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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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13. Why has machinery damaged a small part of the central line of mining pits?
We’re uncertain what Dr Gerrard is referring to.

Photographs of this damage have been published in the “Heritage Journal”. The contractors erecting the fence have driven over the historic coal mining earthworks causing some damage. The damage is not considerable, but could have been avoided entirely if the works had been carried out under archaeological supervision. The area damaged lies beyond development area.

fence at edge

The image 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.

14. Why was no mitigation work carried out on the central line of mining pits affected by the new road.
See 10 above

Since no excavation work was carried out the opportunity to enhance our understanding of this important resource was wasted. DAT appear to have assumed that this outcrop coal working was modern and therefore not worth investigating. What evidence does DAT have to substantiate this position? Can DAT be sure that these earthworks are not medieval or early post-medieval in origin? The historic character of this area owes a considerable debt to the coal industry. Why did DAT consider it appropriate to ignore such an important constituent of the Mynydd y Betws palimpsest? By choosing to deliberately evaluate only some of the archaeology it was inevitable that the resulting report would be biased and totally unreflective of the true heritage character of the area.

15. Why was no mitigation work carried out on the part of the northern line of mining pits affected by the new road?
See 10 above

See 14 above.

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