This article presents Cadw’s remaining responses to the the “18 vital questions” about the Mynydd Y Betws stone row posed by its joint discoverer Dr Sandy Gerrard. It is best read in conjunction with Mynydd Y Betws: Cadw’s responses [Part 1] . For all other articles on the subject put Mynydd Y Betws in our Search Box. As before, Cadw’s responses are each preceded by Sandy’s original question and followed by his comments.

[We also have a concern of our own, as lay people: we note that Cadw has responded with the words best answered by [someone else]”  in 13 of the 18 Questions (in the two articles) and while Dr Gerrard has agreed with that in the majority of those cases, he has strongly disagreed in some of them and has also taken issue with all of those explanations that Cadw have supplied. It is therefore to be hoped that a lot more information will soon be forthcoming regarding all 18 of the issues raised. We also feel that notwithstanding whatever information is forthcoming from the developers, Dyfed Archaeological Trust or others it is Cadw that has the over-arching responsibility in this whole matter and therefore the ultimate responsibility to fully explain everything that has gone on.]

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Question 10. Why is the explanation for Evaluation Trench 43 not consistent with the evidence?
The report states that the trench was “rapidly evacuated” on the discovery of two pieces of asbestos, yet the section drawing (below) is complete. How was this section drawn if the trench was rapidly evacuated? It must have been drawn before the asbestos was found suggesting that a decision had already been taken not to proceed any further.

Cadw’s Response: “best answered by Dyfed Archaeological Trust”

Sandy Gerrard’s Comment – Agreed.

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Question 11. Why is the excavation strategy employed by Evaluation Trench 43 so curious?
By placing the trench along the line of pits rather than across it in the standard way for linear features the true character of the earthworks could not hope to have been established. This approach would be like trying to evaluate the complex defences of a hillfort by only digging a trench along the ditch and ignoring the rampart. Why was this unorthodox technique used?

Cadw’s Response: “best answered by Dyfed Archaeological Trust”

Sandy Gerrard’s Comment – Agreed.

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Question 12. The mining pits extend into the area of Turbine 16 (see image below). Given that work was abandoned in Evaluation Trench 43 and this part of the heritage asset was also going to be destroyed why was no mitigation work carried out? (The image highlights some of the archaeological remains that were ignored during the evaluation).

Cadw’s Response: “best answered by Dyfed Archaeological Trust”

Sandy Gerrard’s Comment – Agreed

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Question 13. Why has machinery damaged a small part of the central line of mining pits?
The image below shows the fence dug into the edge of the mining pits. In the foreground the earthworks have been damaged despite their position beyond the permitted development area. If damage is being condoned beyond the fenced areas why was the archaeology within these areas not the subject of pre-development mitigation?

Cadw’s Response: “best answered by the developer”

Sandy Gerrard’s Comment – A poorly worded question that has allowed wriggle room. The point is that archaeology outside the permitted development area has been damaged by the development. Whilst the archaeological authorities were unwilling to stray one centimetre beyond the defined areas the evidence on the ground is that the developers were not so pedantic about their boundaries. If the development was being monitored closely as claimed how did this situation arise?

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Question 14. Why was no mitigation work carried out on the part of the central line of mining pits affected by the new road?
The photograph below shows a large heap of spoil having been dumped on top of historic mining earthworks that weren’t investigated prior to their destruction.

Cadw’s Response: “best answered by Dyfed Archaeological Trust”

Sandy Gerrard’s Comment – Agreed

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Question 15. Why was no mitigation work carried out on the part of the northern line of mining pits affected by the new road?

Cadw’s Response: “best answered by Dyfed Archaeological Trust”

Sandy Gerrard’s Comment – Agreed

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Question 16. Why has a fence post been inserted into the edge of a mound not recorded by the evaluation report at SN 6894910712 ?
The mound can be seen in the photograph below. It has the appearance of a previously undisturbed burial cairn. It now has a fence post inserted into its edge. In addition, note the digger track marks cutting into its surface. Assuming it is indeed a burial mound this is obviously not how the people of Carmarthenshire would wish to see the dead of any era treated and is certainly not appropriate practice.

Cadw’s Response: “best answered by Dyfed Archaeological Trust”

Sandy Gerrard’s Comment – Agreed

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Question 17. Why have the developers been permitted to dig a new drain (see below) to carry water from the new road across the stone row? This drain was cut after the row had been identified. It is clearly visible in the foreground. It is carrying water from the newly constructed road across the stone row (the position of which is being denoted by the ranging rod). The row will be damaged by this act. How could it possibly happen if the work is being closely monitored?

Cadw’s Response: “best answered by the developer“.

Sandy Gerrard’s Comment – The question asks why they have been allowed to do this and not why the developers have done it. Difficult to see how the developers would know why despite being “closely monitored” they were permitted to do this.

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Question 18. Why have the developers’ vehicles been allowed to damage substantial areas beyond the permitted development area?
Here vehicle ruts associated with the development are shown damaging an historic bank and associated ditch….

…. and here further severe vehicle damage is evident in an area beyond the permitted development. (Any archaeology in the area will presumably have been destroyed.)

Cadw’s Response: “best answered by the developer“.

Sandy Gerrard’s Comment – Again the question is not why this has been happened but rather why they have been allowed to do it. Much is made in your response concerning the need for proportionate and limited mitigation yet areas beyond the permitted development area which were as a result not looked at all have been destroyed or damaged. The developers are very unlikely to be in a position to explain why the authorities have allowed them to carry out activities beyond the permitted development area.

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