February - Annual Day School
Fragments from Antiquity: Recent Archaeological Work in Carmarthenshire by Cambria
As usual, the meeting was held at the Ferryside
Education Centre. The speakers were all members of staff of Cambria
Archaeology, which is the marketing name for the Dyfed Archaeological Trust and the meeting
was chaired by Dr. Barry Burnham, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Lampeter University and Chairman
of Cambria Archaeology.
Gwilym Hughes, the Trust's Director, gave a brief overview of the work carried
out by the Trust in protecting, recording, managing and maintaining the archaeological and
historical heritage of Dyfed. Many sites have been in the Trust's care for a long time but
an increasing number are being recorded for the first time.
Ken Murphy, principal Archaeologist and Deputy Director of the Trust, then
spoke of the recent excavation of an early Neolithic enclosure and Bronze Age barrow cemetery
at Cwm Meudwy, Llandyssul, one of the six hundred known sites in Wales. With the aid of illustrations
he then compared this site with some of the better-known sites in Carmarthenshire.
Dr. Nikki Cook, a Project Manager with the Trust, was unable to attend and
a colleague read her paper on her recent survey of the Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual sites
in Carmarthenshire. These included chamber tombs, burial mounds and standing stones, which
date to the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. These, the oldest surviving monuments, indicate
a settled landscape for over 5000 years agoand her illustrations provided the capacity audience
with a vivid impression of the monuments in their stark setting.
Gwilym Hughes concluded the morning session by discussing the newly discovered
Roman Fort at Llandeilo. Numerous Roman finds in the area, such as a milestone from the time
of the Emperor Tacitus (273 - 276 AD), two coin hoards and many pottery shards, had led archaeologists
to believe that it was likely that there had been a fort in or near Llandeilo, mid-way on
the road between Carmarthen and Llandovery. However its location remained a mystery until
the good weather of summer 2003 showed crop marks of an ancient site in Dynevor Park. A magnetron
geophysical survey clearly showed two forts, one superimposed on the other. It is intended
to carry out a further survey using ground probing radar before embarking on an archaeological
dig which may give the reasons why the first fort was abandoned and then re-established as
a garrison. The survey showed clear evidence of roads to Llandovery (Alabum), Carmarthen (Maridinum)
and Loughor (Leucarum).
The afternoon session began with Neil Ludlow, a Project Manager with particular
interest in the medieval archaeology and buildings of Wales, who gave an illustrated review
of the archaeological work carried out at Carmarthen Castle over the last ten years. Alterations
and additions to the castle at different periods of the its history are now becoming much
All these images are copyright of Cambria Archaeology.
There are many more on their website.
Cairns on the hills of east Carmarthenshire
A deserted house in a bleak landscape
Paul Sambrook's (Project Manager, Heritage Management) lectured on deserted rural
settlements. The numerous ruins of habitations in remote upland areas, particularly the hundreds
scattered over the Mynydd Du (Black Mountains), show that these bleak landscapes once supported
a considerable, if not a thriving, population.
Nigel Page, a Project Manager with special interest in post-medieval archaeology,
brought the day to a close with a paper on his survey of the early iron working industry in Carmarthenshire.
This included the Ponthenri furnace and the Llandyfan forge, both important centres of industry
long before the major industrialisation of the east of the county.
An article "Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites in Carmarthenshire"
by Nikki Cook appears in the 2003 edition of The Antiquary together with shorter articles by Gwilym
Hughes on the Roman fort at Dinefwr Park and Neil Ludlow on Carmarthen castle. Copies are available
from Terry Wells in the Carmarthenshire Record Office. (email@example.com).
March - The Buckley Memorial Lecture
Llanelli Periodicals in the Nineteenth Century
The Buckley Memorial Lecture ws established by the Society to honour the memory
of Major Kemmis Buckley whose foresight and prudence contributed greatly to the success of the Society
over much of the second half of the twentieth century. He served as chairman in the sixties being
elected president from 1971 until he retired in 1996, when he became President Emeritus.
The inaugural lecture was held on Saturday, 20th March 2004 at Llandovery College,
the topic being chosen to reflect one of Major Buckley's many interests. Dr. Huw Walters, Head of
Bibliography of Wales Unit at the National Library of Wales, noted that some 1074 periodicals were
published in Wales between 1735 and 1900, mainly in Welsh. There were three important publishing
houses in Llanelli , those of Revd David Rees, David Williams and James Davies.
David Rees was born in Trelech and became the minister of Capel Als in 1829. When
Brutus's 'Yr Efengylydd' ceased publication in Llandovery in 1835 Rees was persuaded to invest £500
in a printing office in Water Street, from where he published 'Y Diwygiwr'. The journal contained
biographical details of eminent Welsh independent ministers, Nonconformist matters, home and foreign
news together with discussions of political issues. His views on tithes and the rights of the Church
of England brought him into conflict with the vicar of Llanelli, the notorious Ebenezer Morris.
He was sympathetic to the Chartists and Rebecca Rioters and was denounced in an Edinburgh journal
as an agitator and a danger to the state. He also published journals for the temperance movement,
children's periodicals and ' Y Gymraes', sponsored by Lady Llanover, which was intended to raise
the profile of women in society.
David Williams went into partnership with David Rees in Water Street. He started
publishing the 'Llanelly Guardian' in 1863, a periodical which survived until 1953. Many other publications
came from this publishing house, mostly to do with religious and moral issues. The third publisher
was James Davies who operated at Bres Building in Murray Street. He produced, mainly local trade
directories, a reflection of the growing industrialisation of the town and the surrounding area.
Together with Arthur Mee, who published 'Carmarthenshire Notes', all these publications
are valuable as records of contemporary thought, vital to local and family historians, during a
period of rapid industrial and population growth in Llanelli.
Huw Walters is a prolific contributor to The Antiquary. Recent articles include:
"Emma Goldman, Queen of Anarchy: the Carmarthenshire Connection" , 2003
"Ar Drywydd 'Lamp y Cymro' and (with Bill Jones) "On the American Frontier:Amman
Valley Emigrants in Texas 1879 -80" , 2001
"David Rees Griffiths ('Amanwy'), 1882 - 1953", 1999
"Gwasg Gyfnodol Tref Llanymddyfri, 1773-1856", 1994
"Eryr Glyn Cothi", 1993
"Sherlyn Benchwiban: unig Anterliwt Sir Gâr" (short article), 1992
Copies are available from Terry Wells in the Carmarthenshire Record Office. (firstname.lastname@example.org).