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Thursday, 13 February 2014

Bronze Age Footprints on Gower?

This piece appeared the other day on the BBC web site.  Interesting. Not sure what the evidence is for referring to these footprints as Bronze Age -- most of those found on the Gwent Levels have been dated to the Mesolithic.  Let's see what stratigraphic evidence appears....... watch this space.

9 February 2014

Bronze Age footprints found on Port Eynon, Gower, beach

Prehistoric footprints have been discovered on Gower after storms revealed an ancient mud bank.

The five likely Bronze Age footprints were found at Port Eynon beach by Dr Edith Evans, of the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust, during a walk.

She said: "They are not the clearest of things but I recognised them straightaway."

Other recent beach storm finds include two cannon in Porthcawl and 10,000-year-old tree remains in Pembrokeshire.

The trust has been monitoring the coast since 2009 after whole tree trunks started to appear in the peat bed which is being eroded by the sea.

Sand which covered the sea bed as a result of erosion was swept away by the storms to uncover the footprints for the first time since they were laid.

The footprints have not been radiocarbon dated but are estimated to be from between 2,300 BC and 700 BC.

Dr Evans said: "There are five prints, probably made by more than one person as they are of two slightly different lengths, and as two of them point towards the sea and the other three point inland.

"The peat has now become so firm that it is impossible to make an impression on it, but when it was first laid down it would have consisted of a soft mass of vegetation.

"When the footprints were made, they would have filled up with a deposit of different composition. We assume that the rough seas have washed out this deposit to leave the footprints exposed.

"They were not very clear, one reason being that they were partly covered with sand."

The trust said since 2007 its volunteers have found cattle and pony hoof prints in a peat bed on Kenfig Sands near Sker Point, Bridgend,

Last month, two Georgian-era cannon were found at Pink Bay, Porthcawl, by two dog walkers.

It took a team of around 17 lifeboat crew members, coastguards and local lifeguards to move one of the cannon from the beach.

Also in January, the remains of 10,000-year-old trees were exposed at Newgale, Pembrokeshire.

At the end of the month a ship's wheel which may date back to the 19th Century was uncovered in Swansea Bay.

A member of a heritage group found the wheel while exploring sands near Mumbles.


ND Wiseman said...

Hi Brian,
I thought these were the footprints said to be 800,000 years old - not Bronze Age?


BRIAN JOHN said...


The very ancient ones -- which seem to be pretty reliably dated -- are the ones at Happisburgh on the Norfolk Coast. See the earlier post on this...

These ones are clearly much younger.

TonyH said...

So Dame Edith Evans reckons these "rather unclear" footprints are Bronze Age hominids? Nah, most likely more evidence of our old friend, Bigfoot, and the first so far in Western Europe - possibly first tamed, and then used as Parker Pearson/ Wainwright
Megalith - carriers. Why not? Reconstructed, these boyos would look good in the new multi-million Visitor Centre. You know it makes [money-making] sense - roll with it, English Heritage [and its Welsh equivalent].

Dave Maynard said...

Do I detect hint of scepticism?

I'm back to Wales next week, looking forwarding to walking Traeth Mawr.

BRIAN JOHN said...

No -- if there are no consolidated sediments on top of these footprints, they could well be Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age or Iron Age ---- but it would be good to see some evidence...

TonyH said...

Griff Rhys Jones (well known in Pembrokeshire) recently did an ITV walks programme in Mid Wales which included Cardiganshire's Borth beach and Aberdovey estuary. He mentioned the earlier, 2012, finding, of human and animal fossilised footprints [perhaps Bronze AGE, to be confirmed] on Borth beach, including ones of a young child, including toe prints.

Dave Maynard said...

I didn't know about footprints from Borth. There are prints from Lydstep near Tenby, see the Dyfed archaeological Trust site for details.
About 20 years ago I saw tree stumps in the peat between Tywyn and Aberdovey.
In parts of this there were little peat diggings surrounded by small drainage ditches, I guess they wanted to stop the water running in while they dug the pit, which was abandoned as the tide came back in. The suggestion was these were medieval, but could be any period.
The latest things crossing the peat were sets of caterpillar prints with a very distinctive pattern. I think they were the result of WW2 tracked landing craft which had a scalloped track pad to help them propel through the water and part of the American D-Day preparations in this part of Cardigan Bay.
I wonder if they are still there? I've never been back as it is a bit remote from Pembrokeshire

TonyH said...

The Borth footprints: 2012 find are detailed on the BBC's website. Very easy to track down via your Search Engine, but, sorry, I neglected to state that full reference in my last comment, when I had just been looking at it.

I've not been back to that area since our last family visit in the late '80's. That prehistoric coastal landscape has since appeared on at least one of the BBC's archaeological programmes in some detail, not that long ago, perhaps fronted by Neil Oliver.

Anonymous said...


TonyH said...

The end of this NERC "Planet Earth" article, quoting heavily from Richard Bevins, is worth a look and perhaps full-scale quotes in a separate Post.

Thanks, Pete.

Harriet Jarlett interviews Bevins and he says H. Thomas, back in the 1920's, assigned the provenance/derivation of the Stonehenge spotted dolerite megaliths to Carn Meini, but, when invited members of the public recently saw prepared images of the spotted dolerite from each location, they mostly concluded that the rocks' appearances did NOT match.

I wasn't aware Richard Bevins had been so forthright in the earlier press releases about his recent findings as to the exact provenances of the spotted dolerite.

He also expresses extreme doubts that humans would have troubled to drag the megaliths over the extra hilly terrain to enable it possible for them to eventually reach Stonehenge either by land or partly by sea.

He seems to be more favourably disposed to the glaciation possibility than I have ever seen before, in print.

This is a blow for MPP, who is, in effect, sponsored by the glossy National Geographic magazine's parent company, with which goes, of course, the necessary tales of daring-do, long distance travel, and 'moonshine'. as MPP himself might say........."Oh Dear".

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Pete and Tony

Yes indeed -- quite a turn-up for the book. This is the way I would expect a geologist to talk..... will do a post...

TonyH said...

Metaphorically speaking, it appears that the old Hymn, "Tell Me The Old, Old Story" is at last losing its popularity!!

chris johnson said...

Always risky to attribute views to people second or third hand. I understand the article to cite Bevins in a more nuanced way than Tony states, assuming he is accurately reported.

It seems unlikely to me that Bevins would have said that there are two schools of thought: rafts up the Bristol Channel and glaciers. My understanding is that most authorities currently favour overland transport roughly along the line of the A40 which Ms Jarlett does not mention and Bevins is aware of.

TonyH said...

If Brian does decide to do a Post on this topic in the N.E.R.C.publication, then we'll all be able decide exactly what Richard Bevins has intended to convey to Harriet Jarlett when she interviewed him.