17 February 2014

Integrating buildings archaeology and excavation

Last week, amidst the flurry of funding applications and heritage consultations, I found time to join some of the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust team on one of our current projects near Llangynog. The site is located in a tributary of the Pennant Valley, itself a tributary of the beautiful Tannat Valley - one of the wonders of northern Powys.

This project is a very interesting one. This was once a fabulous post-medieval house, at the centre of an early 'landscape of improvement'. This is a long-term project concerned with the conservation of the  building, and the longer-term management of its environs (parts of which are scheduled). Our role is to excavate within and outside the house, and to record the fabric. Last week's work involved removing the rubble which filled the interior of the building.

In the process the team discovered the remains of a bread oven in one of the fireplaces. The original cobbled floor surface also survives in part of the building, and we are beginning to get an understanding of the sequence and nature of construction. In the next two weeks we shall be undertaking further recording work on the fabric, and excavating within and around the building to see what - if anything - was here before.

The current work follows an earlier phase late last year in which we recorded the extant fabric prior to its temporary consolidation. This was necessary to make the interior of the building safe for us to work in. As well as our own topographic and building survey, we enlisted the help of Aerial-Cam to provide some first-class rectified photography and 3D imaging - thanks Adam!

It is nice to be able to integrate above- and below-ground archaeology in this way. This doesn't always happen as coherently as it might do, partly as a result of the way the 'historic environment' professions are structured. This is the latest of several similar projects which CPAT have undertaken in recent years, and offers an exciting opportunity to further develop our integrated archaeological approach to buildings.

More news as work progresses!

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