Cadw Dig 2007 Design Brief - Archaeological Design Brief for proposed excavations Bryn Alyn Hill Fort (DE057)
This paper presents proposals for a programme of works regarding the conservation and consolidation of the east bank of Bryn Alyn Hill Fort (DE057), including archaeological excavations, within an area known as Caer Alyn, in Gresford near Wrexham, northeast Wales. (NGR. SJ 333 541).
The project will consist of three elements. Firstly, the removal of fallen trees and undergrowth and moving of a boundary fence to facilitate access for archaeologists, this is a major part of the conservation programme and aims to completely remove the boundary fence from the very top of the rampart and replace said fence further down slope in order to keep animals away from the monument. This process will conserve and secure the integrity of much of the east and south banks of the Hill fort. Secondly, the controlled excavation and recording of deposits and structures within the immediate area under threat from erosion. Finally, post excavation analysis and production of archaeology report conforming to CADW and CPAT guidelines. Moreover, archaeological investigations will be carried out by a group of volunteers from the Caer Alyn Archaeological Heritage Project under the supervision of a professional archaeologist. The landowners will therefore, carry out the task concerning the removal and relocation of part of the boundary fence, prior to archaeological investigations.
Site Location and description
The site lies on a promontory and centres on National Grid Reference SJ 332 537 (Fig. 1). The extent of the scheduled monument area lies within the field boundaries of Alyn Lodge, The Wilderness and a community archaeology group Caer Alyn Archaeological and Heritage Project. The proposed area of archaeological investigations is situated near the top rampart on the east side of the Bryn Alyn Hill Fort that lies between the new Llay Road (B5425) to the northwest and Pont y Capel Lane to the southeast.
The project falls inside the remit of the preservation of Ancient Monuments, however the land on which excavation is proposed is under the guidance of the Caer Alyn Archaeological and Heritage Project and the owners of Alyn Lodge and The Wilderness, therefore permission for the works on the area by the landowners is granted. The fieldwork will be led by CAAHP under supervision from project archaeologist Anthony Hanna (PGDipArch, MPhil, AIFA). All fieldwork will be for the purposes of site conservation, consolidation and display of monument.
Brief Archaeological and Historical Background
Much of the historical background information on the site can be found within CAAHPs own Archaeological and historical investigation, first interim report (Rogers A, Et al, 2006). Also, detailed archaeological information can be accessed from the historic environment record at CPAT. A brief summary of the archaeological information is as follows.
According to available records there is no information regarding archaeological excavations on the ancient monument Bryn Alyn Fort.
A trawl of the local Sites and Monuments Record has revealed 6 main areas of archaeological interest to the project.
- Bryn Alyn wall and ditch.
- Bryn Alyn Round Barrow (SAM DE59).
- Bryn Alyn Promontory Fort (SAM DE57).
- Pont y Capel place name.
- Wilderness Mill.
- Watts Dyke.
Project Aims and Objectives:
The aims of the project can be divided into seven broad categories:
- To produce a report that can offer a conservation strategy for future preservation and display of the land at Bryn Alyn Hill Fort.
- To conduct controlled archaeological investigations in order to inform site conservation and display.
- To undertake archaeological excavation in order to consolidate and record the area on the east side of the monument – part of the upper rampart and wall – thus protecting and preventing further erosion. This would be carried out in tandem with the relocation of the boundary fence from the top of the rampart to the slope approximately c30.0m below. Both these measures would greatly enhance the preservation and conservation of a large section of the monument.
- To consolidate the eroded part of the monument by moving fence from part of rampart and reinstating monument after archaeological excavation and recording. This will be achieved by backfilling remodelling with turf and pinning securely with chicken wire.
- To train and develop members of the community group in all aspects of modern archaeological practice, with a view to producing field work in line with current CADW, CPAT and IFA procedures (IFA, 2001).
- To obtain guidance and support from CPAT, thus ensuring production of CAAHP report including supplying a detailed entry for CBA ‘Archaeology in Wales’.
- To enhance the sites and monuments record which is the basis for the management and curation of the archaeological resources within the region.
Excavation Design and Methodology.
The methodology for the proposed project will consist of three major elements; clearance of debris and overburden, controlled excavation and recording and depending on depth of archaeological deposits and structures both the multi and single planning strategies would be utilized. Post excavation analysis and production of archaeological report following investigations and consolidation shall be undertaken.
- A trench not exceeding c5 – 10m square will be cut through the rampart to establish if there is a rear and infill to the possible wall facings and if there are further buried courses – this would be done in order to inform site conservation and display.
- Non-destructive techniques shall also be used, for example, detailed recording of stone structures, aerial photography and some topographical survey to enhance the recording and conservation strategy of the project.
- All site illustrations will be drawn to 1:20 scale and 1: 10 for greater detail.
- Trench and location plans shall be drawn to 1:50 and 1:200 scales respectively.
- Photographs of archaeological features shall be taken – colour, black and white and digital.
- Archaeological structures will be revealed, recorded and left in situ to be backfilled and consolidated.
- Artefactual and ecofactual analysis shall be completed as and when necessary.
An Archaeological Overview - the future
It is hoped that the proposed works would help preserve and conserve this significant ancient monument from current and future erosion. Thus enabling the community to understand and enjoy this prehistoric defensive enclosure, through the dissemination of information gathered and protection of the monument through consolidation.
The sites of particular archaeological interest within the area of Caer Alyn are as follows.
- Barrow Mound.
- Promontory Hill Fort.
- Medieval field systems.
- Possible Post Medieval platform.
- Possible location of St. Leonard’s Chapel.
Rogers. A. Et al. Caer Alyn. An Archaeological and Historical Investigation. First Interim Report. Caer Alyn Archaeological Heritage Project, 2006.
The Standard and Guidance for Archaeological Excavation. Institute of Field Archaeologists, 2001.Guidance Notes:
Guidance for applications for ancient monument grant for heritage conservation volunteer groups
Posted by Ken White, Nov 29, 2007