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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