavations were recorded using Structure from Motion, a technique which builds individual photographs into a 3D digital model of the land surface. The hard work of post-excavation now begins to analyse the discoveries and learn more about prehistoric life on Skomer.

Accurately recording prehistoric finds and charcoal samples in three dimensions using GPS.

The Skomer Island Project team would like to thank the Skomer Island Wardens, the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and Natural Resources Wales for accommodating the archaeological work and granting permission to work in a Site of Special Scientific Interest. They are also grateful to Cadw for Scheduled Monument Consent, which allowed the work to proceed. The Royal Commission’s online records for the work can be found here.

By Toby Driver

 Further Reading:

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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Archaeology and the Sea: Aberystwyth hosts CBA Wales Spring Meeting

On Saturday 5th April CBA (Council for British Archaeology): Wales held its Spring Meeting at Y Morlan Centre, Aberystwyth. The theme was Archaeology and the Sea: Coastal Archaeology in Wales. The Royal Commission provided exhibition material, including a display on Aberystwyth’s storm-damaged Bathrock Shelter and aerial photographs of the coastal davastation caused by the recent storms of 2014.

CBA-sponsered Community Archaeologists, Kimberly Briscoe and Sarahjayne Clements, were on hand to discuss their current community project, The Coastal Heritage of Borth and Ynyslas. Both are completing CBA-sponsered work placements with the Royal Commission. The project has proved hugely popular, with an ever-increasing number of Borth and Ynyslas residents (past and present) eager to participate and to contribute memories, photographs and documents. Material generated will be added to the National Monuments Record (NMR) and uploaded to People’s Collection Wales, creating a permanent digital record. The project’s facebook page can be found at

The Royal Commission’s CBA work placements, Kimberley and Sarahjayne, discuss the coastal heritage of Borth and Ynyslas

During the afternoon’s symposium, Mike Roberts (Bangor University) detailed current research on the history of north Wales’ sea level change, including the fascinating results of a multibeam sonar survey of the entire Anglesey coast. A causeway linking Anglesey to the mainland is now thought to have been submerged for the first time at around  8,400BP. Stephen Briggs (independent researcher) then gave an informative talk about the remains of ancient landscapes beneath the beach at Llanrhystud. Various recently exposed features include post-glacial peat deposits and parts of a cobbled track thought to be associated with nearby post-medieval limekilns. Paul Huckfield (Gwent-Glamorgan Archaeological Trust) reviewed recent discoveries on the south Wales coast revealed by the 2014 storms. They  include a cemetery at Monknash, two canon at Porthcawl and a number of ship wrecks, discovered as a result of the Welsh Archaeological Trusts’ Arfordir scheme. The pan-Wales scheme brings together local volunteers to record and moniter their coastal heritage and incorporate the results into the regional Historic Environment Records. One of the shipwrecks, identified through the Royal Commission’s Maritme Database, is thought to be that of the iron-hulled Ben-y-Gloe, wrecked on its maiden voyage from Penarth in 1886.

The Royal Commission’s Maritime Officer, Deanna Groom, then explained the Commission’s leading role in the recording, curating and supplying of information regarding Wales’ maritime heritage. The Commission’s 9498 Maritime records comprise around 9% of the entire National Monuments Record. They include coastal and intertidal features, submerged landscape features, historic seascape features, 6000+ shipwrecks and 349 downed aircraft.

Royal Commission Maritime Officer, Deanna Groom, talks about Wales’ rich maritime archaeology

Deanna also outlined recent work with Kimberley and Sarahjayne on the Royal Commission and Cadw’s Shipwrecks Project, designed to investigate the wider impact of the Royal Charter Gale of 1859. The Royal Charter was one of 50+ vessels driven onto the Welsh coast by the gale. The project involved working with Welsh Baccalaureate students from Pembrokeshire College, engaging them with the story of the storm and their local maritime heritage. The project also demonstrated how local resources can be used for research, with Pembrokeshire Archives facilitating a ‘treasure hunt’ across shipping registers, burial records and census returns. Material generated by the project can be viewed by visiting ‘The Great Storm of 1859’ and ‘Pembrokeshire Shipwrecks Project’ on the freshly relaunched People’s Collection Wales website.

Some of the items uploaded by the Royal Commission to People’s Collection Wales as part of ‘The Great Storm of 1859’ collection

The afternoon’s final speaker was Martin Bates (University of Wales Trinity St David, Lampeter), who discussed the results of recent archaeological investigation at Borth and Clarach. Recent coastal change, coupled with this year’s storms, has revealed extensive prehistoric peat exposures, within which are contemporary organic remains and animal and human (including a child’s) footprints. At Borth, a combination of survey, sampling and archaeological excavation has facilitated far greater understanding of the foreshore’s underlying geology and the reconstruction of its post-glacial landscape.

The event proved a great success, providing an informative insight into the wealth of archaeology located around Wales’ coastline, as well as highlighting its fragile and precarious nature.

By Nikki Vousden

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The Great Walk: Fan Llia and Fan Dringarth Guided Walk, 3 May

The rolling moorland landscape looking across the upper Llia valley to the south-east
On Saturday 3 May, David Leighton, an expert in uplands archaeology from the Royal Commission will be leading a guided walk around Fan Llia and Fan Dringarth in the beautiful Brecon Beacons. In a quiet area for walking, well hidden from more popular routes, this picturesque moorland walk is notable for monuments of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date, which can be seen along the route. Notable highlights of the walk include a massive block of sandstone and one of the largest prehistoric standing stones in South Wales at Maen Llia (NPRN: 84541), and the old toll road and possibly the line of the Roman road, Sarn Helen (NPRN: 407122), as well as the extensive remains of numerous historic period settlement sites in the Nant y Gaseg Valley.

Covering a total distance of about 13.5 km (8.5miles), this walk will follow a course along the western slopes of Fan Llia to the head of the Llia valley, across Bryn Melyn and Cefn Perfedd into Cwm Dringarth and tributary stream valleys below Fan Dringarth, and down Cwm Dringarth above the Ystradfellte Reservoir, returning to the carpark across the southern extent of Cefn Perfedd.
Walkers will meet at 10.30am at the parking and picnic area (SN92721646) on the unclassified road between Ystradfellte and Heol Senni. This can be accessed to the south from the A4215 Sennybridge to Libanus road.

For further information, email Nicola Roberts, or phone 01970 621200. Places are limited to 30 on this walk.

View of Maen Llia from the north-west

A fuller description of  this walk , together with other walks and sites encountered along the route, may be found in a copy of  The Western Brecon Beacons: The Archaeology of Mynydd Du and Fforest Fawr by David Leighton which is available from the Royal Commission.

This walk has been organised as part of Ramblers Cymru and Cadw’s Great Walks programme. For further details of other walks amid a historic setting this spring, please use Cadw’s events finder: 

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