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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16. Why has a fence post been inserted into the edge of a mound not recorded by the evaluation report at SN 6894910712?

The two evaluation trenches within the vicinity of Turbine 15 were excavated within the proposed access road corridor and the turbine base. No evidence of a mound, nor other archaeological features, excepting the non-scheduled cairn centred on SN 68819 10653, were identified during the preceding walk-over survey in this location.

This response does not remotely deal with the question unless of course it is saying that because the feature was not identified during the walk-over survey it therefore does not exist. There is a mound at this location and a fence post has been inserted into its edge. At the very least one might have assumed that DAT might have checked to see whether it was there and put in a place a strategy to ensure that it was not damaged any further when the post is removed in the near future.

Mound “overlooked” by the planning process

Mound “overlooked” by the planning process

17. Why have the developers been permitted to dig a new drain to carry water from the new road across the stone row?

This drain was part of the permitted development and did not adversely affect the stone alignment.

Allowing copious amounts of water to cascade across the stone alignment has only not adversely affected it because the developers kindly agreed to move the drain when I pointed out the situation to them. Why did DAT not raise this concern?

18. Why have the developers’ vehicles been allowed to damage substantial areas beyond the permitted development area?

This Trust has no knowledge of substantial damage done to areas outside the permitted development. Dr Gerrard is advised to provide better information and address this particular matter directly to the planning authority.

This answer suggests that DAT are not closely “monitoring” the work for the County Council, otherwise they would for example be aware that a length of historic bank and ditch has been destroyed by vehicular movements associated with the construction of the nearby new road. Why is the DAT suggesting that I contact the County Council about an archaeological matter when they are aware that County Council have already asked that I address this question to them?

tacks

We trust that these responses are helpful. In the meantime, if we can assist you further with information or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me or our Senior Planning Archaeologist.

Finally

The extensive survey has, by giving equal weight to remains of all periods, highlighted the significance of the later sites in addition to the already well-documented earlier sites. It has also highlighted the potential for improving our understanding of upland settlement. These issues must be incorporated into the interpretation and management of the Blaenafon landscape to ensure that they receive adequate protection.”  – ‘The Archaeology of the Welsh Uplands’ by RCAHMW , Eds. David Browne & Stephen Hughes, 2003, pp. 76

Why has this sensible approach been totally disregarded by the DAT who instead seem to have arbitrarily chosen which heritage assets were worth recording and those which deserved not a second look. The result is a report that is entirely biased and therefore does no justice to the multi-period archaeological landscape which has been damaged with little consideration being given to elements which contribute to making this place special. The Amman Valley owes much of its character to the coal industry and to completely ignore this in the work carried out on Mynydd y Betws is a travesty.

 

Dr Sandy Gerrard

11/10/12

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