On Saturday September 13th September Brecon Beacons Young Archaeologists’ Club went on a dig!
We met up at Llangynidr Village Hall and looked at some maps of the site we were going to visit. We were going to Cyffreddin Mill which operated as a corn mill from at least 1587 up until about 1880. The mill can be seen on a very rare and early map which was drawn up in 1587 so we know that the site is over 400 years old. We also had a look at the only old photo of the site which was taken in about 1890.
Then it was on with the high vis jackets and off along the tow path of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal en route to the mill. Along the way we looked at some of the features of the canal (careful not to fall in!) before going down a narrow lane to the dig site. When we arrived everything was ready for us thanks to Paul and after a good look around the site we split up into two groups to get down to digging.
Group One was in the area just outside the front wall of the mill building. This would have been a garden or yard area. Group two got to work in an area further away from the mill itself but in a very interesting area where the miller’s house was located. Everyone had a trowel, gloves, a bucket, a small shovel and something to kneel on. There were finds trays with both groups and these soon filled up. The groups swopped places half way through so everyone got to try out the two areas. It was great that everyone worked so carefully and wanted to excavate properly. Well done.
What did we find? Wall plaster and mortar, pottery, slate, and we turned up a very early clay pipe bowl used for smoking tobacco. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the dig. We were very lucky with the weather. It was a really nice day.
But too soon it was time to leave the site, so we walked back along Cyffreddin Lane stopping to look at a place where there used to be a row of cottages. You can just see the window sills and blocked up doorways if you look carefully. Back across the fields to the village hall and thanks again to Paul we didn’t have to carry any equipment back!