Thursday, 17 September 2009

Database update

Just to let you know the number of sites recorded on the database has increased to 76. CPAT are going to allow us to enter them on the reocrd ourselves - I am going to get the training towards the end of October.

Friday, 11 September 2009

The Historic Environmental Record

The red crosses show 68 new records added to HER using the data collected this summer. Well done everybody - this is a real contribution to our local record.

To see more closely click on the image and it should open in a larger format that you will be able to read.

Monday, 7 September 2009

The final day - Monday 7th September

The final day was spent around Pyrgad nearly at the top of the valley. Croft and the school were recorded and we identified at least two farmsteads that have been swallowed up by the forestry. There are still a number of walled lanes in the woods that give access to the higher pasture and the mountainside.

Over the weekend the team looked at the section around Pen-y-garn. This means that the south side of the valley has been surveyed from Pwyll Court to Y Neuadd. This represents about 1/4 of the total land area, so I estimate that it will take at least three more years to complete both sides, if we do just 15 days a year. In the next few weeks I will be putting out e-mails and letters to those who have offered to do a day or so each month so we can continue through the winter. It is easier to see features when the grass is low and we have identified a few places that it may be beneficial to excavate. Look out for news before the end of the month.

Jemma has continued to add records to the Historic Environmental Record. We must be up to 50 by now! Apart from adding to known sites we have also generated some research questions. There is a system of old routes along the valley, apart from the road, and there is a logical explanation as to why these exist. What is not so clear is why there is a trackway fairly close to the road why appears to be very old and passes under some of the field boundaries. It would be easy to speculate about this, but without hard evidence, which could be obtained by excavation, it would be little better than a guess.

I am hoping to organise a summing up meeting in the very near future to let everybody know what has been recorded and to give the opportunity for volunteers, residents and landowners to add anything they think is necessary to collective understanding of this beautiful, peaceful valley.

Thanks are due to everybody who has helped with the survey; the volunteers, residents and landowners. Without this kind of support a project like this would not be possible. If you have not been visited this year, please don't fret. We hope to continue and will include you next year.

Please come back to the blog as I will be adding to it in the future.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Day 12 - Friday 4th September

Its good to see our mentor, Mike Scott-Archer, back on his feet and running up mountains. Jemma and David, who have much younger legs have been struggling to catch Mike up for the last two days. Most of the section between Pant-y-paerau and Nantyllaethdy has been completed, with a few small areas to do on Saturday morning. Today Rodger Burchell valiantly completed four 30m square grids using the magnetometer, which might not sound much, but as it was a steep slope it took some stamina. Hopefully it will reveal a building shown below Penywaun on the 1587 map, and resolve the reason for a platform along a lynchet that has been followed through a series of fields about 100m south of the road. With just three working days left it may be possible to fill in the bit we have missed and join up with the section we completed in the first week around Y Neuadd.

The area covered this year amounts to about half of the identified study area. We are already working up a project design to look for funding for next year. Many people who have come along this year have asked if we will be continuing. The answer is yes. I am hoping to get volunteers together for about a day each month. There may be the opportunity to excavate or continue with the survey work as the weather allows. After Monday we can sit down and get our plans together. I will let you know via the blog and e-mail.

Jemma has started adding the new sites to the HER and we are on our way to the first 50. This data base is still under construction, but will be publicly accessible very soon. If you feel like a bit of fresh air tomorrow, meet us in the car park at 9.30.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Day 11 - Thursday 3rd September

7 intrepid souls set off to solve another mystery! Which Nantyllaethdy is which?
At some time in the past the house now known as Nantyllaethdy has swapped names with another to the east, which is closer to the stream of that name. At some point one of these two houses was known as Tir Howell Sais, and one of them, probably Penywaun was shown on the 1587 map.

By looking at field boundaries and the remains of features in the landscape, alongside the old estate maps (1587 and 1760), tithe maps and early ordinance surveys we hope to be able to construct a history of each place we look at. This project is a marriage of history and archaeology because the documentary (historical) evidence can be supported and informed by the archaeological evidence (and vice versa).

We have been examining parts of the mountain wall, which is of indeterminate date and as yet we do not have documentary evidence to help us with this. This is a significant monument that separates the managed land from the mountain high above the Dyffryn Crawnon and the Claisfer valleys. The ability to date this wall, which must have been a major work, and therefore co-ordinated by some agency, would be a major breakthrough for our local historical record.

If you would like to see for yourself, we welcome volunteers. We will be working every day until next Monday. We meet at the car park opposite the village hall at 9.30 each morning. Come prepared for the showery weather and bring your lunch.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

End of week two

Jan is finally back in Llangynidr after living it up at the Council for Independent Archaeologists conference at Buxton. Meanwhile the team continued to ferret around. Jemma has started putting the new information onto the HER. Each red dot on the map is a new piece of information.


We have managed to gain access to the most exciting areas of the Dyffryn Crawnon!!

Thanks to Sue’s good efforts plus many helpers – the show on Sunday was a great success. We very very busy all day answering questions, looking up people’s farms on ancient maps and answering other general enquiries. One of our visitors, Mr Evans, was so impressed by the display and the information we are generating on the survey he has allowed us access to his land between Pantypaerau and Penygarn. This is a major breakthrough because it allows us to study some of the best-mapped areas in 1587 and we are very excited. It also means that we can survey a substantial block of the most interesting parts of the Dyffryn Crawnon. There are quite a few late medieval buildings on these maps and these may correspond to some of the unoccupied ruins marked on the 1st edition OS maps. This section of valley also holds some potentially very interesting information about the Mountain wall and we may be able to actually date a section of this wall for the first time! We are looking for some intrepid hill walkers, enthusiastic building recorders and good photographers for the last week. Many, many thanks to Mr Evans and all of the landowners who have participated in this project. See you all on Thursday – 9.30 in the car park!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Day 8 - Saturday 29th August

With your editor still putting her feet up in Buxton, Jemma writes.....

The mystery of Tyle Farm solved!

Intrepid explorers Kerry and Ann managed to burst through the back of hedge of Johnathon's garden at Tyle Barns. Johnathon was very interested in our survey and kindly showed Ann and Kerry some old photos of the barn he had renovated in very splendid style! I was very excited because it turns out that Tyle Barns was on the site of an extremely finely depicted mansion-house on the 1587 map and we were able to provide Johnathon with a copy of this map. His next-door neighbours in the bungalow at Tyle Isaf were quite rightly sceptical at first but the maps don't lie and they were delighted to be convinced that they were living on such an illustrious plot. It's not every day that you can tell people they are living on the site of a former late medieval mansion and it was great to be able to give them maps and other information - well done Ann and Kerry.

Today was Mikey's last day (good luck with 6th form!) - and he had a very fruitful day NOT finding two mills and a medieval chapel. Sometimes you have to accept that no evidence is a useful addition to the record - it seems that the mill has been washed away and the chapel (below Neuadd) is so overgrown that we should return in the Winter for another look. Thanks to David and Rodger!

Good luck to the Richardsons whose holiday finishes on Tuesday - thanks for all the coffee and good luck Chris with your thesis.

The whole team will be at the Agricultural show on Sunday. There will be no blog entry for that day. If you want to come along on Monday, meet at the car park at 9.30 in the morning. Happy surveying!