From Monday 18th July for 2 weeks, this is the page to look at if you want to keep up-to-date with news from the Middleton dig at the National Botanic Garden of Wales? Will we find the remains of an Elizabethan garden and manor house? Read on.

18th July/Gorffennaf

Well that’s the end of day one. We started off gently, bringing all of the volunteers and staff up to speed with a short lecture from Professor David Austin of Trinity St David University, and from Site Supervisor Jon Dollery about the research that has led to this work. Followed by an introduction from Sheila Smith; a library volunteer at the Botanic Garden, to the family history of the Middleton’s of Middleton Hall. Given the rain we took lunch indoors rather than in the field and started de-turfing both trenches in the early afternoon. Our initial observations suggest that we have some exciting archaeology to find inside the trenches, with some interesting pieces of pottery coming up, and stone spreads to investigate. We’ll Keep you all updated on our progress through these pages, and if you follow the Botanic Garden on Twitter or Facebook, keep your eyes peeled for up to the minute info about what we’re finding. If you can make it to the Gardens then please visit us up in the Waun Las Nature Reserve. See you soon!

Dyna’r diwedd i’r dydd cyntaf. Dechreuon yn araf bach drwy clywed am y gwaith archwilio hanesyddol ac archaelegol sydd wedi arwain at y gwaith yma. Dilynodd Sheila Smith, gwirfoddolwr yn Llyfyrgell y Gerddi, yn esbonio fwy am hanes y Teulu Middleton o Neuadd Middleton. Gyda’r glaw yn cadw pigo, aethon ni am ginio tu fewn i cadw’n sych am y prynhawn. Agorwyd y ffosau yn gynnar yn y prynhawn, ac mae’n disgwyl fel bydd archaeoleg diddorol y ddilyn yn fuan, gyda darnau crochenwaith diddorol a lledydd o gerrig i ymchwilio. Dilynwch ein gwaith drwy darllen y tudalennau yma, neu, os ydych yn dilyn y gerddi ar Twitter a Facebook, byddwn yn dodi ein newyddion mor gynt a gallwn. Yn gwell eto, dewch i weld y gwaith lan yn Gwarchodfa Natur Waun Las. Hwyl am nawr!

19th July/Gorffennaf

The weather has been much kinder today with only the occasional shower to dampen our spirits. We’ve started the work in earnest in both trenches now. In Trench 1 after de-turfing yesterday and finding a rubble spread mere centimetres below the surface, it was clear we were bang on track for potentially finding the remains of the original Middleton Hall. Today saw us planning the trench and beginning the process of removing the rubble and fill layers in order to discover whether the foundations to the hall are within reach. Finds today included iron nails, pottery, brick and glass, as well as masonry stones with lime mortar still attached! The team are already itching to extend the trench so that more can be found!

Meanwhile in Trench 2, as we are still in the top-soil layer, we started removing the context in thin strips, and although we haven’t quite bottomed the context yet, the number and range of finds are interesting and hint at activity on site during the period’s we are investigating. Who knows what tomorrow will bring!

Gyda’r tywydd yn fwy caredig heddiw wnaethon dechrau’r palu yn wir yn y bore. Yn Ffos 1, ar ol darganfod cerrig yn syth ar ol tynnu’r gwair i fynnu. Mae’n glir fod y tebygrwydd o darganfod y Neuadd Middleton cyntaf, yn cryf iawn. Heddiw wnaethon cynllinio’r ffos a dechrau’r broses o tynnu’r cerrig a’r llanw i ffwrdd, i darganfod os yw’r sylfeini’r Neuadd yn agos. Darganfodo’n ni hoelion haearn, crochenwaith, briciau a gwydr, a meini gyda morter dal arno! Rydym yn cyffroes iawn i ehangu’r ffos yn barod.

Yn ffos 2, nid ydym wedi torri trwy’r gwaelod or haen cyntaf eto, fellu tynno’n yr haen i ffwrd mewn stripiau tenau. Er i ni beidio gorffen yr haen eto, darganfodo’n digon a amrywiaeth o pethau, ac mae’n cyfeirio at actifeddiaeth yn ystod yr amser rydym yn gobeithio ffeindio tystiolaethau yma. Bydd yfori’n brysyr iawn!

20th July/Gorffennaf

One of the project aims is to set what we discover into the wider landscape, as such during our breaks we have been looking at what we can see in neighbouring fields. Today one of our team spotted a half buried stone at the edge of a boggy farm track, which had some intricate carving on it. We decided to lift it to see if it could have been from the original Middleton Hall. It turned out to be a part of a column top from the portico from the later Middleton Hall that burned down in the 1930’s, but it is a spectacular piece, that adds to the garden’s heritage, come on down to have a close up look!

The work in Trench 1 today included taking the rest of the dump and fill layers out in preparation for the removal of the rubble deposits. Finds today have included nails, pottery, lead, brick, charcoal and coal; much the same as yesterday, but in higher concentrations. The rubble deposits are very probably hiding our anticipated walls, which is why we were a very excited team in Trench 1 today and impatient to begin stripping the rubble back! Friday is going to be a very interesting day!

In trench 2 today, our clean up yesterday, uncovered a spread of compacted gravel and stones running along the North-South axis. We suspect this could be the remains of a garden path or a revetment. The plan is to start investigating the edges and determine its relationship with the soils to the East and West of it. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a clear stratigraphy but the slope of the hillside may complicate matters. It is very exciting that we may have the first garden feature of this dig and hopefully be able to start to answer some of our questions.

Un o amcanau’r prosiect yw i cyfleu ein canlyniadau mewn cyd-destun a’r ardal. Wnaeth un o’n tim cael cip olwg ar carreg gyda gwaith cerfiad arno, wedi ail-ddefnyddio gan rhywun i greu trac. Dewiso’n ni codi’r carreg i darganfod os oedd wedi dod o’r hen Neuadd ond, yn y diwedd mae’n i debyg fod yn darn o’r Neuadd a llosgodd i lawr yn y 1930au. Er gwaethaf hyn mae’r carreg yn un gwych ac mae’n ehangu ar hanes y Gerddi. Ddewch i lawr i’w weld eich hun.

Heddiw yn Ffos 1 cadwo’n ni i cymryd yr haeni llanw i ffwrdd i paratoi i tynnu’r haeni cerrig lan. Darganfodo’n ni’r un fath o ffeindiau a ddaeth lan ddoe, ond yn fwy niferus. Mae’n debygol fod yr haeni cerrig yma yn cwato’r walydd wnaeth dangos lan yn y gwaith geoffiseg, fellu’r mae’r tim i gyd yn gynhyrfus iawn.

Yn Ffos 2, ar ol y glanhau wnaetho’n ni, gwelon ni haen o cerrig bach wedi ei malu gyda’i gilydd, yn rhedeg lled y ffos o’r Dde i’r Gogledd. Rydym yn credu fe all yr haen yma gynrychioli olion hen llwybr o’r ardd neu nodwedd i creu tera. Rydym yn bwrhau edrych ar yr ochrau a darganfod sut mae’n perthun i’r haeni ogwympas. Rydym yn gobeithio bydd y perthnasau’n glir ond mae’n debyg fydd tyle’r bryn yn achosu trafferthion. Mae’n amser cyffroes iawn, mae’n bosib fod gennym un o nodweddion yr ardd, a fydd yn bosib i ddechrau ateb rhai o’n cwestiynnau.

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22nd July/Gorffennaf

Today has been very busy with all trenches full of activity, new features coming up and the addition of a whole new trench, Trench 3 to investigate the edges of what could be a water feature in the gardens! In Trench 1 progress was made in removing the stone spread on the West side of the trench which revealed an interesting area of burning. In Trench 2 we have found a shallow pit and possibly another gravel spread on a East to West axis, at a right angle to the first spread, suggesting that our interpretation of it as a path may prove correct. Looks like Trench 3 has a lot of catching up to do!

Mae heddiw wedi bod yn un brysyr, gyda ffos ychwanegol wedi’i ddechrau, haeni newydd a nodweddion dros y lle i gyd. Bydd Ffos 3 yn disgwyl arno beth rydym yn credo iw nodwedd dwr fel camlas byr. Yn Ffos 1 rydym wedi ddechrau cymryd yr haen cerrig i ffwrdd i’r Orllewin ac mae wedi ddangos adran o llosgi. Yn Ffos 2 ffeindion ni pit bas a haen o gerrig arall, y tro yma yn rhedeg o’r Dwyrain i’r Gorllewin, ac rydym yn credo fod hyn yn meddwl fod ein meddwl amdano fel olion llwybrau yn un cywir. Mae’n disgwyl fell bydd Ffos 3 yn gweithio’n galed i ddal lan!

23rd July/Gorffennaf

As visitor numbers we’re up today, we focused our activities around them and gave several guided tours to members of the public who were visiting the Botanic Garden. In T1 we continued to remove some of the stone spread to clarify their purpose and origin, while in T2 and T3 we spent the day recording the trench and any features that were visible. Work will start in earnest again on Monday, let’s hope the weather remains kind!

Gan oedd genym fwy o ymwelwyr heddiw, wnaethon ganolbwyntio i ddangos nhw ogwympas y Ffosau. Yn Ffos 1 cadwo’n ni i cymryd yr haeni cerrig i ffwrdd i ateb o ble mae’n nhw’n ddod, a beth yw ei bwrpas. Yn Ffosydd 2 a 3 gwnaethon gawrio’r dydd yn recordio’r ffosau a unrhyw nodweddau ynddynt. Bydd y gwaith caled yn cario ymlaen ar bore dydd Llun, dere gobeithio bydd y tywydd yn braf.

25th July/Gorffennaf

Well the glorious weather we had for most of the day has brought out the best in the archaeology. Trench 1 has started giving answers about what all the rubble and mortar we’ve been finding are from but we’ve had to extend the trench by metre to give us a fuller answer. In Trench 2 we investigated the series of darker stains we identified that ran through the middle of the garden path, and we think they may be the line of an old fence, also the pit feature turned out to be more linear in shape! In Trench 3 we continued to clean down to expose any features, and we feel we may have identified the edge of the canal garden, which has some interesting clues in it’s upper fill layer. As we near the end of the dig, will we have time to get to the bottom of our many questions? Keep reading to find out.

Mae’r tywydd braf wedi dod mas a’r gorau yn yr archaeoleg heddiw. Yn Ffos 1, mae’r gwaith tynni haeni cerrig i ffwrdd yn dechrau creu atebion, ond rydym wedi gorfod ehangu’r ffos i cael ateb llawn! Yn Ffos 2 wnaethon disgwyl ar nodweddau tywyll a roedd yn rhedeg ar hyd y llwybr yng nghanol y ffos. Mae’n debyg fod nhw’n dangos llinell o hen ffens (nid mor hen ar llwybr!), hefyd mae’r pit bas wedi dangos ei hun i fod yn siap fwy hirgrwn na grwn. Yn Ffos 3 rydym wedi glanhau lawr i ddangos ochrau’r nodwedd gardd ddwr, a mae’n disgwyl fel bod rhai atebion yn ddangos yn y llanwau uchod y nowedd yma! Wrth i ni agosau at y diwrnod olaf, bydd genym digon o amser i ateb yr holl cwestiynnau? Cadwch ddarllen i ffeindio mas!

26th July/Gorffennaf

Today we welcomed Dr John H. Davies, a geologist friend of ours, onto the site. He very kindly agreed to have a look at the variety of rocks and stones we have been retrieving from our trenches, to see if they are being imported or quarried locally and suggest common usage of the materials. It turns out that the majority of the stone and rubble we have been finding is very local, some possibly quarried from on the estate itself! His visit was very helpful and confirmed some of our previous assumptions and allowed us to discard some of the other possibilities we considered. In Trench 1 we have brought the trench extension down onto the same level as the rest of the trench, and this will hopefully give us clear answers in the morning. In Trench 2 we began investigating the layers either side of the gravel path, which could prove to be quite a depth. While in Trench 3 we may have found the edge of the canal garden, with an interesting feature on the western lip of it! The archaeology of this site gets more interesting every day.

Fe ddaeth Dr John H. Davies, geolegydd sy’n ffrind i’r prosiect, i gweld sut mae’r gwaith yn mynd. Gan fod e’n wybodol iawn am geoleg yr ardal roedd yn gallu rhoi atebion i ein cwestiynnau, fel ydy’r cerrig yn lleol neu yn ddod o belach i ffwrdd, a beth all pobol creu gyda nhw. Mae’n debyg fod rhan fwyaf o’r cerrig mor lleol, fod nhw’n cael ei chwareli o tu fewn i’r Ystad Middleton. Roedd gwybodaeth John yn defnyddiol iawn i ni ac rydym yn diolchgar iawn am ei cymorth. Yn Ffos 1 mae’r ehangiad nawr, i lawr i’r un sefyllfa a gweddill y ffos, a ddyle rhoi atebion glir yn y bore i ni. Yn Ffos 2 rydym wedi bod yn edrych ar yr haeni ar ochrau’r llwybr ac yn Ffos 3 ni’n credu fod ni wedi darganfod ochrau’r nodwedd ddwr, ac mae’n disgwyl fel bod nodwedd arall ar yr ochor gorllewninol. Mae’r gwaith archaeoleg yma droi’n fwy diddorol pob dydd.

27th July/Gorffennaf

With only 2 full days of excavation left before our open day, we spent today ensuring that we’re only starting work we’re certain we will finish in time. In Trench 1 that involves investigating the clayey material spread across the middle of the trench. In Trench 2 we’re digging a slot across the gravel path and the contexts either side while in Trench 3 we’re cutting a section across the lip of the feature and its fill. By doing all of this we hope to be able to gain a much fuller picture of the site’s development. We are having an open day for visitors on Saturday the 30th, when we will be giving guided tours to visitors through the day. See you there.

Gyda dim ond 2 diwrnod ar ol i cloddio yn ein ffosau, cyn y diwrnod agored, rydym wedi body n sicrhau fod ni’n gallu gorffen y gwaith ni’n ddechrau nawr. Yn Ffos 1 bu ni’n disgwyl at yr haen clai yng nghanol y ffos. Yn Ffos 2 rydym yn cloddio ar draws y llwybr a’r heani ar bwys, ac yn Ffos 3 byddwn yn  cloddio ar draws ochor y nodwedd dwr a’r llanw tu fewn iddo. Trwy gwneud y gwaith yma fe gwen ni fwy o dealltwriaeth o hanes y safle yma. Bydd y dydd agored ar dydd Sadwrn y 30fed, bleb u ni yn dangos ymwelwyr ogwympas trwy gydol y dydd. Gwelwn ni chi ‘na.

31st July/Gorffennaf

Well, our 2 weeks are up and we have had a successful season out of it. We set out initially to discover the nature of, and the extent of the archaeology on the site. From the 1st day we could answer one of those questions, with rubble layers obvious in Trench 1, but was quickly supported by a garden path and bedding feature in Trench 2 and later on, in Trench 3 a clay bank with a gravel path over the top. But like all archaeological sites the best was saved till last, as in the last couple of days, in Trench 1, we discovered an area of cobbling underneath the rubble, with 2 possible post settings in them.

The whole process has been very exciting, and volunteers and visitors have hopefully had an opportunity to learn some new skills and a little more about Middleton Hall’s past. The next step for the project is to write up our findings and decide whether or not there is a need to undertake further work on the site. Thankyou for reading this blog and checking out the video’s, we hope that they have helped explain a little more about the archaeological process. Bye!

Dyna’r diwedd i ein 2 wythnos, ac rydym wedi cael amser ardderchog. Ein bwriadau i ddechrau oedd i darganfod beth oedd natur yr olion roedd ar ol. O’r diwrnod cyntaf caethon ni ateb i 1 o’r cwestiynnau gan darganfodon ni haeni gwaith cerrig yn Ffos 1, ac wedyn yn Ffos 2, wnaeth y nodwedd plannu a’r llwybr cerrig bach, ychwanegi at ein adnodd. Yn hwyrach yn y prosiect, wnaeth Ffos 3 helpu’n fwy trwy dangos twyn gyda llwybr cerrig bach ar ei ben. Ond fel pob prosiect archaeoleg, mae’r gorau’n dod yn olaf, ac yn Ffos 1 ffeindio’n ni llawr o coblau gyda 2 twll i ddal postyn i lan ynddo.

Mae’r prosiect wedi bod yn un diddorol, ac rydym yn gobeithio fod gwirfoddolydd ac ymwelwyr wedi cael cyfle i darganfod sgiliau newydd a hefyd fwy o hanes Neuadd Middleton. Cam nesa ni bydd i ysgrifennu ein darganfodau i lawr a dewis a oes diddordeb a’r achos I gwneud fwy o gwaith yma. Hoffwn ddweud diolch I bawb am ddarllen y blog yma a gwylio’r fideo’s, gobeithio fod nhw wedi esbonio bach yn fwy am y brosess archaeolegaeth. Hwyl fawr!

by/gan Edward Davies, Rhian Williams, Jon Dollery