Engineering Archaeological Services Ltd.

Windermere Reflections Geophysical Surveys

During May 2014 we were engaged by Oxford Archaeology North to carry out a series of geophysical surveys on four, bloomery, sites around Windermere Lake as part of the Windermere Reflections Project. This is a community survey project, funded by the Lake District National Park Authority which has been looking at the landscape of the Windermere Catchment. Four sites were investigated, High Stott (Black Hole Wood Estate), Cinder Nab (Ridding Bay, Finsthwaite), Ghyll Head and Blelham Tarn with the help of local volunteers. Of particular note was the detailed survey of Blelham Tarn, a rare water-powered bloomery site which was surveyed at a resolution of a 0.25 m grid giving superb results which were then used by Oxford Archaeology North to target their excavations.

Bryn Sieont Hospital Construction Phase

Following the previous work on the site, we were commissioned by Carroll Ltd to carry out the watching brief during the demolition of the existing buildings and the construction of the new specialist nursing home. The demolition revealed remains of a ward originally opened in 1916, whilst the watching brief recorded a number of features which appear to relate to the eighteenth and nineteenth century use of the site. These include an enigmatic feature consisting of an “L” shaped, stone walled trench containing masses of nineteenth century ceramics. Of greater importance, however, is the work in the field behind the old hospital complex. Here a “strip, map and sample” program located remains of a post-medieval field boundary. Whilst excavating a section through this feature a small pit was found containing a sherd of Late Neolithic or Bronze Age pottery and several flint flakes. This might relate to the Bronze Age “incense cup” and other funerary vessels which are reported as having been found in the area in mid nineteenth century.

Moel Arthur Geophysical Survey

We were commissioned by the Clwydian Range Archaeology Group (http://cragnorthwales.com/) to help with a fluxgate gradiometer survey on the slopes below Moel Arthur hillfort. The group battled with difficult conditions, with areas of heather and gorse up to a meter deep in places, managing to cover an area of about 1.3 Ha around a wet flush on the hillside. The survey was based on a possible burnt mound which had been located in a previous survey and the group had excavated in 2013. Further possible archaeological activity was located around the wet flush including a number of highly magnetic anomalies which may be associated with other high temperature features.

Bryn Sieont Hospital

In a joint project with Govannon Consultancy we have carried out a “Level 3” building record of the disused hospital at Bryn Sieont, Caernarfon. At the core of the hospital complex is a Mid Victorian gentleman’s residence built in 1872. This was converted into a T.B. Hospital in 1914 and transferred to the Welsh Regional Hospitals Board in 1948. More recently the buildings have been used as a hospital offering palliative care by Macmillan nurses for cancer patients and then a centre used by the Blood Transfusion Service and a base for ambulances. The 1872 building is distinctive, constructed of yellow brick with red brick decoration in the form of a series of string courses and gable end decoration. Inside it also retains some feature from its original use including an impressive main staircase. The later buildings attached to the house were also recorded including a Terminal Care Unit and Geriatric Unit constructed in the 1970’s.

Bath flint artefact analysis

The flint assemblages from a number of sites around the city of Bath have been analysed including over 16,000 artefacts from the Bath Southgate development excavated by the Museum of London Archaeology and a collection of artefacts recovered by the Bath Archaeological trust from a borehole drilled into the Hot Spring. These suggest significant Mesolithic activity in the area which was not previously appreciated in the city. Indeed it can be argued the flint artefacts from the Hot Spring may be some of the earliest votive offerings in Britain.

Blaenau Ffestiniog Downhill Cycle Tracks

A landscape survey was carried out in advance of the construction of the Downhill Cycle Tracks for Antur ‘Stinog Cyf. This was then used to advise the designers thereby avoiding any archaeological feature. A watching brief was then carried out on the construction phase of the project recording a series of unrecorded features including three previously unknown rock cannons.

11 Castle Street, Conwy

“The Old Black Lion” in the middle of Conwy is a distinctive building which appears to date from 1589 based on a plaque above the door. Timbers within the building, however, have been recently dated for the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales, using dendrochronology, to the winter of 1441 – 1142. In collaboration with Govannon Consultancy, Engineering Archaeological Services Ltd were commissioned to record the house and its outbuilding, in detail, in advance of a planning application to convert the building into a home. Subsequently EAS have carried out a limited excavation, both within the house and in the rear garden to investigate the history of the house. The excavation in the later kitchen extension was particularly instructive suggesting that the current building is probably on the site of an earlier building which probably pre-dates the burning of the town in 1400 by the supporters of Owain Glyndŵr. All of the work was funded by the current owner.