Week 1-3: Breaking Ground
And we're off! AB Heritage Limited and Rubicon Heritage begin works at Love Lodge Fields, Ffairfach, Llandeilo.
A small core team arrived on site in the middle of January to begin ground works before the full excavation team arrives on Week Four. The principal objective of the investigation is to preserve by record all known archaeology from within the site boundaries – Good news, as previous investigation suggests there is certainly high archaeological potential.
Hampered by weather the team powered on through one of the wettest months on record. Go team! Undeterred by the elements Week One was spent mobilising and setting out areas ready for excavation, a large undertaking with lots of areas of potential to cordon off and mark out.
The end of Week One and Week Two saw topsoil stripping begin on a large scale. Now the exciting work really gets going and we finally get to investigate the archaeology. As outlined in previous posts a series of preliminary works revealed major Prehistoric and Roman features such as a section of Roman road, Bronze Age barrow cemetery and possible Roman practice camps. Week Two and Three saw a start on the length of the Roman road, which has been stripped of topsoil along its entire length. During stripping the extent of the road was exposed, topographically surveyed and photographed.
This project provides us with a great opportunity to investigate a large part of the road here. Three slots were dug during Week Three revealing in places the depth of colluvial layers to be up to 2m before the natural is reached. A good clear section revealed the road to possess sealed flanking ditches on either side of the road surface. The material forming the agger, the base layer for the metalled road surface, has been spread to both sides over time, and now seals the flanking ditches. This likely occurred as a result of ploughing and natural soil movement. Unfortunately, at this stage, no road surface has been seen that can be dated to the Roman period, though we can say that the Roman road is approximately 6m wide from ditch to ditch.
To the north west of the Roman Road a trackway with a light metalled surface of stones and gravel can be seen. The trackway is approximately 1.5-2 meters wide and there is a gully running along its north west side. Evidence collected from this trackway suggests that it dates to the post medieval, post-dating the construction of the modern road, which lies to the south of the site.
Linking these two features is a spread of charcoal (approximately 1.5m in diameter), and a series of stakeholes that were cut into the top of the upper colluvial layer. These features lie to the north west of the Roman road. The gully next to the subsidiary trackway cuts through the charcoal spread but, as yet, the relationship between the spread and the stakeholes has not been interpreted.
As archaeologists it’s always exciting to study these intimate relationships and decipher if the features relate and correspond with each other in antiquity. It’s amazing to think that we are only at the preliminary stage and yet so much information has already been uncovered; a real testament to the hard work on site.
Check in next week when we’ll be going back to the Bronze Age.