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Saturday, 27 August 2016

Rhosyfelin -- good news from the rock face

 Let's see how the stratigraphy described in the new paper matches with this simplified scheme, worked out by Dyfed Elis-Gruffydd, John Downes and myself.  We expect a much more complex identification of layers, almost entirely within the strata labelled 4 and 5 above.  That's something we applaud.  The task is rendered difficult by the fact that many of these layers with occupation traces are discontinuous.

We hear on the grapevine that another paper on Rhosyfelin is on the way -- this time dealing with the detailed chronostratigraphy.  This is what we wanted originally, but never got -- a detailed record of the stratigraphy (hopefully free of all those assumptions and speculations about quarrying activity), with due consideration given to natural processes and sediments, and with detailed information regarding environmental change and human occupation phases.  There is a fascinating settlement history here, and a lot of radiocarbon and other dates, so the site is vastly important on that basis.  There are not many sites in Wales where an intermittent occupation story can be followed from the Mesolithic right through to the Middle Ages, and we look forward to reading the paper when it appears.

We don't expect to discover anything new about the supposed history of quarrying and stone extraction;  if there had been anything convincing in the record, it would already have been given to us.  So let's hope for a nice solid piece of archaeological reporting, with a high standard of scholarship.  And no unsupported assumptions.

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