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MOLLESTON BACK GEOPHYSICAL AND TOPOGRAPHICAL · PDF file 2018-05-21 · Molleston Back Geophysical and Topographical Survey 2018 DAT Archaeological Services 1 DAT Report No. 2018-12

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  • Prepared by Dyfed Archaeological Trust For: Cadw

    MOLLESTON BACK

    GEOPHYSICAL AND TOPOGRAPHICAL SURVEY

    2018

    .

    Molleston Back Defended Enclosure

  • DYFED ARCHAEOLOGICAL TRUST

    RHIF YR ADRODDIAD / REPORT NO. 2018/12

    RHIF Y DIGWYDDIAD / EVENT RECORD NO. 111452

    CADW PROJECT NO. DAT 148

    Mawrth 2018

    March 2018

    MOLLESTON BACK GEOPHYSICAL

    AND TOPOGRAPHICAL SURVEY 2018

    Gan / By

    Charles Enright

    with a contribution from Mark Redknap

    The copyright of this report is held by Cadw and Dyfed Archaeological Trust Ltd.

    The maps are based on Ordnance Survey mapping provided by the National Assembly for Wales with the permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, Crown Copyright. All rights

    reserved. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown Copyright and may lead to prosecution or civil proceedings. License No.: 100017916 (2014).

    Historic mapping reproduced here is covered under Crown Copyright and Landmark Information Group. All rights reserved. Dyfed Archaeological Trust Ltd. On behalf of Welsh Government 2014.

    Scheduled Ancient Monument polygon data in this report is based on Cadw’s Historic Assets Data. Crown Copyright. Cadw.

    Ymddiriedolaeth Archaeolegol Dyfed Cyf Corner House, 6 Stryd Caerfyrddin, Llandeilo,

    Sir Gaerfyrddin SA19 6AE Ffon: Ymholiadau Cyffredinol 01558 823121

    Adran Rheoli Treftadaeth 01558 823131 Ebost: [email protected] Gwefan: www.archaeolegdyfed.org.uk

    Dyfed Archaeological Trust Limited Corner House, 6 Carmarthen Street, Llandeilo,

    Carmarthenshire SA19 6AE Tel: General Enquiries 01558 823121

    Heritage Management Section 01558 823131 Email: [email protected]

    Website: www.dyfedarchaeology.org.uk

    Cwmni cyfyngedig (1198990) ynghyd ag elusen gofrestredig (504616) yw’r Ymddiriedolaeth. The Trust is both a Limited Company (No. 1198990) and a Registered Charity (No. 504616)

    CADEIRYDD CHAIRMAN: Professor B Burnham. CYFARWYDDWR DIRECTOR: K Murphy BA MIFA

  • CRYNODEB GWEITHREDOL

    Cafodd arolwg geoffisegol ei ysgogi yn sgil adroddiad ynglŷn â darganfod

    arteffactau canoloesol cynnar Ffrancaidd yn Molleston Back. Ni ddatgelodd yr

    arolwg unrhyw dystiolaeth gyd-destunol ar gyfer lleoliad yr arteffactau.

    Gwnaed arolwg hefyd o Molleston Back, y lloc amddiffynedig o’r Oes Efydd sydd

    gerllaw. Dangosodd y gwaith hwn fod y safle lawer yn fwy cymhleth na’r hyn a

    awgrymir gan dystiolaeth ar yr arwyneb, gyda’r posibilrwydd y gallai cofadail ffurf

    ‘hengoraidd’ fod dan yr wyneb yn y lloc.

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    A geophysical survey was prompted by a report of the discovery of early medieval

    Frankish artefacts at Molleston Back. The survey revealed no contextual evidence

    for the location of the artefacts.

    The nearby Iron Age defended enclosure of Molleston Back was also surveyed.

    This work showed that the site is much more complex than is suggested by

    surface evidence, with the possibility that a Neolithic ‘hengiform’ monument may

    underlie the enclosure.

  • Molleston Back Geophysical and Topographical Survey 2018

    DAT Archaeological Services DAT Report No. 2018-12

    MOLLESTON BACK GEOPHYSICAL AND TOPOGRAPHICAL SURVEY 2018

    CONTENTS

    SUMMARY 1

    1. INTRODUCTION 2

    1.1 Project Commission 2

    1.2 Scope of Project 2

    1.3 Report Outline 2

    1.4 Abbreviations 2

    1.5 Illustrations 3

    1.6 Timeline 3

    2. The Artefacts (artefact descriptions by Mark Redknap,

    National Museum Wales) 6

    Molleston Back Enclosure 8

    3. GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY 7

    3.1 Methodology 7

    3.2 Results 8

    Field A 11

    Field B 14

    Field C 18

    4. TOPOGRAPHICAL SURVEY 21

    4.1 Methodology 21

    4.2 Results 21

    6. CONCLUSIONS 27

    7. SOURCES 30

    FIGURES

    Figure 1: Site Location 4

    Figure 2: Site Location and Area of Geophysical Surveys. 5

    Figure 3: Greyscale plot of geophysical survey results Fields A – C 10

    Figure 4: Greyscale plot of geophysical survey results for Field A. 12

    Figure 5: Interpretation plot of geophysical survey results for Field A. 13

    Figure 6 Greyscale plot of geophysical survey results for Field B. 16

    Figure 7 Interpretation plot of geophysical survey results for Field B. 17

    Figure 8: Greyscale plot of geophysical survey results for Field C. 19

    Figure 9: Interpretation plot of geophysical survey results for Field C. 20

    Figure 10: Contour plot of site area showing topography of

    Molleston Back enclosure. 22

    Figure 11 Contour plot of site area overlaid on greyscale plot of

  • Molleston Back Geophysical and Topographical Survey 2018

    DAT Archaeological Services DAT Report No. 2018-12

    geophysical survey results 23

    Figure 12: Contour plot of site area overlaid on interpretation plot of

    geophysical survey results. 24

    Figure 13: Hachure plan 25

    Figure 14: Profiles of enclosure 26

    Figure 15: Scheduled area 29

    TABLES

    Table 1: Archaeological and Historical Timeline for Wales 3

    PHOTOGRAPHS

    Photo 1: The bioconical black burnished pot 6

    Photo 2: The Frankish radiate headed bronze brooch 7

    Photo 3: Aerial photograph of Molleston Back Enclosure 7

  • Molleston Back Geophysical and Topographical Survey 2018

    DAT Archaeological Services 1 DAT Report No. 2018-12

    MOLLESTON BACK GEOPHYSICAL AND TOPOGRAPHICAL SURVEY 2018

    SUMMARY

    In 2012 two early medieval artefacts dating to the 6th and 7th centuries were

    reportedly found near Molleston Back Defended Enclosure. The artefacts included

    a Frankish vessel and a Frankish radiate headed brooch. These artefacts are well

    beyond their expected distribution but it is not impossible for them to have been

    deposited in a furnished grave of an ‘incomer’ in west Wales. However, there is

    some doubt surrounding the location of the find spot. Therefore in 2017 Cadw

    grant aided a project to evaluate the site to ascertain whether the early medieval

    artefacts could have been found at Molleston Back and possibly provide an

    archaeological context for the artefacts. The assessment consisted of a

    geophysical survey across the entirety of the field the artefacts were reported

    found in. As the finds are expected to have come from a furnished burial it was

    hoped that a cemetery would provide the necessary context. The geophysical

    survey results have not been able to provide a context for the artefacts but it has

    identified a number of possible enclosures; these are not characteristic of a

    cemetery.

    In addition to the primary aims the project has also provided an invaluable

    opportunity to examine the Molleston Back enclosure in detail. Although the

    defenses of the enclosure have previously been planned by the Ordnance Survey

    the topographical and geophysical survey has revealed significant new

    information about the construction of the enclosure, in particular identifying a

    number of previously unknown attributes. The surveys show that the enclosure

    appears to be defined by two distinct components, suggesting that a possible

    ‘hengiform’ type monument has been incorporated and adapted into the defences

    of the enclosure. This provides an interesting glimpse into the mind-set of the

    inhabitants and how they weighed up their needs for a defended enclosure

    against their desire to preserve an earlier monument, demonstrating careful

    planning and thoughtfulness. This may provide a unique opportunity into how a

    presumably peaceful early ritualistic site has transitioned into an Iron Age

    defended enclosure in such a way, through careful thought, that the people were

    able maintain their special connection with its original purpose.

    It is also worth noting that with a better understanding of the extent of the

    enclosure it appears that the scheduled area may not entirely cover its full extent,

    with its most southern edge and outer defences lying in an adjacent field outside

    of the scheduled area.

  • Molleston Back Geophysical and Topographical Survey 2018

    DAT Archaeological Services 2 DAT Report No. 2018-12

    1. INTRODUCTION

    1.1 Project Commission

    1.1.1 In 2012 two early medieval artefacts were reportedly found near Molleston

    Back Defended Enclosure. The artefacts, a Frankish vessel and a Frankish

    radiate headed brooch, date to AD 6th and 7th centuries, with examples

    known from northern France/Belgium. Similar brooches are also known

    from eastern England. Both artefacts occur in funerary contexts. The

    Molleston Back artefacts are well beyond their normal expected

    distribution, but it not impossible for

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