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.

**********************************************

7. Why was no evaluation trench placed across the three cairn-like features between Evaluation Trenches 38 and 39?

This area was subject to an archaeological examination which demonstrated that the stone features were the eroded remains of natural bedrock and are not archaeological in origin.

I await the results of this work with interest. I was surprised that it did not form part of the Preliminary Statement. At least the remaining two features will be available for comparative study. My main point is why were these features not examined as part of the initial mitigation exercise? They were not in area of heather, were very close to two previous interventions and were obvious anomalies.

8. Why was the bank with associated ditch near to Evaluation Trench 40 not examined?

The trench location had been agreed between Cotswold Archaeology and the Trust in order to examine peat deposits.

This response does not answer the question. This historic bank and ditch has clearly been truncated by the development and yet no work was conducted to provide information on its character and date.

Length of historic bank and ditch destroyed without record

Length of historic bank and ditch destroyed without record

9. Why after the discovery of the stone row and a request for a full survey to be conducted was this not carried out?

The discovery of the stone alignment, which we considered to be unverified in terms of Dr Gerrard’s interpretation of date and function, did not merit a full survey, particularly as the overwhelming length of the linear feature lay outside of the permitted development and would not be adversely affected. With the presentation of the Cotswold Archaeology report we consider that Cadw or the Royal Commission can now assess whether a fuller survey is required.

Dr Gerrard affirms that ‘further archaeological remains are known to have been damaged’, but provides no evidence for this.

The full context of the question which DAT have clearly seen indicates that the request relates to the development area and not the row itself. However as the Trust have chosen to answer this question in this way it is worth briefly exploring an obvious contradiction. In this response DAT have chosen to say that it “did not merit a full survey” whilst in an e-mail to Carmarthenshire County Council they state “The alignment of stones needs accurate plotting and description. As the line is not consistently the same along its length, the feature should be characterised.” So did it merit a survey or not? It would appear not as no survey appears to exist but why did DAT choose not to press for a survey which could have resolved or at least informed the ongoing debate?

Evidence of damage to further archaeological remains is provided in the Heritage Journal.

They may not approve of that particular web-site but the evidence and further questions are there and documentation released under a FOI request indicates that DAT are aware of this evidence.

____________________________________

For all previous and subsequent articles put Mynydd Y Betws in our Search Box.

See also this website and Facebook Group