Wales-wide drought reveals further lost archaeological monuments
As the drought across Wales continues, new and long-vanished archaeological sites continue to appear in fields of ripening crops and parched grassland. Attempting to survey and photograph all the different regions of Wales requires long hours in the cockpit for Toby and the pilot. All flights start at Haverfordwest Airport in Pembrokeshire with stopovers made for fuel at Caernarfon, Welshpool or even Gloucester airports to extend sorties to the corners of Wales.
Parts of north Wales are exceptionally dry, yielding wide-spreading cropmarks of Bronze Age barrows and prehistoric settlements across the Llyn Peninsula. A newly discovered early medieval cemetery of square barrows seen in south Gwynedd is a very rare monument type for Wales.
In south Wales early crops of wheat are nearly fully ripened meaning archaeological marks seen a week ago have nearly vanished. Elsewhere later crops still have a couple of weeks to ripen but are already showing ‘green on green’ cropmarks of prehistoric settlements. There was a surprise in the Vale of Glamorgan where severe drought at a known prehistoric settlement showed new cropmarks of a Roman villa within its modified ramparts; we know of Roman villas built within prehistoric settlements elsewhere at Whitton Lodge and Trelissey but this is a new example of farmfoods.
Dr Toby Driver, Senior Aerial Investigator, said; ‘I’ve not seen conditions like this since I took over the archaeological flying at the Royal Commission in 1997. So much new archaeology is showing it is incredible; the urgent work in the air now will lead to months of research in the office in the winter months to map and record all the sites which have been seen, and reveal their true significance.’
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Cropmarks Gallery: Clues under the Landscape
In pictures: A Collection of 28 Fascinating Drawings of Historic Monuments
[…] have been making the news recently (see for example https://rcahmw.gov.uk/wales-wide-drought-reveals-further-lost-archaeological-monuments/, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-44812713 and […]
This is so interesting! I live in the US! We are finding many ruins and artifacts here. nothing like these.
To the east (about 300mtrs) of the firing points on the target range between the Cynon and Clydach valleys (above Mountain Ash) there is a small ruin which, when I was a kid, was purported to be an iron age site. It would be interesting to find out if there is anything else there. Especially since historical sites are so sparse in the area.
here is a possibly useful tip re doing aerial photography from a C-172 or 182: if you remove the screw that attaches the bar that limits the swing of the door window frame, the slipstream will hold the window against the wing and fully open. this will allow increased freedom of movement of camera when taking photos through the open window. and you won’t need to be concerned about smudges of dirt on the plexiglas.
has anyone flown a drone over Bodfari/St Asaph area to try to discover the lost Roman fort of Varae?!
Hi Tim, we did survey over St Asaph in the aircraft in July with just that purpose in mind, but failed to see any evidence of the Roman site.
I am YAA mapping and we have lots of new techniques that are revealing lots of new archaeology (if you get me!) can you give me some more info on the location please Tim?
I found that Fort while metal detecting
Please come to Holland and make photos of limburg, that would be great !
Just to see the roman sites.
And because Holland does not do anything like this
You are doing excellent work !!
Recruit some drone enthusiasts, pronto!
Would like to see a picture the shadow of a castle ruin near Twyn.
and the Roman watch tower. Romans in Tywyn I cannot believe it!
Nice… Thanks for sharing,
Can’t seem to find on the site any photos of the Roman site between Caerwent and Caerleon?
The photo of the fortlet between Caerwent and Caerleon was in the earlier post about cropmarks
Fascinating discoveries – great work. It’s a pity that there weren’t the opportunities to explore further up some of the major rivers, e.g. the Towy and Teifi, the latter having many known sites near its banks, where others must surely exist.
This is fantastic information, adding to the story of Wales and Britain. Great work.
This is fantastic stuff, well done.