BBYAC April and May session – Calch

In April and May BBYAC had its first two part session exploring the fabulous work and project currently being undertaken by Dyfed Archaeological Trust, the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and other partners, as part of the Calch Project, exploring the lime heritage of Mynydd Du, in the west of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The first part of the session in April saw us indoors learning all about the  hidden secrets and history of Mynydd Du. We all know the importance of coal mining to Wales’ past, but in these sessions we learnt all about a lesser known but just as important part of our history, the history of Lime. We discovered how Mynydd Du was once a bustling centre of activity, alive with the hammering of chisels, the blasting of rock and aglow with the burning of limekilns, unearthing the story of lime and the people who worked  (and some who died) here along the way, and how they shaped our landscape.



Here we are venturing outdoors exploring the nearby Watton Limekilns to help us understand the story of lime.

By the end of session we were be prepared for Part Two of our exploration of this
fantastic site in our May session, when BBYAC went on our first ever field trip
to see the site for ourselves.

The site is almost right on the top of the mountain, and despite some lovely weather in the week before and the week after, lots of rain was forecast for the day of our session.  However, archaeologists are a hardy bunch, and this was our first field trip, so we were not going to be put off by a bit of rain.  So, we donned our waterproofs and got on the minibus.  After an hours journey of excitement and anticipation we arrived at the site to some very rainy and windy weather!  With horizontal driving rain we managed a quick 10 minutes to look at some of the remains of the kilns on the site, but unfortunately had to abandon our site visit for the warmth and dry of Llanddeusant Youth Hostel, where we warmed up with a drink and a biscuit and turned our intentions to some calch inspired crafting activities instead.

This was not the session or activities we had planned but everyone had a great time, a real adventure and learned a valuable lesson…sometimes the weather is too bad even for archaeologists!

We didn’t take any photos on the the mountain – the weather was just too bad…so here are some pictures of what it is like on a good weather day, courtesy of Dyfed Archaeological Trust.





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