The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust
Historic Environment Record
 

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EXCAVATION AT RHOSSILI SAND DUNES IN 1980

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : E000659
Trust : Glamorgan Gwent
Unitary authority : Swansea
Event Type : Excavation
NGR : SS41508830

Summary
Excavation of a building and a church by GGAT at Rhossili, West Glamorgan in order to limit the amount of archaeology lost to erosion. The layout of the church was confirmed and the other building was established.

Description
Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust conducted an excavation of a medieval settlement at Rhossili, West Glamorgan in response to damage caused by erosion. The excavation consisted of two buildings, one was completely excavated and the other, the church, was partially examined. Archaeological and documentary evidence implies that the two buildings date to early 12th century A.D. and that the church remained in use until the mid 1500s. Due to a river relining itself through the settlement the topography of the site had been altered. The river had removed about two-thirds of the floor and the complete northwest corner of the first building. Whereas the site of the church had been damaged by human and animal activities.
The earliest archaeological deposit found at the first building was a thin layer of brownish-black clayey sand that contained charcoal, shells and small stones. This deposit lay directly over reddish boulder clay subsoil. Another feature that was believed to pre-date the main feature was a possible wall, of which only 1.5m could be examined.
The main feature was the building with two associated midden deposits. The level at which the walls stood varied depending on how well they had survived from the erosion. The 0.8m thick walls of the building were made from local stone blocks and boulders with limestone and sandstone conglomerates. The bonding material was reddish clay. The floor was a layer of compact sand and reddish clay containing a few small pebbles and a few large flat stones that had been set into the surface and covered by a thin layer of a black organic deposit. Two entrances were discovered along the south wall, the first close to the southeast corner, the second which had previously been blocked up, to the west. There were an additional two walls within the structure, both of which were orientated east west and had been damaged. One of the middens was located southeast of the east entrance and the other was placed northeast of the missing northwest corner.
The excavation of the church confirmed the theory of the layout that was based on the documentary evidence and what could be seen protruding prior to excavation. Initially the trench was only 3m wide and covered the area that would have been affected by the proposed path. The trial section went down to the church floor and revealed it to be a reddish-brown clay, which had been cut in a number of places. The walls that were uncovered had survived in good condition and were revealed to have been constructed from local dressed stone bonded with lime mortar and plastered internally and externally with whitish yellow lime plaster. Two parts of the wall had been painted and a consecration cross had been cut into one part. Three windows were identified in the south wall, two in the nave and one in the chancel.
During the clearance of the sand a child's skeleton had been recovered from the remains. The pit the body had been laid in had been cut from near the ground surface and was sealed by only the vegetation.

Sources :
Davidson, A., Davidson, J., Owen-John, H. and Toft, L. , 1987 , Excavations at the Sand Covered Medieval Settlement at Rhossili, West Glamorgan. , The Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies. : 34 : 244-269

Core Records :
01862w : RHOSSILI OLD VILLAGE
00150w : SITE OF CHURCH ASSOCIATED WITH DMV 01862W (RHOSSILI BURROWS)

Related PRNs :

Compiled date : 25-05-2004


December 18, 2018, 1:52 pm - HTML file produced from GGAT HER Charitable Trust Ltd. Heathfield House, Heathfield, Swansea SA1 Tel. 01792 655208; Fax 01792 474469 website: www.ggat.org.uk  email: her@ggat.org.uk Registered Charity no. 505609
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