The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd, created in 1975, is a charitable company (Registered in Wales, No: 1276976; Registered Charity No. 505609). The Trust's aim is to help people of all ages understand and appreciate this rich heritage, and to care for it so that it is preserved for the future. Our main objective is to advance the education of the public in archaeology. This mission statement is contained in the Trust's founding documents and is the guiding principle of all our work.

An archaeologists work is never done…Mondays tasks

Documents discovered during the Urban Village excavation

Just read a post uploaded by my colleague talking about the group of old documents that the Trust discovered during a recent excavation (read news story)

He’s been fielding phone calls from journalists about the letters, which were written in 1931 and are from young women applying for the position of junior clerk and GGAT are keen to track-down the relatives or even the applicants themselves.  Apparently, they are wanting extra photographs and quotes, so that’s what I’ll be up to first thing Monday morning!  But for know, I’ll just make my 10th cup of tea and carry on blogging.

I hope you’ve all enjoined reading all about the activities of GGAT staff on a single day.

Congrats and thanks to Lorna, and Matt and everybody that made ‘Day of Archaeology’ such a success!!

GGAT logo and QRtag intergrated

 

 

WWII RAF Structure

Have just returned from my photographic survey of the remains of a building once associated with RAF St Brides (also known as No 6 SLG).  The airfield was originally a grass strip and also used as an emergency landing strip for RAF Llandow, which lies further to the northeast.

This survey will be included in a Cadw funded project that I’ll be undertaking later in the year looking at all the major WWII airfields in Southeast Wales. These been: Fairwood, Stormy Down, St Brides, Llandow, St Athans, Cardiff, Pengam Moor, and Chepstow.


last planning app of the day

Well, it’s been fun. My last application of the day involved an extension and a historic landscape, after a varied day. I’ve had small applications, large applications and QA’d a report on an archaeological evaluation with med. archaeology. It’s been an interesting read of everyone else’s blogs, and that no two are the same, and in a kind of wierd way we are all part of an archaeological family. Now that I’ve remembered my passwords, when are we having another day of this!!

Digging from a desk

Prynhawn bob.  I’m Andy Sherman, an Assistant Project Officer with the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeology Trust.  For a large part of the day I’ve been working on a Written Scheme of Investigation or WSI.  This is a document that sets out what sort of work needs to be conducted on a site (evaluations, watching-briefs, building recordings etc) and how that work should be carried out, they are often attached to planning applications by curatorial archaeologists.  The WSI gives the client and the curatorial archaeologists confidence that the site will be excavated properly and gives the field archaeologists doing the digging an idea of the archaeology, geology and history of the site and surrounding area.  The site I’ve been looking at today is an early 18th century farmhouse, which is a Grade II Listed Building and roughly 500m away from a deserted medieval village.  So the archaeologists digging here can hopefully expect to find lots of medieval remains as well as recording any changes to the structure of the building itself during it’s renovation.

Sitting behind a desk is not what I thought I’d be doing when I first became an archaeologist, having watched one to many Indy films as a kid I expected my job to involve long days in the field, discovering the exciting remains of long lost civilisations and being chased by angry tribesmen.  And to be fair the first few years of my job were like that, but as I’ve got older and my knees have started to creek and my back has started to protest I look forward to odd day in the office pouring over old maps and documents.

Talking of old documents I’ve also been fielding phone calls from journalists about a site I was excavating in the centre of Swansea earlier in the year.  While working on site we uncovered a stash of job application letters in a basement.  The letters were written in 1931 and are all from young women, aged between 15 and a half and 21, applying for the position of junior clerk, advertised in a local newspaper.  We’re keen to track-down the relatives or even the applicants themselves so have been in touch with various journalists.  Today they’ve been getting back in touch wanting extra photographs and quotes.

The last job I need to do before heading for a Friday pint is start a new desk-based assessment for a development in Port Talbot.

Job application for junior clerk, 1931


Day in the life of an archaeological planning officer 3.30pm

Since lunch I’ve been going through a draft written scheme of investigation (WSI) for a development in Chepstow. The WSI is required to meet a condition attached to the planning consent for a residential development. An archaeological evaluation (trial trenching) of the site was carried out prior to the determination of the planning application, but this was restricted due to there being occupied buildings on the site. The scheme therefore will commence with further evalaution work and then, depending on the results, could lead to an archaeological excavation on indentified areas of the site, although it is possible that little additional work will be required, if the construction of the current buildings has destroyed all of the archaeology.

Checking a wsi can be very boring and tedious and you can feel that you are being pernickety but experience has shown that getting the wsi right can save a lot of time and trouble at a later date, as all of the archaeological work will be governed by the contents of the wsi. In general this wsi was very good, I had discussed the contents with the archaeological consultant previously, with the only major issues being the need to include the objectives of the Research Framework for the Archaeology of Wales (http://www.archaeoleg.org.uk/) and to remove the need for an OASIS record to be used as OASIS does not cover Wales.

Coastal archaeology and community engagement

I’m Ellie, a project archaeologist with GGAT, and I’m currently working on a community project, Arfordir (‘coastline’ in Welsh) which involves working with volunteers to monitor and record the vulerable archaeology in the coastal zone of south east Wales.  The study area encompasses the coast of the Gower peninsula and Swansea Bay as far as the mouth of the River Ogmore.  This includes fascinating archaeology of all periods, much of which is at risk from coastal erosion, sea level change, visitor damage and other threats.

A view of the ruined Candleston Castle in the sand dunes of Merthyr Mawr

Candleston Castle, Merthyr Mawr, in the new eastern part of the project study area

A large part of the workload of the project involves general admin, I spend the first part of every morning checking and answering emails from volunteers working on the project and liasing with colleagues.  The project study area has just been expanded to the east and a lot of new volunteers have been recruited in this area, so I’ve been organising a meeting and training session, and inviting interested people to come along.

We’ve also just started working in partnership with a similar project in Swansea, and I’ve been creating a leaflet advertising the opportunity to volunteer and get involved in this.  I’m also planning a series of guided walks around the study area so I can show volunteers some interesting archaeological sites and they can get some experience in recording and surveying.  In preparation for this, I’ve been creating maps showing the sites in the area and lists detailing what they are.  Finally, I plan to spend the rest of the afternoon writing a proposal for a spin-off from the Arfordir project, a small excavation on the foreshore of Swansea, investigating a series of wooden posts embedded in the Brynmill peat shelf.  In the past features in this peat shelf have been found to be of prehistoric date, so these wooden posts could be thousands of years old.  I’m hoping to spend part of the autumn excavating them with a team of volunteers so that we can find out.

A day in the life of a CATP at GGAT

Hello! I’m Natasha,  I’m the CBA’s CATP (Community Archaeology Training Placement) person in post with the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust. I’ve been with the Trust for just over 3 months now and have loved every minute!

I’m based in the curatorial divison and my working day never seems to be the same from one week to the next! Over the past few weeks I have been organising our annual event’s day as part of the British Festival of Archaeology, so it’s been very hands on planning logistics, locating resources and packing vans! Not to mention the running of several activities on the day-the children who had a go at our Wattle and Daub demonstration liked it so much they covered the Wattle frame, themselves and me with the clayey, compostey, hay-filled mixture! Nothing like a bit of messy fun to encourage people to learn something new! The day at Swansea museum and the following week at Neath abbey were a great sucess and gave me some valuble events organisation experience.

We’ve got more projects in the pipeline looking to get underway soon but right now,  this week is a little more sedate for a change as I’ve been analysing all our feedback from the events and putting it into a report so we can assess what went well and what to build on for future events.

Today I’m spending most of my time making sure we have everything back that we should have and I’m carrying out an audit of all our display panels, the Trust does a lot of outreach so we have a huge amount! Often they’re lent out to societies or councils explaining some of the work we’ve carried out in the area or outling what the trust does in general and how you can get involved with our outreach and community and projects.  Currently I’m working through our catalogue and checking them off-bit of a difference from this time last week where we were packing tents ready for Neath Abbey’s Activity Day!

 

Historic Environment Record News

Hi, my name is Charina Jones, I am the Historic Environment Record Manager at GGAT.  My work is usually quite varied and so today is not really typical of any other day.  This morning I have been updating our internal Geographic Information Systems with data relating to Historic Landscapes, Conservation Areas and Archaeologically Sensitive Areas.  Having this data to hand complements the main HER data and helps when in comes to making decisions about the resource, for example, when used in archaeological planning.

Following this I attended a Trustee meeting of the HER Charitable Trust, the HER is held in Trust to safeguard its existence and protect it from being treated as a commercial, saleable asset.  These meetings occur bi-annually and as manager I present a half yearly report to the Trustees on the activity of the HER – and of course afterwards there is a scrumptious buffet lunch!

This afternoon I have been working on producing letters to accompany a data deposit agreement.  We hope that with the co-operation of other organisations, this agreement will enable us to more freely copy and distribute information to enquirers of the HER.

 

If you would like to search the HER for yourself, visit www.archwilio.org.uk