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Pembrokeshire Coast Archaeology Day 2020

7 November 10:00am - 4:00pm


The Pembrokeshire Coast Archaeology Day will take place online this year. The event is free, but donations to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust are encouraged.


The event will take place on our Archaeology Day YouTube channel. Booking to access this event is not required.


Click the link to view a preview trailer of the 2020 Archaeology Day.


07 November 2020 between 10am and 4pm.


In advance of the event, we are encouraging those with questions relating to the talks and contributions to send these in advance and we will try to include as many in the relevant question and answer session on the day. Send your advance questions to archaeology@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk.



The event has been split into two sessions, with a morning session taking place between 10am and 12 noon and an afternoon session between 2pm and 4pm. Between these sessions, there will be an opportunity to view a guided archaeological walk during the lunchtime break. Full details including information for each session are below:

MORNING SESSION (10AM – 12 noon)

Welcome from Stuart Berry, PLANED and Tomos Ll. Jones, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (bilingual).

The morning session will explore the impact that COVID-19 has had on the archaeological sector, including changing working practices. Inspired by recent events, it will also explore issues relating to representation, migration and colonialism.

Talk 1: Impact of COVID-19 on the archaeological sector in Wales by Kathy Laws, Council for British Archaeology Wales and Tomos Ll. Jones, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (in English).

Between June and July 2020, the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO) commissioned a rapid survey to ascertain the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on archaeological services in local authorities. The results of the survey were published in July and included responses from local authorities or their representatives in Wales. While the results of the survey were interesting in terms of the impact of COVID-19 on archaeological services in local authorities, this survey did not cover the sector more broadly. As such, working with the Council for British Archaeology Wales, the Chair of ALGAO:Cymru decided it would be useful to commission a survey looking at the sector more broadly in Wales.

The survey took place between July and August 2020 and included a responses from a range of organisations, societies and community groups operating in Wales. During the talk, the results of the survey will be presented, with a particular focus on the way that the archaeological sector has been affected and also how organisations, societies and communities have adapted to new ways of working and approaches to deliver activities.

Talk 2: Interpreting Archaeology; using digital engagement with communities under COVID-19 by John Ewart, PLANED (in English).

During the coronavirus restrictions the heritage sector has had to change the way in which it engages with the public. The processes of conservation and academic research still continue but, as museums and traveling exhibitions have closed temporarily, archaeologists have had to find new ways to present their findings to the public. In this talk John will discuss just one approach as PLANED works with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales following on from last year’s excavation of the chariot in South Pembrokeshire.

Talk 3: Decolonising the Mesolithic? Reflections on heritage interpretation in the post-colonial age by Rhowan Alleyne, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (in English).

At the end of 2019, the National Park Authority began a project to develop interpretation material to complement artefacts displayed in its archaeological display cabinet at Oriel y Parc Visitor Centre in St Davids. This included commissioning three pieces of artwork focussed on recreating the prehistoric submerged coastal landscape, depicting a local burial chamber and reimaging hunter gatherers.

The talk will focus on the latter piece, including exploring how shale beads like those found at the Mesolithic Nabs Head might have been worn, how those people might have looked and challenge previous perceptions of these past people. The talk is given from the perspective of an interpreter and gives an account of the thinking behind the commission and upon their own reflection of the struggle to create an image that is detangled or free from ‘traditional’ views that may include aspects like ‘colonial values’. The possibility is also raised that interpretation has the potential to provoke debate about conscious and unconscious biases in today’s evolving and political climate.

Talk 4: Colonists, Migrants and Refugees in Pembrokeshire History by Dr Simon Hancock FSA, Haverfordwest Town Museum (in English).

Views about migration and refugees are important components of political discourse in twenty-first century Britain. While it might appear a phenomenon of pre-and post Brexit Britain the historical record suggests otherwise. The communities of Pembrokeshire have been subject to repeated waves of migration from the early modern period whether as a result of conquest, economic opportunities or escape from political turmoil and warfare. This talk places into context the Irish immigration following the Roman period, the Anglo-Norman conquest of south-west Dyfed and the waves of Flemish migration which followed in its wake. Determining the presence of black residents is challenging but the varied ethnicity of people living in ports like Haverfordwest can be inferred by trade between west Wales, Jamaica and Antigua in the early eighteenth century.

The political turmoil in Ireland in 1798 and the French Revolution saw significant shifts in population, especially the former when Pembrokeshire was a refuge from bitter conflict. The Irish potato famine of 1845-49 likewise saw considerable migration across the Irish Sea to Wales. The two world wars resulted in unprecedented numbers of refugees. Milford Haven was host to the largest Belgian refugee colony in Wales (1914-19) and a second less populous wave in 1940. Economic opportunities brought migrants to Pembrokeshire throughout the Victorian period so there was a small Italian community at Haverfordwest by 1914 and an even more pronounced presence in Tenby and Milford Haven in the 1930s. The world wars also ensured the long term presence of former enemies and allies alike as former German and Italian prisoners of war remained in the county and a sizeable Polish community remained after 1945.

Morning session question and answer segment with Stuart Berry, PLANED, Tomos Ll. Jones, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and contributors to the morning (bilingual).

The morning session will conclude with an opportunity for viewers to ask questions to contributors in a live question and answer session relating to the topics and issues discussed during the morning block. Questions can be submitted in advance of the event by emailing archaeology@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk, these are welcomed and encouraged!


Virtually experience Foel Drygarn with Carol Pearce, Storyteller and Tomos Ll. Jones, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (in Welsh with subtitles).

Prior to COVID-19, the Preseli Heartlands Communities project team had intended to deliver a guided archaeological walk of the Iron Age hillfort site of Foel Drygarn, Crymych in spring 2020. The walk was due to be led by the National Park Authority’s Community Archaeologist in partnership with a storyteller. The Community Archaeologist would have given attendees a better understanding of the archaeological features at the site, while the storyteller would have brought the site to life in terms of imagining what living there might have been like for the inhabitants.

With the development of new ways of working, the project team decided to bring this cancelled walk to fruition by providing the experience of visiting the site virtually. While the Community Archaeologist points out features at the site, the storyteller will explore potential life at the site, including exploring the sensory experience of those who lived at the site.

The opportunity to view this short film will be available during lunchtime between 12 noon and 2pm.

The film has been produced through the Preseli Heartlands Communities project.


Welcome back from Stuart Berry, PLANED and Tomos Ll. Jones, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (bilingual).

The afternoon session will cover developments in recent archaeological research and community projects taking place within the National Park area.

Talk 1: Stacks, cliffs & cauldrons: Recent fieldwork at the remarkable coastal promontory forts of the Castlemartin Training Area, Pembrokeshire by Dr Toby Driver, Louise Barker and Dan Hunt, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) (in English).

During August 2020 the CHERISH Project team from the RCAHMW spent a week surveying and recording the remarkable later prehistoric coastal promontory forts of the Castlemartin Training Area in South Pembrokeshire. CHERISH is a 6-year EU-funded project in the 2014-2020 Ireland-Wales programme studying climate change and coastal heritage. The new fieldwork enabled the team to make centimetre-accurate 3D records of these large eroding promontory forts for future monitoring. From the better-visited sites like Flimston Bay, to the lesser-known forts of Buckspool/The Castle and Crocksydam, the spectacular Linney Head fort in the restricted live firing area and even a newly-recorded promontory fort, the talk includes some spectacular drone footage which will take you to the hidden parts of these dramatic coastal sites.

Click the link to find out more about the CHERISH project.

Talk 2: Ancient Connections: Excavating St Patrick’s Chapel by Ken Murphy, Dyfed Archaeological Trust (in English).

The site of St Patrick’s Chapel is located between the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and a beach immediately to the north at Whitesands Bay, St Davids. Surprisingly little was known about the chapel prior to recent excavations. In January 2014 the site was damaged when a series of storms hit the west coast of Britain. Dyfed Archaeological Trust and the University of Sheffield excavated the most damaged part of the site over a total of eight weeks in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The excavations demonstrated that a cemetery had been founded in the late eighth century AD and continued in use until at least the eleventh century. A stone-built chapel was built on the site in the twelfth/thirteenth century and was ruinous by the sixteenth century.

More recently, a community excavation took place in September 2019, with further excavations planned for 2021. During the 2019 excavation the foundation walls of the western end of the stone-built chapel were recorded, carefully dismantled and the stone safely stored. The foundations will be rebuilt following completion of the excavation in 2021. Dismantling the foundations will allow for the excavation of the graves and deposits from earlier phases to be investigated. In 2019, the area outside the chapel revealed several burials, with many in stone-lined graves, known as long cist graves. Some included lightly scratched crosses on the covering slabs suggesting Christian beliefs of the people buried there. Both the local community and volunteers from further afield participated in the excavation and guided tours provided. Community engagement and outreach will also feature in further work at the site.

The current project is funded through the Ancient Connections project.

Talk 3: Utilising Photogrammetry to Digitally Recreate the Remains of a Prehistoric Bear by Steve Knight and Seán Vicary, Tinder Farm (in English).

During the storms of 2014, a number of archaeological artefacts were revealed at sites across the National Park coastline. Objects were discovered and recovered from Whitesands, including deer antler, aurochs horns and a bear mandible. These objects are connected with the submerged landscapes of the distant past, when sea level was lower and the coastline occupied by marshes and woodland. Some of the objects recovered can be found on display at the Oriel y Parc Visitor Centre, St Davids, notably the aurochs horn. To increase engagement with these artefacts, the National Park Authority decided to commission a pilot project to digitally scan the bear mandibles in the hope that communities and the wider public can engage with objects using digital means.

The film explores the attempt by the team, Steve Knight would describe himself as a creative technologist and Seán Vicary as an artist. Combining their respective skills and talents they attempt to utilise photogrammetry to bring the bear mandibles to the digital sphere. The film documents key moments, including the process from start to finish and an exploration of the challenges faced.

Talk 4: Waun Mawn: a former stone circle near the bluestone quarries for Stonehenge by Prof. Mike Parker Pearson (in English). 

In 2017 and 2018 the Stones of Stonehenge Project, led by researchers from University College London and the universities of Southampton, Bournemouth and the Highlands & Islands, carried out excavations at Waun Mawn in North Pembrokeshire to discover if the four monoliths there are all that is left of a prehistoric stone circle. These four monoliths – three of them recumbent and one still standing – form an arc which previous archaeologists have suspected may be remains of a circle. Our excavations discovered a further six empty sockets around the perimeter, revealing that this stone circle was originally 110m in diameter. This makes it one of the largest stone circles in Britain and the same diameter as the ditch around Stonehenge. The team have also been able to establish its age by radiocarbon dating and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) profiling and dating.


Afternoon session question and answer segment with Stuart Berry, PLANED, Tomos Ll. Jones, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and contributors to the afternoon (bilingual).

The afternoon session will conclude with an opportunity for viewers to ask questions to contributors in a live question and answer session relating to the topics and issues discussed during the afternoon block. Questions can be submitted in advance of the event by emailing archaeology@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk, these are welcomed and encouraged!


Close of event with Stuart Berry, PLANED and Tomos Ll. Jones, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (bilingual).

Stuart and Tomos will close the event by summarising contributions of the day, including providing a summary of the main points that have been raised and also recognising and thanking the contributors including the viewers.

Images associated with some of the Archaeology Day 2020 talks


7 November
10:00am - 4:00pm
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