Home > About Us >


The stated object of the Trust is to advance the education of the public in archaeology. This is achieved by carrying out archaeological excavations, watching briefs and surveys; historic landscape assessments and evaluations; and the survey and recording of historic buildings and other structures. The results of this work are disseminated in a variety of ways - through reports, publications, newsletters, leaflets, the Trust website and panels interpreting local history and archaeology, and through lectures and media presentations. The Trust continues to expand its work with communities to promote an awareness and understanding of what is of local importance. The Trust continues to operate mainly within the counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, but field activities are also undertaken elsewhere in Wales.

As one of four Welsh Archaeological Trusts established in the 1970s, the Trust maintains the regional Historic Environment Record for the former county of Dyfed, and continues to advise the three unitary authorities of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire on the protection and conservation of the historic environment. Services are also provided for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, part of the Brecon Beacons National Park, and a variety of other statutory and non-statutory organisations. A significant area of Trust activity is now the provision of advice to the Tir Gofal Agri-Environment scheme. In all, 129 separate projects were undertaken during the year, many still in progress.

Archaeological Research and Investigation

As in previous years, the range of projects undertaken during the year was wide. They included various threat-related assessments undertaken as part of pan-Wales initiatives funded by Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments.

As part of the Cadw-funded Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites Assessment, a report on the fieldwork in Pembrokeshire was completed and the fieldwork moved into southern Ceredigion.

Following the completion of the Cadw-funded Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Sites Assessment, work began on an assessment of Early Medieval Sculptured Stones at Risk. The objective was to highlight potential work that would ensure the long term future of monuments facing particular problems.

The Trust also contributed for the first time to two further Cadw-funded pan-Wales project. The first year of the Prehistoric Defended Enclosures Assessment was desk-based, with the assessment of 1079 sites currently recorded on the regional Historic Environment Record. A linked project was the first stage of a programme of investigation on a group of Rectangular Cropmarked Enclosures identified from aerial photographs in southern Ceredigion and northern Pembrokeshire. This Cadw-funded project was undertaken with the support of the University of York and included geophysical and topographic survey on eight enclosure sites.

The second new pan-Wales project was an assessment of the evidence for the Roman Military including Forts, Vici and Roads. The first year of this survey examined the known lines of Roman roads throughout southwest Wales and a geophysical survey of part of the fort and vicus at Llandovery.

Following the discovery of a timber trackway at Llangynfelyn, near Talybont, Cadw funded the rescue excavation of a section that was threatened by continuing land drainage. Further support was provided by the University of Birmingham. Dendrochronological analysis suggested a date between the late 11th century and the early 12th century AD for the construction of the trackway. However, the trackway overlay extensive industrial deposits possibly from earlier lead smelting.

Excavating the timber trackway at Llangynfelyn

Excavating the timber trackway at Llangynfelyn

Cadw, together with the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, also funded the excavation of a round barrow at Fan Foel on the top of Mynydd Du – a site that was threatened by visitor damage and erosion. An intact cist burial at the centre of the monument contained a complete Bronze Age Food Vessel and several flint artefacts associated with a cremation deposit.

The Trust undertook projects for a variety of other clients – public and private developers, unitary authorities, government agencies, voluntary organisations and consultants. The majority of these were carried out within the counties of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. Projects included excavations, building recording work, and watching briefs that were often a condition of planning consents. A full list of such projects is included in Appendix C.

The largest project that was undertaken during the year in advance of a major development was at the former Esso Oil Refinery near Milford Haven. This was undertaken on behalf of RPS Group Plc in advance of the redevelopment of the site for a new liquified natural gas terminal. An initial evaluation indicated the presence of an industrial complex associated with early medieval radiocarbon dates. By the end of the year the project had developed into a major excavation with evidence for corn dryers and metal working and, in a separate area of the development, a palaeochannel associated with timbers, peat and a middle Bronze Age radiocarbon date.

A smaller excavation was undertaken at the nearby Longoar Bay early medieval cemetery on behalf of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority. This site is facing an ongoing threat from coastal erosion and the objective of the investigation was to assess the extent of the complex in order to develop an integrated management plan for the site.

Several archaeological desk-based assessments and evaluations were undertaken in advance of the determination of planning decisions. These included a field evaluation at the Carmarthen Old Grammar School for Regan Norris partnership. This was located on the southeast edge of the Roman town and produced possible evidence for the precinct wall of St John’s Priory. At Pwllhai, Cardigan a desk-top assessment was undertaken for Eatonfield Holdings as the first stage of investigation in connection with a proposed large-scale redevelopment in Cardigan town centre.

Building recording projects were carried out at several sites during the year including the Stepaside Ironworks and Narberth Castle in Pembrokeshire. Both pieces of work were undertaken on behalf of Pembrokeshire County Council in advance of further consolidation of the surviving fabric.

Other general surveys were undertaken for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park including the continuation of the Pembrokshire Intertidal Coastal Monitoring, a walkover survey of Pengelli and Penpedwast Woods and a survey of land above Goodwick Harbour following a substantial fire. Work on behalf of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority included a desk-top study of Herbert’s Quarry, an area of former limestone extraction on Mynydd Du.

Several pieces of fieldwork were associated with road schemes. These included the assessment of proposed new road lines for the A477 from St Clears to Red Roses for W S Atkins and the completion of an assessment and evaluation prior to the construction of the Burry Port Southern Distributor Road for Carmarthenshire County Council. A watching brief was carried out for Parsons Brinkerhoff on another new section of the A477 between Nash and Bangeston. Evidence for an early medieval hearth was identified.

The largest project outside of the region was a survey of the historic walks at Piercefield, Chepstow on behalf of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This included the digitisation of old OS maps and a walkover survey of the late 18th century picturesque landscape. Projects elsewhere in Wales included pre-determination assessments at Llandough Castle, Vale of Glamorgan for Peter Jenkins Architects and at Pengam Green, Cardiff Bay for Wyn Thomas Gordon Lewis and an evaluation in advance of the construction of a bypass at Four Crosses, Welshpool for Powys County Council.

Surveying the historic walks overlooking the River Wye at Piercefield

Surveying the historic walks overlooking the River Wye at Piercefield


Education and Publication

All of the Trust’s archaeological research and investigations contribute directly or indirectly to the raising of awareness about Wales’ historic environment. However, a number of the Trust’s projects and activities are specifically aimed at promoting this awareness. The Trust’s Outreach Strategy continues to contribute to the fulfilment of the Trust’s basic charitable objective - the education of the public in archaeology - and its role in promoting the historic environment as one of Wales’ greatest assets.

Community Heritage

The Trust continues to recognise the need for the promotion and interpretation of the historic environment at a local community level. As in past years the Trust collaborated with community-based initiatives such as Antur Cwm Taf and Tywi (ACTT) and the Pembrokeshire Local Action Network for Enterprise and Development (PLANED – formerly SPARC). A Community Heritage Leaflet highlighting the services the Trust provides to support communities in heritage initiatives was prepared and distributed.

Several community heritage audits, based on the content of the regional Historic Environment Record (HER) and consultation with communities, were completed. These included projects for Llandre Community Council, for Balchder Bro at Llangadog and for Symud Ymlaen at Llangeler. A presentation was made in February to launch a proposal to develop a Llandeilo Town Heritage Interpretation Scheme on behalf of Llandeilo Fawr Town Council. Work was undertaken on a programme of research to inform the preparation of the texts for 13 footpath leaflets being prepared by Carmarthenshire County Council.

The provision of heritage interpretation panels, prepared by the Trust, continues to be an important aspect of the promotion of the historic environment in the region. Work was completed on panels for Cilycwm, Laugharne, Llangennech and Ty Isha Road Chapel (all on behalf of Carmarthenshire County Council), four panels for Llanddeusant (Balchder Bro), three for Narberth Castle (Pembrokeshire County Council) and one for Pencader (Pencader Regeneration Group).

Work also began on panels for Mynydd Mawr Woodland Park, Llanfynydd, Llanybydder, Cenarth and the Amman and Loughor Heritage Walks (Carmarthenshire County Council), Llantrisant (Llantrisant Town Council) and Bedd Taliesin (Countryside Council for Wales).

Lectures and Talks

As in previous years Trust staff continued to give lectures and talks to a wide variety of organisations and papers were presented at a number of workshops and seminars. In November 2004, the Trust organised a day-school in Haverfordwest in conjunction with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, providing a roundup of recent archaeological work in Pembrokeshire. Several Trust staff presented papers and the day was well attended with an audience of 120. It is now planned that this will become an annual event. A paper on the results of the Cadw-funded Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Assessment was presented at a conference on early medieval Celtic churches held in Bangor.

In addition, individual members of staff were directly involved in representing the Trust and in contributing to the activities of a large number of external organisations and groups at a national, regional and local level, for example: the Cambrian Archaeological Association; the Council for British Archaeology Wales/Cymru; the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO), its Maritime Sub-Committee and its Cymru Committee; the Institute of Field Archaeologists Registered Archaeological Organisations Committee; the Welsh Industrial Archaeology Panel; the Wales Historic Environment Group; St David’s Diocesean Advisory Committee; St David’s Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee; the Society for Church Archaeology; the South Pembrokeshire Ranges Research and Advisory Group; the Carmarthen Bay Coastal Engineering Group; the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum; the Welsh Coastal and Maritime Partnership; the Cardigan Castle Advisory Group; the Balchder Bro Steering Group; the Ymlaen Dyffryn Tywi Steering Group; the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Executive Committee and various local history and archaeological societies and groups.

Exhibitions, displays and open days

The excavation at Llangynfelyn was accompanied by an extensive programme of outreach. Visits to the excavation were arranged with all the local primary schools and the Young Archaeologists Club from Aberystwyth. A public open day attracted several hundred local visitors. The excavation also attracted extensive media coverage and featured on the television news, radio and in the press.

School children during a visit to the excavations at Llangynfelyn

School children during a visit to the excavations at Llangynfelyn

The Trust provided exhibitions and displays on the Historic Environment at a number of other public events including the Llandeilo Festival, Lampeter University Careers Fair and the Llanelli Careers Fair organised by Careers Wales.

The Trust and Carmarthen Museum once again joined forces to put on a day of activities and information as part of the CBA’s National Archaeology Weekend in July 2004. The activities included a medieval re-enactment group, an HER ‘Roadshow’ and a variety of children’s activities. The Pembrokeshire National Park Archaeologist led guided archaeological walks around St David’s Head and the archaeology of Range West, Castlemartin.

Reports and Publications

The Trust published a popular booklet on behalf of the Brecon Beacons National Park entitled ‘The Black Mountain – 7000 years of History’.

The Trust made several contributions various academic journals including an interim report on the results of the excavation at Fan Foel to the Carmarthenshire Antiquary and on the results of the Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Sites Assessment in Church Archaeology.

The third Trust Newsletter, funded as part of the Cadw curatorial grant, was produced in July 2004 and distributed free to libraries and other individuals and institutions around the region.

Education and University Training Support

Two members of staff were involved in the University of York’s annual training excavation at Castell Henllys and Henllys Farm, near Newport, Pembrokeshire. Once again the excavations involved trainees and students from all parts of the UK and many different parts of the world. The Trust’s excavation at Llangynfelyn also provided a training opportunity for 20 students from the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham.

Opportunities continued to be provided for student placements at the Trust’s offices. During the year these placements included students from a number of local schools and colleges.


The Trust’s website continues to develop with regular additions to an ever growing site. An innovation during the year was a ‘dig diary’, providing daily updates with photographs on the Trust’s excavation at Llangynfelyn. This proved a huge success with a significant increase in the number of visitors to the website while it was being maintained.

The quantity of the information on the website relating to the work on historic landscapes continues to grow, with the characterisation work on the Upland Ceredigion Historic Landscape appearing for the first time with funding support from Cadw. This was accompanied by the preparation of a leaflet advertising the site.

Archaeological Services

Archaeological Services comprise two elements. First, the maintenance and development of the Trust’s regional Historic Environment Record (HER), part-funded by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW). Secondly, Curatorial Services, the provision of advice to unitary and other statutory and non-statutory bodies on the protection and conservation of the historic environment. Both these services cover the unitary authority areas of Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, as well as the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and part of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Including overhead allowances, the Cadw grant for Curatorial Services was £128,671 (2003/2004: £123,438). The basic grant provided by the RCAHMW for the regional Historic Environment Record remained at £27,500.

The Trustees are delighted to report that the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority is now providing additional financial support for the provision of Historic Environment advice on the management and promotion of the archaeology of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. During the year this support amounted to £30,168 and allowed the employment of a Park Archaeologist.

Continuing financial support for the provision of Archaeological Planning Advice (over and above the grant support from Cadw) was provided by four of the Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) in the region. These were the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Pembrokeshire County Council, Carmarthenshire County Council and Ceredigion County Council. Their support amounted to a total of £11,350. The Trust continues to be very grateful to the LPAs for this support, which will help to ensure that the high level of service provided by the Trust can be maintained.

Cadw also provided a grant of £40,392 for the Trust’s contribution to the historic environment provisions of the all-Wales Tir Gofal Agri-Environment Scheme. Further funding was provided by the Countryside Council for Wales to cover the cost of undertaking farm visits for a selected number of farms within the scheme within the scheme.

Volunteers working with the Pembrokeshire National Park Archaeologist to remove a visitor cairn at Carn Ingli

Volunteers working with the Pembrokeshire National Park Archaeologist to remove a visitor cairn at Carn Ingli


Regional Historic Environment Record

The Historic Environment Record includes both a paper record and a digital database that contains details of archaeological sites and monuments, finds and historic buildings and landscapes. Record staff continued to enter new data, carry out routine maintenance, undertake development work and respond to internal and external inquiries. The process of adding ‘events’ (excavations, surveys, desk-top assessments) to the Record continued throughout the year.

At the end of the year the total number of records stood at 39,147. The number of additional records created during the year was 783. These new records, and the enhancement of existing records, continue to be generated by both the Trust’s own research and investigation projects as well as from external sources. The Tir Gofal agri-environment scheme continues to be a major new source of information.

An agreement was reached between the Welsh Archaeological Trusts and Oxford Arch Digital to develop a new software platform for the HERs. This new system, known as TOAD HMS (The Oxford Arch Digital Heritage Management System), will transform the management of the record and it will greatly improve public access to the core data through the Trust’s website. The Trust has established a Designated Fund of £25,000 to cover the cost of this initiative. Support of £3,660 has also been provided by a Carmarthenshire County Council Business Development Grant.
The Trust continued to be involved in the exchange of core data with the other partners of END (Extended National Database for Wales). Data continues to be exchanged on two levels: ENDEX (data used by partners for management purposes) and CARN (data made available to the public on the internet through the website of the RCAHMW). Work is nearing completion on bringing the HER up to the First level benchmarks set out by ALGAO and English Heritage for Historic Environment Records.

A Geographical Information System (GIS), using MapInfo software, continues to be the main tool in use by the Heritage Management section, in conjunction with the main HER databases.

Support continued to be provided through Cadw’s curatorial grant for the wider provision of information from the HER and the development of outreach activities. Additional financial support for the HER was provided by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority. Work undertaken as part of this arrangement continued to be focused on HER data provision and the writing of descriptions for sites recorded within the Park.

The Trust continued to attend meetings with its partners to work towards the goals outlined in the Strategic Framework for Records Relating to the Historic Environment of Wales. One of these relates to the ownership of HERs and their long-term security. The Trust and its partners are currently exploring the possibility of establishing separate ‘HER Trusts’, with each Welsh Archaeological Trust acting as sole corporate trustee of its HER Trust.

Curatorial Services: Planning

This area of the Trust’s work relates mainly to development-control tasks, though some consultations affecting archaeological sites arise outside the planning system. During the year 7,023 planning applications were notified to the Trust (2003/2004: 6,930). Of these 1,546 needed detailed appraisal, resulting in further action in 230 cases, including recommendations for assessments, evaluations, excavations or recording work in advance of development, or for watching briefs during development. On three occasions the recommendation was refusal on archaeological grounds.

In response to requests, the Trust’s Planning Archaeologist continued to prepare briefs, agree specifications and carry out monitoring visits. As a result of this advice adequate archaeological control is now being exercised in the vast majority of cases.

Significant ongoing casework included the archaeological implications of a proposal for residential development and a by-pass at Monkton, Pembroke, the proposed Bluestone leisure village at Canaston Bridge, Narberth and a major retail and housing development in Cardigan. New casework has included the development of the Liquified Natural Gas terminal at Herbrandston, Milford Haven. A major planning issue has been a noticeable increase in applications for windfarms in the region. The Trust is concerned with the current lack of an agreed methodology for assessing the direct and indirect impacts of these schemes on non-registered historic landscapes.

Information and advice on heritage management issues continued to be provided outside the local planning framework in respect of forestry, the treatment of metal-mine sites, coastal sites and agricultural operations. There continued to be numerous consultations relating to the Woodland Grant Scheme, with 88 applications considered and 29 that required further comment and some further action. The Trust continued to provide detailed information and management advice to Forest Enterprise for forestry works and Forest Management Plans.
The Trust also responded to consultations from the service industries, including 48 schemes from Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water alone. The Trust has been actively involved with the provision of advice relating to the proposed construction of a major new Transco gas main from Milford Haven to Aberdulais. The proposed route extends for 120km and has a working width of 50m, making it one of the largest developments in the region in recent years.

Information was provided on 9 Hedgerow Removal Notifications for Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. As in previous years, at Cadw’s request, the Trust continued to comment on Scheduled Monument Consent Applications.

Curatorial Services: Heritage Management

Following on from the Historic Environment Review the Trust Director attended the inaugural meeting of the Historic Environment Group, an advisory group set up by the Minister for Culture, The Welsh Language and Sport to advise the Welsh Assembly Government on action that will benefit and promote the historic environment of Wales.
The Trust continues to respond to consultations on a variety of issues that have relevance for the historic environment. During the year these have included the first draft of the Environment Strategy for Wales, a nationwide consultation on protecting the Marine Historic Environment and the Ecclesiastical Exemptions Review.

At a more local level the Trust has been actively involved in the Ymlaen Dyffryn Tywi Landscape Partnership that is seeking to develop a major landscape conservation project for the Tywi valley.

One of the first tasks of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Archaeologist was the development of a strategy for the Historic Environment of the Park. Work has begun on a programme of works on Scheduled Monuments within the Park, with the support of local volunteers, including the removal of a visitor cairn at Carn Ingli hillfort and earthwork repairs at Crow Back Bronze Age barrow and Flimston Bay Iron Age promontory fort. Draft management plans have also been drawn up for the scheduled monuments within the Castlemartin military range.

The Trust continues to provide advice to the St David’s Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) on faculties and the Fabric Advisory Committee (FAC) for St David’s Cathedral. Discussions have been held with the St David’s DAC on improving procedures in order to fully address archaeological issues as part of the faculty process. A flow chart for Archaeology and the Faculty Process was formally adopted.

The Trust continued to participate in the Portable Antiquities Scheme, a voluntary scheme for the reporting and recording of archaeological finds.

The Trust continues to be responsible for the historic environment provisions of the Tir Gofal Agri-Environment Scheme in the region. During the year, and with the assistance of Cadw-funding, the Trust provided information on 297 consultations as part of the historic environment report (HE1) process. A number of farms are now reaching the five-year point of their agreements. In many cases they will have the opportunity to bring additional parcels of land into the scheme. This will necessitate the preparation of additional HE1 reports.

In addition, during the course of the year 66 CCW-funded visits were undertaken. Full farm visit reports (HE2s) were prepared for 53 of these. The remaining 13 visits were made in response to requests for historic environment management recommendations on specific issues.

The Trust continues to provide training support for CCW project officers in order to support them in the provision of information on management issues relating to archaeological sites.

Selected data from the HER has now been incorporated into the Welsh Assembly Government’s ‘Welsh Environmental Data Interface’ (WENDI). This is being used by the Agricultural Division to inform decisions relating to the Uncultivated Land and Semi-Natural Areas provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. During the year the Trust has received consultations relating to this initiative. The WENDI data will also be used to inform the new entry-level agri-environment scheme, Tir Cynnal, which will be introduced in 2006.

In February 2004 the Trust hosted a seminar for the farming unions entitled Farming and the Historic Environment. This included a wide-ranging discussion on the role of farming in the management and protection of the historic environment and the likely future impact of the various agri-environment schemes including both Tir Gofal and Tir Cynnal.

A deserted farmstead in Ceredigion visited as part of the Tir Gofal scheme

A deserted farmstead in Ceredigion visited as part of the Tir Gofal scheme





[click for navigation menu if not present]