Discovery & Learning 2013

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Discovery and Learning 2013

Discovery and Learning 2013 The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Limited

Foreword by Andrew Marvell Chief Executive

Welcome to Discovery and Learning. This booklet briefly describes one or two of the projects that the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust undertook last year as well as some of the more general work that we carry out to help protect the historic environment and assist in providing access to information about it. We hope that this will provide a stimulus for you to explore the diversity and richness of the historic environment in South Wales. The preservation of the historic environment depends on a consensus of support and appreciation of value by all of us. One of our articles outlines how the Trust works with numerous bodies to manage all kinds of potential impacts on our common heritage. Another explains how we have undertaken different works to engage and support people in investigating, monitoring and recording the heritage of their local communities. Archaeological excavation fascinates. Our work at Monmouth School not only produced discoveries about what was happening there in Roman and Medieval times but more surprisingly produced evidence for prehistoric human activity. Investigations at Vulcan House, Merthyr Tydfil showed us how a building could have different uses and influences over time, and is a reminder of the importance of keeping a stream of continuity during regeneration. Our final article explains how we are developing the public interface of our Historic Environment Record, known as Archwilio, to give better access to unpublished information about past investigations, and in doing so provide opportunities for learning more about our shared heritage, which I hope that you too can continue to explore and value.











Andrew Marvell Chief Executive July 2013


Community Archaeology

Pages 1-4

Monmouth School

Pages 5-8

Spotlight on Heritage Management

Pages 9-12

Vulcan House, Merthyr Tydfil

Pages 13-16


Accessing Archaeological Grey Literature Online Pages 17-20

Discovery and Learning 2013 The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Limited

Discovery and Learning 2013

Discovery and Learning 2013 The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Limited

Discovery and Learning 2013

Community Archaeology by Edith Evans and A G Marvell Community archaeology projects give people the opportunity of working with professional archaeologists to find out more about the past, and particularly that in their neighbourhoods. These projects can involve both excavations, like the work that Cadw funded the Trust to undertake at Oystermouth Castle, but also other types of investigation such as survey or off-site works (for example the Access to Archaeology project described elsewhere in this booklet).The Trust has always carried out projects that have been designed to inform local knowledge, but more recently we have sought different ways to engage members of the public.

ABOVE: Participants in New Tredegar and Penrhiwceibr recording their local heritage. For further information about this work see http address below.

ABOVE: The community excavation at Oystermouth Castle uncovered important new information about the gatehouse. For further information about this work see http address below.

Using a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund we carried out heritage audits in New Tredegar, Caerphilly and Penrhiwceibr, Rhondda Cynon Taff. Groups of people from these communities were introduced to our Historic Environment Record, where they were able to find out what was already recorded, and using their local knowledge add further information about sites as well as details of other sites and monuments that hadn't been recorded before. Participants were shown how to undertake various types of documentary and map research, how to identify historic buildings and earthworks and how to record these using simple survey techniques.The groups then produced exhibitions and leaflets so that their findings could be shared with other members of their communities. We ran a similar project in 2011 at Blaenavon as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Forgotten Landscapes project. Using the experience that we have gained we intend to roll out this activity to other communities in South Wales.

BELOW AND RIGHT: At Blaenavon we were also able to teach the volunteers a variety of recording techniques, from drawing wall elevations stone by stone to using professional GPS equipment to plan earthworks. excav/oystermouth index.html.


Community Archaeology Some of our Community Archaeology projects have looked at specific sites or particular issues. With grantfunding from Cadw we involved members of the public in recording prehistoric rock art on Gelligaer Common and some of the monastic ruins in Margam Park, and at Monknash we involved members of the public in exploring the environs around three Bronze Age barrows. At these places we were able to provide training to participants in particular survey and recording techniques.

FAR LEFT, LEFT AND ABOVE: The volunteers at Margam learned how to survey and describe the monastic ruins.

BELOW LEFT, RIGHT AND BACKGROUND: Volunteers on the Arfordir project (for further information see http address below) have been given training both on and off site; specialist training in recording wrecks was provided by the Nautical Archaeological Society (for further information see http address below). Background photograph shows Arfordir volunteers walking the coast near Burry Holms, The Gower.

A longer term commitment has been carried out through our coastal archaeology monitoring project, Arfordir. We have now established seven groups who operate along the coastline from Loughor on North Gower to Penarth. Each group has been given training and equipment to monitor, record, and report back either changes to existing sites or possible exposures of unknown sites as a result of the impacts of climate change. In some places these groups have also been involved in specific investigations including the recording of Bronze Age trackways in Swansea Bay and the survey of a burial ground on a cliff top near Cwm Nash. 2

Community Archaeology Part of our longer term strategy is to be able to provide enough training for the volunteer groups to be in a position to continue working on their own, reporting their findings to the Historic Environment Record and needing only occasional input from the Trust if they encounter something unexpected. We also provide background, support and mentoring to groups wishing to carry out their own investigations. A good example of this has been the work carried out with the Clyne Valley Community Project.

TOP AND ABOVE: Members of the Clyne Valley Community project researching Historic Environment Records at the Trust and reviewing remains in Clyne Valley during the development of a trail to commemorate local historian John Hayman. 3

Community Archaeology We have also been helping train people to be the Community Archaeologists of the future through a partnership led by the Council of British Archaeology with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund through its 'Skills for the Future' stream. We have managed three of these workplace learning placements, two working across the whole population and one currently specialising in working with young adults (16-25). These placements develop their skills through a range of project-related activities, and they also have to complete the Archaeology NVQ to supplement such academic qualifications they already have. Our current placement is helping us open up new opportunities for working with both schools and youth groups.

ABOVE AND LEFT: As part of their work programme, the Community Archaeology Training Placements have to work in pairs to devise and run a workshop to fill gaps in skills for their local groups. Natasha Scullion and her opposite number from the Dyfed Archaeological Trust opted for graveyard recording to address needs in survey and family history.

On all of our Community Archaeology Projects we record learning and social outcomes. For many participants the fulfilment that comes from the participation itself is sufficient, but all get to improve their knowledge of their local historic environment and learn new skills, and for some volunteers this can create life-changing opportunities. Many of the skills and techniques, particularly those associated with data collection and data management that archaeologists use are transferrable and, more particularly, relevant to many areas of other employment.

LEFT: Welsh Baccelaureate students from Dylan Thomas Community school, Swansea surveying the Swansea Canal for a community project at the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks that the Trust is running for Swansea University.

For more information on our Community Projects visit some of our social media sites 4

Discovery and Learning 2013

Monmouth School by Rob Dunning Last Summer the Trust carried out a large excavation in the grounds of Monmouth School ahead of re-development. We expected to find evidence for the Roman fort of Blestium, or the settlement around it, and for the medieval town. To our surprise, we also found that people had been using the site for thousands of years previously.


Possible extent of later Fortlet

Location of GGAT excavations Possible extent of Roman Fort (Blestium)






ABOVE: Map of present day Monmouth showing the possible extent and location of the Roman Fort (Blestium) and later Fortlet. The GGAT excavations concentrated on the southeast area of the Fort.

ABOVE, LEFT AND RIGHT: Archaeologists excavating the western area of the site recovered evidence of prehistoric human activity: these two flint objects, on the left is a Bronze Age backed blade and on the right is a Mesolithic blade (both shown actual size), along with tool making debris suggests that humans occupied the site during the prehistoric period.

No structures survived from prehistoric times, but the flints, which dated from the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age are very interesting. Some of them are just debris (debitage) showing that people were making stone tools on our site. This may have been in the Mesolithic, although we will not be sure until they have been properly studied. However, one of the finished items is a blade which definitely does belong to this period. One of the finest items was a Bronze Age backed blade (a type of knife). These finds are important, as little is known about prehistoric Monmouth.


Monmouth School We are not sure whether the Roman structures we found are part of the fort or not. We excavated a pair of parallel ditches, filled with iron slag, bone and Roman pottery. They are aligned northwest-southeast, on the likely orientation of the fort, and may be for drainage, or were the remains of the large defensive ditches protecting the fort, which have been truncated by later developments so that only relatively shallow remains now survive. The large amounts of iron slag in the fill indicates that iron-working was being carried out somewhere nearby.

ABOVE AND LEFT: The remains of a ditch (shown in section above) which was full of Roman pottery, iron slag and bone, could be what is left of the defensive ditch which protected the Roman fort or possibly a drainage channel. The ditch or channel is shown as a dark patch running centrally top to bottom in the photograph at left.

The artefacts included two very well preserved bronze brooches - a circular shaped brooch called a penannular brooch and a longer brooch called a fibula. These would have been used to fasten Roman clothing. RIGHT: Two Roman bronze brooches (shown here actual size) were found in the fill of the ditch, a fibula brooch (above) and a penannular brooch (below). These types of brooch were used extensively throughout the Roman Empire for fastening cloaks and loose clothing.


Monmouth School BELOW: These three coins give a clue as to the possible dating of Roman involvement and activity at Monmouth. The coin at top was issued during the reign of the Romano-British Emperor Carausius (286-293 AD), the middle coin was minted in Rome around 330-335 AD when Constantine I was emperor. The third coin was minted in Trier around 330-335 AD and is attributed to the House of Constantine. BACKGROUND: The obverse (head) and reverse (tail) of the House of Constantine coin.

A large quantity of Roman pottery was also found. Some of the pottery is kitchen ware including cooking pots and beakers, whilst other fragments include imports from Southern and Central Gaul (modern day France) called Samian ware. Samian ware is a hard-fired pottery with a glossy slipped surface, which would have made a good impression on the dining table. One of the fragments of Samian ware not only includes the maker's stamp, but also a trace of written graffiato (from the Latin meaning 'scratched'), where the owner of the shallow dished vessel has written on the underside. The text says '…IPTA MARCI…' perhaps suggesting that it was the property of someone called Marcianus. Other fragments of Samian ware include one piece of a drinking cup and another from a bowl decorated with a gladiator figure.

Three copper alloy coins were also discovered, one of which was an issue of the Romano-British Emperor Carausius (286-293 AD), the second was minted in Rome, around 330-335 AD during the reign of Constantine I. The third coin was issued during the House of Constantine period and was minted in Trier around 330-335 AD.

RIGHT AND BELOW LEFT: Two fragments of Samian ware pottery found at Monmouth School. The shallow dish on the right has scratched writing on the underside, perhaps indicating the owners name (fragment shown is 50% actual size). The fragment below left is from a bowl and distinctly shows a gladiator figure with his shield raised (fragment shown is actual size).

BACKGROUND: A complete Samian ware bowl, made in La Graufesenque, in the Toulouse area of Southern Gaul in the first century AD. © Trustees of the British Museum.


Monmouth School LEFT AND BELOW: Very little of the structural remains survived the Postmedieval period. However, what did survive gives a tantalising glimpse into the past life of Monmouth. Shown here are the remains of the cobbled paths and outbuildings associated with Weirhead Street.

Remains that could be dated to the Middle Ages included part of the medieval Weirhead Street, three wells that had been dug for water, and numerous rubbish pits containing pottery and animal bone, including sheep/goat, cattle, deer and horse bones. Bases of antlers from roe and red deer have showed evidence of working, presumably to make knife handles or other objects. The medieval pottery was a mix of locally manufactured wares, such as decorated Monnow Valley Ware, and rougher vessels imported from North Wiltshire and the Bristol area. Some of the fragments of the tripod pitchers and cooking pots had handmoulded decoration that retains the imprint of the medieval potter's fingers. A finely decorated enamel brooch was also recovered from the metalled road surface.

Key to Conventions Stone overlaying Stone underlaying Brick Mortar Charcoal Passageway

ABOVE LEFT AND BELOW: Three medieval wells were discovered in the vicinity of Weirhead Street. These were carefully excavated, recorded and photographed. A plan of one is shown at left, digitally drawn from site plans.

Key to Conventions


Stone overlaying Stone underlaying Brick Bone Charcoal GRID N





Wall of well




Some of the wells were repaired in brick in the Post-medieval period, but otherwise little survived, largely a result of later development apart from several stone and brick walls and floor surfaces, which are likely to be the remains of outbuildings and cobbled paths associated with the terrace of houses that once lined Weirhead Street. Finds from this period include pottery, clay pipes, cutlery, glass bottles and containers as well as a few more personal items such as a bone toothbrush made in London.

Discovery and Learning 2013

Spotlight on Heritage Management by Edith Evans and Sue Hill The ways in which we understand and manage 'heritage' are changing rapidly. Our Heritage Management team is a key point of contact for organisations or individuals looking for advice or information on historic environment in South Wales. We work closely with officers in Cadw, the Unitary Authorities in South Wales, and staff in Natural Resources Wales, the Wye and Gower Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the Brecon Beacons National Park on the best ways to manage and promote monuments in their areas, but also provide support for organisations or individuals with questions or problems concerning the historic environment in cases where the planning system isn't involved. Some very significant sites have been found thanks to local residents and visitors who have taken the trouble to report their findings to us.

LEFT AND ABOVE: This Bronze Age cairn on Llanmadoc Hill on Gower had been disturbed by vandals who moved some of the stones and built them up into a peak. The Trust’s Heritage Management staff took Cadw’s Field Monument Warden to the site to assess the damage, and then helped her to restore the monument to its original form. We were accompanied by a university student on a work placement, learning how to look after monuments in the field.

Our Heritage Management team aim

LEFT: It was a local resident who took us out to see these prehistoric footprints near Sker Point, Bridgend. They show that people were probably using the coastal marshes in the Neolithic period for hunting and fishing. For more about the outcomes of this discovery see http address below.

# To ensure through proactive management the protection of finite, irreplaceable and vulnerable archaeological sites and information # To provide archaeological information # To provide input to government consultations on proposed legislation and procedures, and to monitor the effectiveness of government legislation, advice, circulars and best professional practices # To provide management/liaison services for countryside initiatives, and for activities concerning the marine environment 9

Spotlight on Heritage Management The archaeology of the coast has long been a cause of concern. It has become even more so as climate change leads to an increase in stormy weather and rising sea levels, both of which threaten sites above and below the high tide level. The Severn Levels and Swansea Bay both have ancient timbers and other organic remains wonderfully preserved in their muds and peats, and other sites cling to the cliffs around the Glamorgan Heritage Coast and Gower. The Trust's Heritage Management staff worked with the Environment Agency (along with the Countryside Council for Wales and the Forestry Commission now part of Natural Resources Wales) and our local authorities to prepare shoreline management plans that take the historic environment into account. RIGHT: The remains of ancient woodland at Goldcliff, Newport, now eroding out of the mud below high tide level. This photo was taken during one of the annual forestry liaison field trips, where archaeologists and foresters from all over Wales meet to learn how best to work together.

Wales has a commitment to manage its natural resources through an ecosystem approach. Ecosystems often contain evidence for, and in many cases have been shaped by, past human activity. It is important that those working with or managing our natural resources are aware of the historic environment. We therefore provide advice on the management of both historic landscapes and individual features. When government papers are published that will have an impact on the historic environment, the Trust is consulted for its opinion.

In 2012 The Trust responded to consultations on: ) Providing Historic Environment Advice for Wave and Tidal Energy ) Establishment of Wales Natural Resources Body ) Local Historic Environment Conservation Services in Wales ) Welsh Government’s CELG Committee’s Inquiry into Welsh Government’s Historic Environmental Policies ) Cadw’s Community Archaeology Framework ) Ministerial Priorities for the Historic Environment in Wales ) Sustaining a Living Wales Green Paper


Spotlight on Heritage Management On land, agri-environmental schemes have enabled the Welsh Government to allocate European money to the protection of the environment through grants made to farmers and other landowners to manage their land sympathetically. Our staff have been involved in both the current scheme, Glastir, and its predecessor Tir Gofal. Looking at a particular area in detail often leads us to discover new and interesting things about how it was used in the past. We have been able to add hundreds of new sites through Tir Gofal and the Forestry Commission's woodland management scheme, Better Woodlands for Wales. These ranged from a new section of Roman road at Mynydd Baiden, Bridgend, to a factory for making acid from wood in Gower. Much of our work in this area is proactive and we have produced data to help farmers and Glastir managers determine when and how Historic Environment features should be managed. RIGHT: The earthwork (agger) of a Roman road on Mynydd Baiden. This continues the line of the road known in the Middle Ages as Ffordd y Gyfraith, which runs northwards over the hills to the west of the Llynfi Valley.

LEFT: In 2012 Trust staff reviewed more than 10,000ha of woodland holdings in South Wales checking against both our records, digital aerial photographs, and digitised historic maps so that both known and newly identified historic environment assets could be plotted as polygons (digital shape files) to enable easy recognition to assist future management.


Spotlight on Heritage Management We also work with local authorities and other bodies to help them make the most of sites and monuments in their care. This may be through contributing to management plans, or finding ways to interpret and present them. For the AONBs in particular, there is a wide range of plans that help to keep these areas special, and the Trust contributes advice on how best to look after the remains of past activity while still allowing them to live and work in the present.

ABOVE: At Caldicot Castle and Country Park, the Trust has been advising Monmouthshire County Council on its management and display. This involves not only the medieval castle, but also the Bronze Age site that was found when a small lake was created in the park. LEFT: Aerial view of part of the Lower Wye Valley: an area designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and included on the Register of Landscapes of Outstanding Historic Interest in Wales.

BELOW: Three Medieval Churches in the Vale of Glamorgan: from left, Colwinston, Llancarfan and Llangan. For more information about Churches in South Wales see http address below.

We also work with bodies that have powers to undertake works outside of the planning regime such as Crown Estates, Statutory Undertakers, and Ecclesiastical Authorities. With regard to the latter many parish churches are the oldest buildings in their communities that are still in use. They preserve a wealth of information as to how the people around them felt and thought, lived and died. We have information on the development of all the medieval churches in Glamorgan and Gwent, summarised in the Historic Environment Record and available to inform the people who have the task of making sure that our churches remain relevant in the modern age. archive 2009.html#opendoor 12

Discovery and Learning 2013

Vulcan House, Merthyr Tydfil by Charlotte James From 2011 to 2013 archaeological investigations were carried out at Vulcan House, Merthyr Tydfil during the redevelopment of the site for new housing.

Merthyr Tydfil

ABOVE: Vulcan House viewed from the south. The facade has been retained as part of the new development by Wales & West Housing. Building developers can make use of existing historic properties and integrate them into new builds, thus retaining part of the communal, cultural heritage within a modern setting.

ABOVE: A Level 4 building survey gave archaeologists the opportunity to use up-to-date technology - in this case laser scanning devices - in order that the structures could be recorded quickly and accurately. Above the laser scan image is a digital photograph of the same area.

ABOVE: The information obtained from documentary research, such as this census of 1851 was invaluable when highlighting the significance of the site.

Prior to the commencement of theenlarged development Area shown above a building survey was undertaken on Vulcan House and its ancillary buildings. This utilised laser scan technology which created a three dimensional virtual image of the site, a method also recently used at the Ynysfach Ironworks. The information gained from the scan was analysed along with documentary research, which included the study of cartographic resources as well as extensive examination of trade directories and census data. This research, as well as helping to put the building in context, highlighted the local significance of the site.


Vulcan House, Merthyr Tydfil Based on this information a reconstruction drawing was produced to illustrate how the site would have looked c.1850. The findings strongly indicate that the brewery which once operated from this location is by far one of the earliest in Merthyr and by chance decades later became the home and workplace of a highly politically influential family. RIGHT: An artists reconstruction drawing of Vulcan House Brewery as it may have looked in 1850.

Cooperage/Workshops/Stables The cooperage was part of the brewery complex where wooden casks were manufactured and repaired. Several of the outbuildings would have been used for equipment maintenance and storage.

Old Brewery Pond This would have stored the water in preparation to power the water-wheel.

Water-wheel The water-wheel would have been fed from the ‘Old Brewery Pond’ through the culvert. This would have turned the wheel which powered the machinery inside the brewery.

Vulcan House Built in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century, Vulcan House would have served as residence for the brewery proprietor.

Malt Kiln Here the malt was heated to aid drying and to add flavour and colour before being Culvert made into grist. This would have transported the water from the pond to the water-wheel.

Malt House Here the barley would have been prepared for the brewing process. The structures were usually rectangular with repetitive fenestration. These windows had slatted louvre-type shutters, which could be adjusted to let in less or more air as required to aid the drying operation.

Cambria Inn Cambria Inn (now The Lantern) would have served as the Brewery tap, these were public houses often found attached to breweries.


Vulcan House and its earliest ancillary buildings were most likely constructed in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century around the time that the nearby Jackson's Bridge was built and the road was laid to the front, however the earliest cartographic reference to the site is John Wood's map of 1836. The original purpose of the buildings was for malting and brewing which the trade directories and census data show continued until the 1860s. In 1868 the site was occupied by Matthew John where he ran an iron and brass foundry until his death in 1888. Matthew John was a well known political activist, whose family were heavily involved with the chartist campaign in Merthyr.

Vulcan House, Merthyr Tydfil Following the survey several unstable structures were demolished. This was followed by an excavation of parts of the site where the archaeological remains would otherwise have been destroyed by the foundations for the new housing. Several features relating to the previous occupation of the site were uncovered. One of these not recorded in the documentary evidence was a length of tramline in the southernmost courtyard. Brick channels found below the demolished structures along the eastern edge of the site may have been part of a hypocaust system for the malt house. Other features recorded include small segments of cobbled surfaces, drains and several sections of internal walling. The most significant find was made during the excavation of the brewery structure as a wheel pit for a water wheel was discovered alongside its eastern wall. The water wheel does not appear on any cartographic sources, but is likely to belong to the early brewery phase of the building, where mechanisation was required to lift the heavy bags of ground barley and hops up into the hoppers and turn the paddles of the mash tun. Water driven breweries are now rare but are characteristic of breweries dating to the 18th and early 19th century.

BELOW: Plan of Vulcan House brewery as it may have looked in the 1830's when it was a working brewery. It is a combination of the Board of Health map of 1851 and post building survey analysis.

LEFT: View looking south of Vulcan House, the wheel-pit for the water wheel is shown centre left.



Run of underground culvert/leat Possible inspection chamber housing for water channel to wheel

Chimney Sheds and Stores

This may not be the position of the chimney during the buildings use as a brewery in the early 1800's.


Wheel-pit Water-wheel Possible inspection chamber housing for water channel

Malt House Tunnel

Beer House


Yard Yard

Possible building abutting back of Vulcan House

Garden Area

Vulcan House Residential

Cambria Inn

Rear Lean-to of Cambria Inn


Bethesda Street

RIGHT: Merthyr Tydfil Board of Health map of 1851, showing the Vulcan House brewery and surrounding area.








Vulcan House, Merthyr Tydfil Some of the more interesting finds from the excavation include stamped malt kiln tiles which would have been used during the malting process in the earliest brewery phase of the complex as well as locally sourced glass drinks bottles dating to the later foundry phase. RIGHT: Hansard’s Aerated Water bottle and bottles with the logo of the Merthyr Bottling Company as well as an octagonal ink bottle. These bottles date from the later foundry phase.

Cutaway area showing air vent holes and larger cavities inside the tile which help maximise aeration.

ABOVE LEFT AND LEFT: A fragment of a Hutchins malt kiln tile. The isometric reconstruction is based on the found sample. These tiles would have measured around one foot (30cm) square and covered the floor of the drying kiln. The partially germinated barley was laid on these tiles to a depth of about two inches (5cm) and allowed to dry.

LEFT: Children from Cyfarthfa Junior School taking part in a finds washing workshop.

As a result of the discoveries at Vulcan House the nearby Cyfarthfa Junior School began projects discussing local history with direct reference to this site. A number of activity days were organised to help inform the local children of both the history of Vulcan House and the type of work we do as an archaeological organisation. This included short talks as an introduction to archaeology, workshops in finds washing where the children were able to handle and process artefacts excavated from the Vulcan House site and an afternoon for the children to make their own water wheels so that they could understand how they work.


Discovery and Learning 2013

Accessing Archaeological Grey Literature Online by Charina Jones Since the early 1990s, the volume of developer led archaeological work carried out across the UK has led to a vast resource of 'grey literature' that remains under-utilised and poorly understood, largely due to its inaccessibility to professionals, researchers and the general public. One significant barrier to making the information more widely available has been the lack of digital copies and the previous inability to retrieve information digitally from a centralised resource.

After a piece of archaeological work has been commissioned, whether an excavation, watching brief, field or building survey, a report must be prepared, and following approval by the local planning archaeologist, sent to the regional Historic Environment Record. Where the reports remain unpublished, they are referred to as 'archaeological grey literature'. The GGAT HER alone, holds a grey literature archive of over 3,000 reports. Many exist in paper form and can be accessed upon visit to the Trust's offices or by contacting the organisation who produced the report directly.

ABOVE: Archwilio home page map showing the GGAT area. BELOW RIGHT: Digitised cover for Coldra Pipeline Assessment 1991.

Explore The Past Today


Accessing Archaeological Grey Literature Online Wales has taken a measured approach to this problem, developing a solution that is cost effective, efficient and less confusing for the user. The aim is for the Historic Environment Records (HERs), through the public front-end Archwilio* to be the one-stop-shop for archaeological reports in Wales.

Clyne Country Park, Blackpill, Swansea Archaeological desk-based assessment January 2012

A report for the City and County of Swansea By Leonora Goldsmith BA

GGAT report no. 2011/101 Project no.P1535 National Grid Reference: SS 60807 91535

* All users must read and accept the Conditions of Use before using Archwilio


Role and remit of the HER Recording archaeological sites, events and artefacts Creating new archaeological records Reading cartographic sources Using HER software and other computer programmes Using the HER as a research tool Use of Geographical Information Systems The context of archaeology in the Welsh Planning process Best practice for the digitisation and preservation of paper and digital sources

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# # # # # # # # #



The Access to Archaeology project is dependant on the support of volunteers. Volunteers receive training in several areas to enable them to carry out the work, this includes:


To meet this end, in 2011 the Welsh Archaeological Trusts developed a module to allow grey literature to be linked to HER records and made available through Archwilio following its initial launch in 2010. Given the large backlog of unprocessed information held within its grey literature catalogue, the GGAT HER managed to secure funding from Cadw to start to make this information accessible in early 2012. Improving public accessibility to records, information and archives is an objective in the Welsh Historic Environment Strategy. This demonstrates the importance of the work and we expect the Access to Archaeology Project to run for several years.

The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd Heathfield House Heathfield Swansea SA1 6EL

ABOVE: The GGAT HER alone holds a grey literature archive of over 3,000 reports. BELOW: Volunteers play an important role in the Access to Archaeology project. They are trained in several specialised areas and this training enables them to carry out the work involved in making information accessible to the public.

Accessing Archaeological Grey Literature Online Activities performed by volunteers include the digitisation of reports by scanning and PDF document production, and then uploading the digital reports to make them available online. At the same time, the volunteers update the Historic Environment Record with information contained within these reports. This can include adding newly discovered archaeological sites, entering additional details about existing sites, and creating an ‘Event’ record of the archaeological work that has been undertaken. In addition to developing new skills in the use of IT and the management of archaeological data, volunteers are able to develop greater knowledge and understanding of the archaeology of southeast Wales. The text within each report is also searchable through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) which means you can search for keywords or phrases.


Archwilio Look for this icon when viewing your results table in Archwilio. This indicates if sources are available to view online. When you see this icon double click the record and scroll to sources, click on the PDF symbol , to view the report. Other sources may also be available such as website links or newspaper articles.

Want to get involved? To find out more about the Access to Archaeology project, including the results of last year’s work and forthcoming project details visit the project website and blog at or contact

Explore The Past Today


Accessing Archaeological Grey Literature Online

Next Steps! Our future plans for Archwilio are to enable advanced searching of records and available sources. For example, users will be able to search directly for a report title or list of reports from a particular organisation. We also aim to make it possible for keyword searches to be performed within the reports themselves.This has the potential to transform the value of these reports for archaeological research amongst professional, academics and the general public. For example, if a user searches for keyword Roman, not only would this retrieve records dating to the Roman period but also reports where the word Roman is mentioned, providing a more comprehensive search facility.

Look out for the Archwilio Mobile Application for Android phones and tablets launched this summer. Access information out in the field, upload your own photos and content for incorporation into the record, access site descriptions, images and more.

ABOVE: Archwilio search results detailing records with associated sources attached.

RIGHT: A selection of ‘grey literature’ reports held by the GGAT HER. BELOW RIGHT: Individual Archwilio record showing PDF link to sources.

We are counting on the support of other organisations to allow even more reports to be made available online. Currently, only GGAT reports can be accessed via Archwilio, however, there are over 150 other organisations who have produced reports on archaeological work in the Southeast Wales area. We are seeking their permission to open up this information to a wider audience and hope they will follow our lead towards the aim of a one-stop-shop for grey literature reports in Wales.


Explore The Past Today