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by Sandy Gerrard

In March last year 18 questions relating to the archaeological situation on Mynydd y Betws were asked. During May the answers provided by Cadw were published here. I also asked my local Assembly member (Mr Rhodri Glyn Thomas) to ask the Dyfed Archaeological Trust (DAT) the same questions and he kindly did this on my behalf. Having had no response in October I asked Carmarthenshire County Council for a copy of the DAT response and this was passed to both Mr Thomas and myself shortly afterwards. A commentary on the DAT response was then produced and sent to Carmarthenshire County Council. This series of articles present DAT’s responses in black and my own comments upon them in green. See part 1 of the series here.

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4. Why despite the fact that Evaluation Trench 36 was cut straight across the row it was not identified

The stone alignment is by its nature intermittent and it is perfectly feasible that a standard evaluation trench could miss this feature. Subsequent archaeological work in this area found only three stones and none in the area of T36 – please refer to the report- and therefore it was not identified because there was nothing to identify.

Agreed. Do any records beyond those on the planning portal exist for this intervention?

5. Was the possibility of protecting the stone row below the new road considered?

Yes, this was a consideration. However, it was decided that it would be better to archaeologically excavate this small area with a view to seeking information on the presence, date and function of the stone alignment. This information could then be used to determine whether the overwhelming remaining length of the stone alignment (c 700m) could be afforded protection as a scheduled ancient monument under the 1979 legislation.

That is good news. Is there a record of the decision making process? The planning condition notes that “in the event of any previously unidentified or undisclosed archaeological remains being identified during the course of the development the works on the Site which may affect the said remains will cease until a further programme of works in respect of the said remains has been agreed in writing between the local planning authority and the developer and that scheme shall thereafter be implemented.”

Why has this agreement in writing not been released? Does it exist and if not why not as this would clearly be in breach of the planning conditions.

6. Why was no evaluation trench placed across the obvious linear hollow labelled on the map as a hollow-way?

This is a post-medieval/modern feature and did not require evaluating.

How can DAT be sure that this feature is of post-medieval or modern date? It clearly continued in use into the modern period but without evaluation how can DAT know that it did not have earlier origins? This policy (if indeed that is what it is) is somewhat reminiscent of the early barrow diggers who were interested only in the central burial or Roman archaeological digs where the medieval remains were dismissed as unimportant and not worth recording. Who decides what is worth evaluating and what is the assessment process?

Length of hollow way destroyed without record

Length of hollow way destroyed without record

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