Providing archaeological and aerial mapping services to the public and private sectors
Please find some of our recent and current work below, and also hosted here on Scribd and ISSUU:
Bradley Court Cardiff – Landmark Student Accommodation and New Legislation
We were commissioned by AECOM on behalf of Vita (Cardiff) 1 Limited to carry out an archaeological assessment on the potential impacts of the proposed redevelopment of Bradley Court, Cardiff on the historic environment. Our report was one of the first to be submitted under the new planning guidelines set out by the The Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016. The 2016 Act makes important improvements for the protection and management of the Welsh historic environment. It also stands at the centre of an integrated package of secondary legislation (Annexes 1-6), new and updated planning policy and advice, and best-practice guidance on a wide range of topics (TAN 24 Historic Environment). Taken together, these will support and promote the careful management of change in the historic environment in accordance with current conservation philosophy and practice. Following adoption of the TAN 24 Historic Environment on 31st May 2017, Welsh Office Circulars 60/96 Planning and the Historic Environment: Archaeology; 61/96 Planning and the Historic Environment: Historic Buildings and Conservation Areas; and 1/98 Planning and the Historic Environment have been cancelled. For further details please download the report here Bradley Court, Cardiff archaeological desk-based assessment.
Land on Seaton Hill, Plymouth – Archaeological Field Evaluation
We undertook a risk management exercise for The Range Superstore (CDS Superstores International Ltd) ahead of a proposed mixed-use development on the site of the former Seaton (Crownhill) Barracks, William Prance Road, Plymouth to inform on the nature and extent of any archaeological remains on the site. The proposed development consisted of a new headquarters building and retail superstore plus cafe, garden centre and car parking.
The former the Seaton (Crownhill) Barracks are located to the east of the Victorian Crownhill Fort (SAM 1020571). The fort was built after the 1859 Royal Commission report on the defence of Britain. Construction of the fort, by Major Edmund Du Cane (Royal Engineer), was started in 1863 and completed nine years later. The fort was later nicknamed one of Palmerston’s Follies after the threat from France diminished with the exile of Napoleon III in 1872. The fort and Crownhill area was used in the late 19thcentury for military training and in the early 20thcentury a recruitment centre for the First World War and home to the Royal Corps of Signals. Crownhill was used as a staging area for Allied troops for the D-Day invasion and was also later used by the Royal Engineers to support the Falklands Campaign.
The archaeological field evaluation demonstrated the presence of live services, culverts and other below ground brick and concrete built structures associated with the area’s former use as an army barracks and MOD residential housing. You can read more here 122 Land on Seaton Hill, William Prance Road Field Evaluation Report#Final.
Land Adjacent to Trem Y Bannau, Llangorse – Archaeological Field Evaluation
We were commissioned to carry out an archaeological field evaluation ahead of a proposed residential development of a single dwelling at Trem Y Bannau, Llangorse Brecon Powys.
A total of three trenches were machine excavated followed by hand cleaning and recording. The archaeological field evaluation did not identify any features or deposits of archaeological origin in any of the three trenches. There was no evidence of any of the buildings noted on historic mapping within the development area. The stratigraphy suggesting that the land along the road frontage had been reduced in the recent past and the land towards the centre of the proposed development area fairly uniform garden loam deposits. You can read the report here 136 Land Adj to Trem Y Bannau, Llangorse Evaluation Report Final.
Caerphilly Castle Maze and Dragon’s Lair – Heritage Impact Assessment
We were commissioned by EQUINOX on behalf of Cadw to carry out a heritage impact assessment on the potential impacts of the proposed construction of a maze and theatrical dragons lair within the walls of the Scheduled and Grade I* listed Caerphilly Castle on the historic environment. The location for the maze was proposed adjacent to the south west tower and the dragon’s lair in the cistern/storehouse.
Caerphilly Castle (SAMGm002; LB13539) is one of the great medieval castles of western Europe and the first truly concentric castle built during the mid-late 13th century (being completed in 1271 and re-fortified in 1290) and largely ruinous by the 16th century. Partly reconstructed in 19th and early 20th centuries by the 3rd and 4th Marquess of Bute.
We produced a comprehensive assessment to support the successful submission, which included a detailed assessment of the impacts to the setting of both the castle and nearby nationally designated monuments. You can read the report here 1018 Caerphilly Castle Final Report.
Gipsy Castle Lane – Archaeological Field Evaluation and Geophysical Survey
Mr & Mrs Davies of Upper Court Farm commissioned us to carry out a geophysical survey and archaeological field evaluation ahead of a proposed residential development of five dwellings and associated access and landscaping to inform on the nature and extent of any archaeological remains on the site.
A geophysical survey was undertaken by Geoarch and the results of the survey incorporated into the trenching strategy. The results of the trenching married well with the geophysical interpretation confirming that the natural geology was strongly reflected, as were features of natural origin such as tree-throws, and more modern responses from agricultural activity. There was no evidence of any prehistoric activity in relation to the Gipsy Castle Lane Enclosure (PRN5833) and associated cropmarks known from fields to the north of Gipsy Castle Lane. The topsoil and subsoils across all trenches were fairly uniform and shallow suggesting that this field may never have been ploughed. You can read the report here 121 Gipsy Castle Lane Field Evaluation Report.
Gipsy Castle Lane, Adjacent Land – Archaeological Field Evaluation and Geophysical Survey
We retuned to Gipsy Castle Lane in December 2018 to investigate fields to the west of our initial project (above). We were commissioned by Mr MT Davies, Mr JL Davies, P&B Brown and Mrs S Hooper to carry out a geophysical survey and archaeological field evaluation.
Geoarch carried out the geophysical survey with the results of the survey incorporated into the trenching strategy. The magnetic survey showed the widespread distribution of minor magnetic anomalies across the site, their distribution corresponding closely with the layout of an existing Literary Festival campsite. Seventeen trenches were excavated and confirmed the geophysical interpretation that the natural geology was strongly reflected. The minor magnetic anomalies identified from the geophysics across the site proved to be road irons, tent pegs and in some isolated cases wrought iron nails. There was no evidence of any prehistoric activity in relation to the Gipsy Castle Lane Enclosure and associated cropmarks known from fields to the north of Gipsy Castle Lane. You can read the report here 152 Land Adjoining Gipsy Castle Lane Field Evaluation Report
New House, Church Row, Redwick – Archaeological Watching Brief
New House is located in the centre of the village of Redwick, 70m northeast of the medieval Church of St Thomas, on the Caldicot Level. The Caldicot Levels are an Outstanding Historic Landscape (HLW(Gt)2), which represents the largest and most significant example in Wales of a ‘hand-crafted’ landscape. Comprised of the Wentlooge Series of clay deposits, the Caldicot Levels are subdivided into Upper, Middle (a peat layer) and Lower Wentlooge Formations. Archaeological artefacts and structures dated to the Bronze Age are associated with the Middle Wentlooge peat formation and the Upper Wentlooge formation was laid down from the Iron Age through to the medieval and post-medieval periods.
The archaeological watching brief identified a single archaeological feature of significance, a palaeochannel (B03) of undetermined date. The linear feature was aligned SE/NW and located to the rear of the house in the footings for the rear extension. Palaeochannels on the Gwent Levels, particularly on the Upper Wentlooge Formation, are fairly common and largely fall into several groups. Natural streams or channels forming during periods of inundation or preserved Roman or medieval field boundaries (drainage channels or reens). Whilst the length of palaeochannel (B03) discovered in the rear foundation trench is too small to draw any useful conclusions regarding comparable Roman and medieval field systems, the identification of a reen cut into alluvial clays, running east-west, during the replacement of Redwick Village Hall (Stewart-Turner 2012; E004546) on a similar alignment may hint towards a managed Roman or medieval landscape buried beneath the fringes of the village. Similarly, no artefacts were found during the village hall replacement with which to date the reen. Read the report here 123 New House, Church Row, Redwick WB.
Belle View House, South Row, Redwick – Archaeological Watching Brief
Belle View House is located in the centre of the village of Redwick, c110m southeast of the medieval Church of St Thomas, on the Caldicot Level. We were commissioned by Mr Nick Lakey to undertake an archaeological watching brief during the ground investigation work for a proposed extension to the rear of the property.
The investigations identified a medieval surface deposit around 0.3m below the present ground level containing 13th century ceramics overlain by a mixed deposit containing both medieval and Post-medieval ceramics. The investigations did not identify any further features or deposits of archaeological origin in the excavated areas. Read the report here 157 Belle View, Redwick WB V2 compressed.
Hafod-Morfa Copperworks, Swansea
Powerhouse Design Pattern Recording Project
Black Mountains Archaeology Ltd, in partnership with ArchaeoDomus – leading historic building specialists, were commissioned by the City and County of Swansea (C&CS) to undertake a photogrammetric and photographic record of a significant number of timber design patterns, many in very poor water condition, located in the basement of the Powerhouse (Canteen) building (LB11691), Hafod-Morfa Copperworks, Swansea. The survey work was carried out to produce a comprehensive record of the timber design patterns for archival purposes and provide for further study and research. The survey was undertaken between the 3rd December 2018 and 14th December 2018 in particularly challenging site conditions.
All timber fragments were painstakingly sifted and analysed for suitability for recording, both photographic and to produce at least five measurable 3D photogrammetric models. Many hundreds of pieces were either too fragmentary, unidentifiable or in such degraded state that survey was impracticable. However, despite the challenges a total of 97 timber objects including 39 design patterns were recorded together with five fully measurable 3D photogrammetric models.
Vivian Engine House – Archaeological Watching Brief
The City and County of Swansea requested Black Mountains Archaeology Ltd to carry out an archaeological watching brief at the Vivian Engine House (LB11695/NPRN33743), on the former Hafod-Morfa Copperworks site, Swansea, during ground contamination mitigation works.
Smith’s Canal, White Rock Copperworks and Silverstack Canal Bridge, Hafod-Morfa Copperworks
Black Mountains Archaeology Ltd were commissioned by City and County of Swansea to carry out an archaeological field evaluation to inform on the nature and extent of any archaeological remains at the old Smith’s Canal, White Rock Copperworks and the Silverstack Canal Bridge, Hafod-Morfa Copperworks on the Swansea Canal.
An open excavation (clearance) was carried out around the base of the demolished Silverstack Canal Bridge and five trenches were machine excavated along the Smith’s Canal followed by hand cleaning and recording. The investigations identified the remains of the Silverstack Canal Bridge abutments and the canal walls belonging to the Smith’s Canal.