The Route to Timeline

With the launch of CA’s latest monograph (no. 13), Timeline, we now look back on the making of the project. Work began back in 2005 when CA’s consultancy team prepared Heritage Surveys summarising the known archaeological background to the site, as well as undertaking a walkover survey of every field along the 317km long route, during which several members of staff discovered that they could outrun bulls.

Richard Young, a member of the walkover survey team, reaches the Brecon Beacons
Richard Young, a member of the walkover survey team, reaches the Brecon Beacons

Following geophysical surveys and evaluation trenching, along with a series of re-routes around significant remains, excavations targeted known archaeological sites during construction works in 2006–7. An additional team undertook a watching brief during machining along the route of the pipeline, working seven days a week from early in the morning until the evening light faded, often facing the inclement weather familiar to anyone who has walked the Welsh uplands.

Challenging upland machining on Mynydd Myddfai
Challenging upland machining on Mynydd Myddfai

Timeline details the findings of these works, which include rewarding discoveries made by the excavation and watching brief teams supplied by Cotswold Archaeology and Cambrian Archaeology, backed by CA’s management and support staff back in the office. After the discoveries had been made, it was time for our post-excavation team to step up; their roles including cleaning the finds, processing the vast number of environmental samples taken during the fieldwork, and then to analyse, interpret and publish the results, before depositing the huge archive with the various museums which collect material from the area covered by the route of the pipeline. The long period of time between the discoveries being made in the field and the publication of the Timeline volume reflects the complex effort required to process the immense quantity of new archaeological knowledge unveiled during such a large-scale investigation. During this elapsed time, several members of the team who joined the project early in their careers have progressed to lead and manage their own teams, no doubt grounded in the experience they gained during this challenging but immensely rewarding project.

Jon Hart

Recording a roundhouse beneath Pen-y-Crug hillfort
Recording a roundhouse beneath Pen-y-Crug hillfort
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