Mynydd y Betws
People have used the moorland known as Mynydd y Betws for several thousand years. The most obvious evidence for use is the recently constructed windfarm: evidence for older use is more difficult to detect.
Coalminers from at least the nineteenth century dug shafts and adits to exploit the shallow coal seams on the moorland. Lines of hollows mark the areas of these old coal workings. Some of the miners would have lived in the now abandoned cottages and small-holdings found across the moorland.
In the much more distant past, from about 3000BC to 1500BC, a time archaeologists call the Bronze Age, people used the moorland to bury their dead and to perform ceremonies. Scattered across the moorland are numerous low, circular mounds, known as round barrows. Bronze Age people would have dug a grave, placed the cremated remains of the body of an important member of their community or a family member in it and then covered it with a mound of stones or earth. It is these mounds that can be seen on the moorland. During construction of the windfarm a line of small stones running for several hundred metres across the moorland was discovered. Stone rows or alignments are enigmatic, but elsewhere in Britain they are usually found in association with other Bronze Age monuments such as round barrows.
During windfarm construction archaeologists excavated at the locations of wind turbines and along the course of new trackways, but as the windfarm was designed to avoid known archaeological sites very little was found. The 2017 community archaeological excavation is thus an opportunity to find out more about the prehistoric people of Mynydd y Betws. Three mounds (Nos. 871, 110471 and 110471) and sections of the stone alignment will be investigated.
Mound 871 (Photo Sandy Gerrard)
Mound 110471 (Photo Sandy Gerrard)
Mound (terminal mound to the stone alignment) 110472 (Photo Sandy Gerrard)
Stone Alignment (Photo Sandy Gerrard)
Dig Diary Mynydd Y Betws 2017