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«Prepared by Dyfed Archaeological Trust For: Cambrian Mines Trust DYFED ARCHAEOLOGICAL TRUST RHIF YR ADRODDIAD / REPORT NO. 2013/77 RHIF Y DIGWYLLIAD ...»

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Gallai unrhyw elw a wnaed gan y cynllun hwn gael ei fuddsoddi yn rheolaeth safle Gwaith Mwyn Cwmystwyth. Mae sefydlogi a thrwsio strwythurau eraill ar y safle hefyd yn angenrheidiol, boed uwchben neu dan y ddaear, ynghyd ag ymchwil a chofnodi pellach o archaeoleg, ecoleg a daeareg y safle. Mae hyrwyddo'r safle ac addysgu ymwelwyr a phlant ysgol amdano hefyd yn hanfodol er mwyn sicrhau na chaiff y safle ei esgeuluso.

Trafodir nifer o ffynonellau cyllid posib a fyddai'n addas ar gyfer y gwaith a gynigir yn y cynllun, gan gynnwys cronfeydd megis Cronfa Ymddiriedolaeth Gymunedol Fferm Wynt Cefn Croes, Ymddiriedolaeth Esmee Fairburn a Chronfa Dreftadaeth y Loteri.

Mae'r cynllun hefyd yn ystyried y caniatadau angenrheidiol er mwyn ymgymryd ag unrhyw waith ar y safle, megis Caniatâd Henebion Rhestredig a SoDdGA a chaniatâd cynllunio. Bydd yr holl ddynodiadau yn gofyn am set gyflawn o archwiliadau cychwynnol ar yr ardaloedd perthnasol ac asesiadau o'r effeithiau posib cyn derbyn unrhyw ganiatâd neu ganiatâd cynllunio. Rhagdybir ei fod yn bur bosib derbyn y caniatadau angenrheidiol, ond bydd yn rhaid i'r drafodaeth rhwng Ymddiriedolaeth Mwyngloddiau Cambria a'r cyrff llywodraethol barhau trwy gydol pob cam o ddatblygu a gweithredu'r prosiect terfynol. Darperir rhestr o gysylltiadau perthnasol, ac fe ymgynghorwyd gyda phob un ohonynt wrth gynhyrchu'r ddogfen hon.

Mae'r cynllun yn pwysleisio'r angen i ystyried cynhyrchu incwm o rhyw fath ar gyfer y safle er mwyn gofalu am gynaladwyedd hirdymor y safle, atgyweiriadau, cynnal a chadw a chofnodi. Mae yna gyfleoedd am ymchwil pellach i amgylchedd (archaeoleg, ecoleg, daeareg, llygredd) y safle a gallai cyllidebau am gynlluniau cofnodi pellach darddu o ariannu'r fath ymchwil.

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1 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Project Background and Scope 1.1.1 A Specification and Brief for the production of a Protection and Management Plan for the Cwmystwyth Mines site was prepared by Ceredigion County Council. This formed part of a tender request. The aim of the plan was to provide the owners of the mines site, The Cambrian Mines Trust (CMT), with a framework by which future projects and proposals at the site could be developed, providing information on relevant statutory requirements and legislation.

1.1.2 DAT Archaeological Services were commissioned to prepare the document.

The works have been funded by Cadw and Ceredigion County Council (Cynnal Y Cardi). The report will be for the use of The Cambrian Mines Trust.

1.1.3 The Cwmystwyth Mines site was formerly owned by the Crown Estates, and following a number of years of negotiations the site was taken over by The Cambrian Mines Trust (CMT or the Trust). These negotiations were completed in 2012 when the CMT was formed and registered as a Private Company Limited by Guarantee with no share capital on 28th March 2012 (Company No 8004161). At this point CMT took over the ownership of the site and custody of adjacent parts of the site not under Crown control.

1.2 Cambrian Mines Trust 1.2.1 CMT is run by three directors, Roy Fellows, David James and Hugh Ratzer who have all assisted with the preparation of this Plan. The Cambrian Mines Trust website states that ‘The Trust is dedicated to acquiring any and all kinds of land or rights relative to historic mining remains in England and Wales. Our purpose is the preservation of those remains both surface and underground and also the preservation and restoration of underground access’.

http://www.cambrianmines.co.uk/ 1.2.2 The Object of CMT, as included in their Articles of Association is:

The object of the Trust is to advance the education of the public by securing the preservation, restoration, improvement, enhancement and maintenance of features and objects of industrial, scientific, social and historical interest relating to the winning and working of minerals, slate and stone in Wales and the counties immediately adjoining including the provision of museums and visitor centres for the display of such features and objects and the organization of meetings, exhibitions, lectures, publications and other forms of instruction relevant to the historical, social and industrial development of mining and quarrying in the said area, for the benefit of the people..

1.3 Scope of the Project 1.3.1 Based on the tender documentation the following requirements and key outputs were included within the DAT Archaeological Services tender and have

been addressed within this document where possible:

1) The production of a Protection and Management Plan, hereafter referred to as the Plan.

2) The Plan will allow the Client to understand the implications of the proposed actions and will be a robust basis from which to approach works on site and for funding bodies when required in the future.

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3) The Plan will consider each of the 15 proposals within the original ‘wish list’ prepared by CMT and will document the potential risks (benefits or dis-benefits) and will prioritise certain activities.

4) Review and re-writing of the wish list to make the aspirations clearer and remove those tasks considered unviable or unnecessary.

5) Following this review the wish list was reduced to 11 items. The Plan has itemised each proposal within the revised list and assessed them





and their effects on the site:

a) From the perspective of any statutory legislation

b) From a biodiversity and a heritage perspective

c) From a local impact perspective – considering aesthetics, current land-use and community involvement

d) From a health and safety perspective

e) From a financial perspective, where appropriate allocating an indicative cost or income and identifying potential funding sources if required

f) In context with other proposals

g) From a time/priority context

6) The Plan provides an overall framework for approaching the future management and protection of the mines. It does not include the preparation of any specialist documentation (such as Health and Safety plan, full costed proposals for future works, designs or applications for funding).

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1.4 Site Location 1.4.1 The Cwmystwyth Mines lie on the eastern side of Ceredigion within the Ystwyth valley (site centred on SN 8039 7500; Figures 1 and 2).

1.4.2 The area owned by CMT covers almost 139ha mostly on the northern side of the River Ystwyth, and a parcel of land to the south covering the major part of the South Cwmystwyth Mines. The Trust also have mineral and sporting rights in this area (Pink area on Figure 2). An additional area of 1.19ha lies to the southeast (again south of the river and covering the remaining part of the South Cwmystwyth Mines) where the Trust own mineral and sporting rights, but not land ownership (Blue area on Figure 2).

1.5 Pollution at the Cwmystwyth Mines 1.5.1 The Cwmystwyth Mines site is known to be a major source of pollution into the River Ystwyth. Pollution from the Pugh’s and Kingside adits are recognised as the two main sources of pollution on the site. The Cwmystwyth Mines were considered within the Metal Mines Strategy for Wales document (Environment Agency Wales 2002) as a site area where treatment of pollution would be very difficult due to restrictions on available areas of land and other factors, including archaeology. Natural Resources Wales (NRW, formerly Environment Agency Wales) are presently relooking at this, and a number of other sites, for the feasibility of implementing water treatment schemes. The Cambrian Mines Trust

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Reproduced from the Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 scale Landranger Map with the permission of The Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, © Crown Copyright Dyfed Archaeological Trust Ltd., The Shire Hall, Carmarthen Street, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire SA19 6AF. Licence No 100020930

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2 ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SUMMARY

2.1 Introduction

2.1 The aim of this report is not to rewrite the history of the Cwmystwyth Mines, but a short summary is included to place the site within its archaeological and historical context. The following background to the Cwmystwyth Mines site is reproduced from the previous Conservation Plan prepared for the site by Dr Simon Timberlake, with full permission from the author (Timberlake 2012).

2.2 Historical importance 2.2.1 The history of lead mining here has been fairly well documented by Simon Hughes in his British Mining Series No.17 monograph The Cwmystwyth Mines, first published in 1981 but revised in several editions since.

2.2.2 In terms of ore output, more than 30 different mineral veins have been worked here, the two principal ones being the Kingside and Comet Lodes (including their various branches), the third most important being Michell’s. Lead occurred in all the veins (as galena - lead sulphide), and this was the principal ore extracted, at least until 1884 when it was superseded by the production of zinc (or blende – zinc sulphide). Small amounts of copper ore (chalcopyrite) have been extracted at various times (particularly from the eastern end of the Comet Lode (‘Belshazzar’ or Copper Lode) on Copa Hill), although no production of this mineral has been recorded since 1800. Compared to the mines to the north of the Rheidol, the lead ore from Cwmystwyth appears to have been silver-poor, although some 33,509 ozs of silver metal were nevertheless recorded as having been obtained between 1848 and 1916 (this suggests an average content of 3.3 ozs silver per ton of lead ore). The total recorded output for lead since 1848 is only 32,913 tons, and for zinc ore 19,913 tons, thus it would appear that the mine was already exhausted by this time. However, the large area of shallow workings, including those on Copa Hill and the rich ore ‘pipe’ worked as an opencast on the Graig Fawr, at the junction of the Kingside and Comet Lodes, attests to the large volume of lead ore removed prior to the 19th century and the advent of deep mining (some estimates of this are as much as 200,000 tons (Hughes 1981)).

2.3 Archaeological importance 2.3.1 Archaeological excavations carried out on Copa Hill between 1986-2002 have provided us with evidence of some of the earliest metal mining in Britain.

Located at 426m AOD, a small opencast trench (c.10m + deep) mined during the Early Bronze Age using stone and antler tools in conjunction with firesetting, exploited the exposed outcrop of the Comet Lode, most probably for the extraction of copper (but perhaps also for lead) periodically over a period of (up to) several hundred years between c. 2000-1600 Cal BC (Timberlake 2003 & 2009). This site on the Comet Lode Opencast (SN 8116 7523) appears to be the only known location for prehistoric mining within the vicinity, and no further evidence of metallurgical activity (smelting) or settlement has yet been found. It seems that it was only the weathered top of the lode that was exploited; rather than the chalcopyrite in the quartz-ankerite veins, it was the oxidized minerals (such as malachite) that were separated and extracted. This site is extremely important archaeologically on account of the lack of later disturbance and mining, and the size of the undertaking compared the other eight Bronze Age mines so far identified in mid-Wales (Timberlake 2009). Almost certainly this is the best preserved Bronze Age mine in Britain in terms of its archaeological remains, and with 20 years of excavation and post-excavation work undertaken, this is

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probably the best studied. During the course of these excavations a system of hollowed-out wooden drainage launders, fragments of basket and rope, 4000year old wooden mine stemples, plus mining tools including red deer antler picks and hammer stones and the withy handles for these were found (Timberlake 2003). Meanwhile palaeo-environmental work carried out on the peat of the blanket bog above the site has provided a contemporary record of minor copper pollution around the mine (Mighall et al. 2000). There is also evidence for Medieval as well as 17th-century/ 18th-century prospection (shafts) dug through the infilled/backfilled prehistoric opencast, as well as a Late Medieval/ early Postmedieval hushing dam at its front. A 12th-13th-century AD radiocarbon date has also been obtained from the basal post-abandonment infill of an ancient leat, the former course of which runs along the contour from the headwaters of the Nant yr Onnen to empty into a sluice channel above the prehistoric opencast. The dating of this peat fill suggests either an Early Medieval or earlier Roman date for its use. Recent archaeological work on Copa Hill has focused on the excavation of the disputed lead stamping mill. This was excavated between 2005 and 2007 in order to determine whether this was the site of William Waller’s 17 th-century water-powered stamps, or that of Sir Thomas Bonsall’s (1780s). The excavations revealed a process of wet stamping, gravity separation and buddling indicating that the extant remains dated from the end of the 18 th century, though finds of 17th-century pottery indicated some earlier activity (Timberlake 2007).

2.3.2 At the base of Copa Hill traces of ancient lead smelting were identified at Banc Tynddol just above the valley road. Archaeological excavation carried out in 2002 revealed evidence for Roman (1st-2nd-century AD) lead smelting as well as Early Medieval lead smelting bole hearths of the 8th-12th-centuries AD (the last phase possibly associated with mining carried out as part of the interest of the monks of Strata Florida Abbey) (Timberlake 2002a). Beneath one of these hearths what appeared to be an empty grave cut was found, from the upper fill of which came a single 39mm diameter beaten gold foil disc which probably dates this feature to the period 2600-1700 BC, and likely the earlier part given the Early Beaker cultural attribution of this gold item (Timberlake 2002b & 2004).

The discovery of this disc and grave near to the foot of the Comet Lode, and to the Early Bronze Age mine at its top, whilst possibly coincidental, might also be significant as a link between Beaker metal interests and these early copper mines, as has also been found at Ross Island in southwest Ireland.



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