The excavation of a 19th century cottage in Pontsticill

We recently carried out an excavation in the lovely village of Pontsticill. We were initially asked to undertake an archaeological watching brief during groundworks for a new build house. Historic maps showed the presence of several houses dating from the 19th century in the area of the proposed new house, which was just a garden at the time of the investigations. During the course of the archaeological watching brief we revealed the remains of a 19th century cottage known locally as Bryn Teg. The remains of the house were fully excavated and recorded in 3D using photogrammetry.

1842 Tithe Map

The 1842 Tithe Map (Plan of the Parish of Vaynor in the County of Brecon) records the area of the new build house occupied by a pair of small rectangular houses, now demolished, and associated gardens. These buildings were situated within Land Parcel 582, which is recorded in the 1842 apportionment as being a meadow belonging to William Jenkins and Phillip Watkins. The northernmost house was situated in an area now occupied by the Dolgaer Houses, which first appears on the 1885 Ordnance Survey (OS) Map (Brecknockshire XLVI.NW). The southern house also appears to have been replaced at this time by the new Bryn Teg cottage, located in the north-west corner of Land Parcel 582.

1885 OS Historic Map

We were thrilled to have been given a photograph by a local resident that shows the 19th century cottage Bryn Teg in the years prior to its demolition. A precise date for this photograph is unclear but the small field situated to the east of Dolgaer Houses is being used for cultivation, which marries well with another aerial photograph dated to 1972. Therefore, the demolition of the cottage must have happed around this time.

Aerial photograph of Bryn Teg cottage before demolition

The aerial photograph clearly shows a three storey house with chimneys on each gable end wall. Two local residents of Pontsticill, Graham Williams and Mike Burns kindly shared their memories of Bryn Teg with us. Graham remembered that he used to deliver newspapers to the house as a child.  Graham and Mike also remembered that during the mid-20th century the house was being rented by a roofer named Jack Andrews and his family, who came to Pontsticill from East London.

Orthographic oblique photogrammetric 3D survey of Bryn Teg

The archaeological investigations consisted of the full excavation and preservation by record of the remains of Bryn Teg cottage, formally a three storey house. The 19th century house was recorded with a blend of RTK GPS survey, 3D photogrammetry (derived from both aerial and terrestrial cameras) and a descriptive account and phasing of the visible internal and external elevations, as well as its flooring and associated internal features.

Bryn Teg cottage phase plan

The remains of the 19th century house included the front (west) retaining wall; the southern gable end wall; the northern gable end wall, which included an in situ chimney breast, spiral staircase and cast iron range (complete with a kettle!!); the rear (east) wall; and a pair of internal partition walls. The north-facing elevation of an exterior retaining wall, which supported a rear yard to the south of the house, was also recorded.

South facing gable wall with in-situ cast iron range and chimney staircase

The full 3D photogrammetric model of the 19th century house can be viewed here: You can also download the full archaeological watching brief report here 206 Land to Rear of Dolgaer, Pontsticill WB Report.

The 3D photogrammetric model produced a dense point cloud of over 31 million points with a mean RMS error of 0.7cm. The Ground Sampling Distance (GSD) achieved was a great 0.15cm/pixel. High resolution orthographic renders (orthoplanes and orthomosaics) were also produced (see plan and elevation above).


We are very grateful for all of the help we received from the residents of Pontsticill during the course of the investigations.

We are especially grateful to Alison and Steve Cox for being so supportive throughout the project. 

Thank You!


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