Bwlch y Ddeufaen

Bwlch y Ddeufaen is the a pass along the ancient road from Caerhun to Aber. The topography of North Wales is such that no significant road could run along the coastline due to the cliffs that come right down to the Irish Sea. Thus, from ancient times, the people of Wales used a road that crossed the Conwy River at Caerhun and headed into the hills, reaching a pass marked by two standing stones on either side of the road. The road then descended out of the hills, arriving at Aber and was then able to follow the road west towards Bangor and Caernarvon. Even the Romans found the topography impossible and chose to improve the ancient British/Celtic road rather than build an entirely new one closer to the coast. 1000 years later, the Normans faced the same difficulties. It Read more…

Stonehenge

  Stonehenge is one of many rings of standing stones built by the ancient peoples in Britain, in this case on the Salisbury Plain. More is known about Stonehenge in particular than other stone circles because it was so well preserved that real archaeological work has been done around it. A ‘henge’, in archaeological terms, is a large enclosure. It appears that the first ‘henge’ at Stonehenge involved no stones at all, but was an earthwork, composed of a ditch, a bank, and a series of dug holes called the ‘Aubrey holes, all begun around 3100 BC. The Aubrey holes are round pits dug into the chalk of the plain, each about a meter wide and deep, with steep sides and flat bottoms. These holes form a circle a little less than a 100  meters in diameter. In a way, then, Read more…

Working Archaeology in Wales

Archaeologists are always working on new projects in Wales.  A shortage of workers and funding inhibit the work, but the Dyfed Archaeological Trust conducted seven different digs, mostly using volunteer labor, in 2010.  A look at their page is a good review of what ‘real’ archaeology is like:  lots of digging, frustration, and grunt work, interspersed with occasional finds.  http://www.cambria.org.uk/  They worked on: Fan Barrow Excavation 2010 Capel y Groes 2010 Pantybutler Round Barrows 2010 Tir y Dail Castle, Ammanford Dig Diary July 2010 Upper Newton Roman Villa at Wolfscastle, Pembrokeshire – Dig Diary 2010 Wernfawr Dig Diary 2010 Nevern Castle Summer Excavation 2010 Nevern Castle Spring Excavation 2010 Each of these is a fascinating study in luck and circumstance (and hard work).  There are four archaeological trusts in Wales (Dyfed, Gwynedd, Glamorgan-Gwen, and Clwyd-Powys), found here:  http://www.archwilio.org.uk/ Gwynedd’s digs Read more…