Andy Greef marking out the Ffynnonwen excavation
Lloyd Bosworth and Richard Jemicz discussing the
geophysical survey at Berry
Day 1 - July 16th
The first day was a setting up day
– getting tools to the site and marking out the
trenches for the following day’s excavation. The
site lies close to the top of a rounded hill from which
fine views are obtained, with the Preseli Mountains
visible to the south, the Irish Sea to the west, and
Snowdonia to the north.
Geophysical survey on a selection of
Iron Age enclosures is being undertaken. An inland promontory
fort at Berry near Newport in Pembrokeshire was selection
as the first site this year. This site was partially
surveyed in 2005, but was abandoned due to equipment
Topsoil stripping at Ffynnonwen
Day 2 - July 17th
Topsoil was machine removed from about
70% of the Ffynnonwen enclosure. The strategy was to
excavate a small portion of the interior of the inner
enclosure and the entrance through the inner enclosure.
Aerial photographs and a geophysical survey carried
out in 2005 indicate that the entrance lay either on
the north side or south side. This proved to be incorrect.
The entrance must therefore lie beneath a hedge-bank
on the east side and is not available for excavation.
Work continued on the Berry geophysical
Initial cleaning of the Ffynnonwen enclosure
Hubert Wilson and Rosie Bishop laying out the
Ffynnonwen site grid
The completed plot of the Berry geophysical survey
Day 3 - July 18th
Topsoil stripping was completed and
work began on cleaning the site. Weather was very hot
and dry. As shattered bedrock forms the underlying geology
vigorous brushing using yard-brushes was found to the
most effective method of cleaning. Gullies of at least
one roundhouse were immediately apparent plus other
gullies, pits and post-holes.
The completed survey of the Berry site
shows the enclosure ditch with entrance and other slighter
Harley Brunson and Tom Morgan beginning excavation
on the inner enclosure ditch, north side
Lloyd Bosworth and Chaz Randle with the geophysical
equipment at Ffynnonwen
Day 4 - July 19th
Cleaning of the site was completed,
confirming a roundhouse. Conditions were still very
dry and so small pits and post-holes were difficult
to identify. Excavation therefore started on the main
ditches sections, with sections cut through the inner
enclosure ditch and outer enclosure ditch on the west
side. A cut through the inner ditch on the north side
of the inner enclosure was also started in the location
where the entrance seemed most likely according the
aerial photographs and the geophysical survey. Cleaning
showed a ditch here, but immediately on excavation bedrock
was discovered just below the surface, possibly indicating
that the entrance really is here. Excavation will continue
in this area.
Geophysical survey in the field adjacent
to the Ffynnonwen excavation with the intention of tracing
the whole of the enclosure.
Day 5 - 20th July
Excavation continued on the ditch
sections, with steady progress being made. The outer
enclosure ditch appears to be shallower than anticipated,
perhaps about 1m deep. Work continued on the geophysical
survey at Ffynnonwen.
Richard Jemicz, David Knight and Miranda Horan
excavating the outer ditch.
Leslie Bowers and Charles Whyte in the shallow ditch
on the north side showing bedrock just below the surface.
Lloyd Bosworth, Andrew Kurtzman and Mya Robinson downloading
data from the geophysical survey onto a laptop computer.
Day 6 - 21st July
The bottom of the outer ditch was
reached showing that it was indeed approximately 1m
deep with an open V-shaped profile. No finds have been
discovered in it. The inner ditch, however, has the
appearance of being somewhat deeper. On the north side
of the enclosure what was considered to be a possible
entrance seemed to be resolving itself into an extremely
shallow ditch cut into hard bedrock. It would seem that
the rock here is so hard that the original builders
were not able to cut through it. Work continued steadily
on the geophysics.
Tom Morgan with the spindle whorl from the inner
Andrew Kurtzman in the outer ditch.
Day 7 - 23rd July
Excavation began on excavating a roundhouse
gully in the centre of the site. The first artefact
of the season was found in the top fill of the inner
ditch on the east side – a spindle whorl made
from a reused sherd of Roman Severn Valley Ware pottery.
Excavation continued on the other ditch sections and
progress was made on the geophysical survey.
Andy Greef with the microlith from the roundhouse
Excavating the roundhouse gully.
The emerging geophysical survey of Ffynnonwen
Day 8 - 24th July
A flint Mesolithic microlithic –
a small arrowhead – was found during the continuing
excavation of the roundhouse gully. Excavation of the
outer ditch was almost completed, with final cleaning
in preparation for photographs. The shallow ditch on
the north side of the enclosure was in a similar state
of readiness. The weather is still hot and dry, with
no sign of rain. It is hoped that there will be some
cloud cover allowing for photography. Geophysical survey
Panoramic view of Ffynnonwen.
Meg Chaby recording the section of the outer ditch.
The first post-hole on the site under excavation
by Harley Brunson.
Day 9 - 25th July
Photography and recording of the outer
ditch started. Excavation of the roundhouse gully continued,
with the curved shape of the gully beginning to become
apparent. The hot dry weather was still hindering the
identification of small post-holes, pits and gullies,
but excavation of larger features started.
Geophysical survey continued on the
Richard Jemicz drawing the section of the outer
Excavating and recording the roundhouse gully.
Day 10 - 26th July
No sign of the bottom of the inner
ditch on the east side of enclosure has yet been found.
It has been excavated down to about 1.5m deep and the
sides of the ditch are vertical. For safety reasons
the section trench will have to be widened. A piece
of slag was found in the roundhouse gully. Recording
of the outer ditch continued.
Geophysical survey continued, with
the survey starting in the field in which the excavation
is taking place.
Mya Robinson widening the inner ditch.
General view of the site showing the roundhouse gully.
Geophysical survey showing the enclosure and roundhouses
outside the outer oval ditch.
Day 11 - 27th
Widening of the inner ditch on the
east side of the enclosure began, and almost immediately
a piece of slag was discovered, possibly indicating
iron smelting on the site. Much of the roundhouse gully
was excavated and further recording of the sections
continued. Excavation of what appeared to be a palisade
trench began. This trench pre-dates both the roundhouse
and main enclosure ditch.
Geophysical survey revealed roundhouses
outside the outer enclosure, one of which lies within
a small rectangular enclosure.
Cleaning the site over the location of the roundhouse
in expectation of rain.
Day 12 - 28th
The hot, dry weather continued, but
rain was forecast for the weekend. Therefore some time
was spent on cleaning the site in preparation for rain
with the hope that pits, post-holes and gullies would
be easier to identify in damp conditions. Work continued
on the excavation of other features. The section of
the inner ditch on the east side of the enclosure had
to be deepened for safety reasons – a depth of
approximately 1.5m was reached with no sign of the ditch
The geophysical survey of Ffynnonwen
was completed. A surprise was a small annexe with a
roundhouse outside the large oval enclosure.
The completed survey of Ffynnonwen incorporating data
from the 2005 survey
General view of the excavation with traces of
a second roundhouse visible in the foreground.
Eva Suarez excavating the defensive ditch.
Ian Pegler teaching Adam Jenkins the art of dowsing.
Day 13 - 30th
Heavy overnight rain failed to have
the desired effect as archaeological features were hardly
more visible than when dry, and by mid morning a combination
of sunshine and high winds had completely dried the
site. A suspected second roundhouse was, however, apparent
in the early morning damp conditions. The curving wall
line of the main roundhouse within the drainage gully
was excavated. The inner ditch continued to be deepened
with again no bottom in sight.
Ian Pegler of the British Society of
Dowsers visited the excavation and detected possible
buried ditches and other archaeological features outside
the large oval enclosure.
A geophysical survey of an enclosure
at Penpedwast, near Castell Henllys in Pembrokeshire
revealed the defensive ditches enclosing a roundhouse.
Survey on this site will continue after a few days’
The plot of Penpedwast to date.
Sheltering from the morning rain.
Geophysical survey showing the emerging enclosure
of the Tre-cefn Isaf site.
Day 14 - 31st
Heavy showers in the morning delayed
work. By late morning the showers merged into continuous
rain and work was abandoned for the day in the early
afternoon, but not before the bottom of the inner ditch
was discovered. Initial geophysical work on a new site
– Tre-cefn Isaf close to last year’s excavation
at Troedyrhiw – revealed the beginnings of an
General view of the excavation with the second roundhouse
visible in the foreground.
Terry Bourland excavating a post-hole of the possible
Mya Robinson cleaning the inner defensive ditch.
Graham French and Piers Collins surveying the site
at Tre-cefn Isaf. The excavation at Ffynnonwen is
on the skyline to the right of the instrument.
15 - 1st August
A third roundhouse was visible following
the heavy rain of the previous day, represented by three
almost concentric ditches, possibly indicating three
construction periods. Excavation of the wall of the
second roundhouse revealed the position of small posts
within a shallow curving trench. Outside the roundhouse,
four large post-holes arranged in a square approximately
2.5m apart are probably the remains of a raised-floor
granary, or other storage building. Cleaning of the
sections of the large inner ditch began in preparation
for photography and drawing.
Geophysical survey of Tre-cefn Isaf
revealed a sub-rectangular enclosure about 40m across
with an internal roundhouse and post-holes of a possible
The finished geophysical survey of Tre-cefn Isaf.
The completed section of the inner defensive ditch
with Mya Robinson.
Andrew Kurtzman excavating the gully on the north
side of the site.
Excavating the second roundhouse.
16 - 2nd August
Final cleaning of the inner ditch
was completed and recording of it started. Excavation
of the second roundhouse continued. Recording of a gully
on the northern side of the site continued. Opinion
on this gully changes daily – it may have been
a drain or a foundation trench of a palisade. Excavation
over the next few days will resolve the problem.
Geophysical survey continued on the
site of Troed y Rhiw. This was the site excavated in
2005. It is divided into two halves by a lane and only
the field in which the excavation took place has been
surveyed. This year the field on the opposite side of
the lane is being surveyed.
Excavating the possible palisade trench.
General view of the progressing excavation.
Oli Wilson with home-made eye-protectors against the
wind and dust.
17 - 3rd August
This was a day of consolidation, with
drawing of the sections of the inner ditch, continuing
excavation of the roundhouses and the possible palisade
trench. For the fourth day in row high winds made working
conditions difficult, especially so when combined with
the dry dusty conditions of the last few days.
Geophysical survey of Troed y Rhiw
The completed survey of the 2006 Troedyrhiw survey
General view of the continuing excavation showing
the first and second roundhouses and the four-post
building to the left-hand side of the photo.
The completed geophysical survey of Penpedwast.
Each survey square is 20m by 20m. At the top right
the builders seem to have made a mistake, digging
a ditch too long. Note also the single roundhouse.
Results of the geophysical survey of 2004 at Troed
y Rhiw merged with those of 2006. The blank band down
the centre is a lane.
18 - 4th August
Excavation of the second roundhouse
continued, with the drainage ditch and wall line almost
complete. Investigation on the northeast edge of the
site revealed a group of pits and post-holes. Work on
these will continue over the next few days, but initial
results indicate that at least some of these features
predate the roundhouses and main inner ditch.
The geophysical surveyors returned
to Penpedwast and completed the survey.
Ken Murphy pointing out features of interest in
the inner ditch to a group of visitors.
Part of the Penpedwast enclosure surveyed at high
resolution (squares are 10m x 10m) showing details
of the central roundhouse and other structures.
19 - 6th August
A short article in the local newspaper
and posters placed in shops attracted over 200 people
to an excavation open day. Guided tours were given and
a poster exhibition provided further information. Thankfully
the weather remained dry, at least to the end of the
day, although windy. Excavation also continued on the
second roundhouse and on other pits and post-holes.
As some staff were tied up with the
open day, the opportunity was taken to survey part of
the previously surveyed Penpedwast enclosure to a greater
resolution, with traverses at 0.5m intervals rather
than the usual 1m. The results are shown here.
Sue Middleton and Mya Robinson excavating more
the wall trench of the first roundhouse revealed by
Ditch section showing massive quartz boulder excavated
by Andy Greef.
General view of the site.
The emerging geophysical survey of the Cwmhowni enclosure.
The survey squares are 20m by 20m.
20 - 7th August
Light overnight rain revealed pits,
post-holes and gullies not seen since the rain of a
week ago, plus some new ones, and the opportunity was
taken to make a plan of these in preparation for excavation.
By mid morning the site had dried in the sun and high
wind, and the pits, post-holes and gullies had disappeared.
A start was made on excavating these, guided by the
plan. A short section dug through the inner main ditch
on the east side of the enclosure revealed a massive
quartz boulder, possibly collapsed from a revetment
from a bank on the inside edge of the ditch (the bank
has entirely gone).
Geophysical survey on a new site, Cwmhowni,
revealed an irregular-shaped enclosure with splodges
possibly the locations of roundhouses.
Nigel Martin and Natalie excavating the palisade
trench on the north side of the site.
Initial excavation of the third roundhouse.
The final plot of the Cwnhowni enclosure.
21 - 8th August
A start was made on excavating the
gullies of the third roundhouse. Three gullies were
visible representing three phases of construction. Elsewhere
on the site final excavation and recording of pits and
post-holes neared completion and cleaning began in preparation
for last-day photographs.
The geophysical survey at Cwmhowni
The emerging drainage gullies of the third roundhouse.
End of dig group photograph.
22 - 9th August
The final day of excavation. Sections
of the third roundhouse gullies were excavated.
These were very shallow, cut just a
few centimetres into the bedrock, and seemed to be for
drainage rather than a structural function. Final photographs
of the site were taken.
Panoramic view of site finally excavated.
Backfilling the site.
Scene from the end of dig party.
Clearing the campsite and preparing to go home.
23-24 10th-12th August
The backfilling of the site took place
on day 22 and 23. The evening of day 23 was party time,
and on Saturday 24th August, day 24, the camp site was
vacated and everybody set off on their long, and not
so long, journeys home.