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Work Experience

Work Experience 2012

Olly, Michael, Jacob, Lauren, Beth and Steph

The Work experience team at work!


For a week in July staff at CPAT worked with 6 young people aged 15 and 16 from schools in Llanfair Caereinion, Welshpool, Knighton, Baschurch and Wem to investigate a site at Middletown near Welshpool. Chris and Alexa Bartram contacted CPAT when they became puzzled about a large stone found buried on their land. The staff at CPAT decided it was too good an opportunity to miss and made it the focus for this years work experience placements.

Monday 9th July

Olly (Hereford sixth form), Steph (The Corbet School) & Beth (Caereinion High School)

We started out meeting at 9.30am at CPAT in the meeting room and were introduced to Jeff and to the other people joining us on work experience. First off Jeff asked us to help him load the equipment into a car ready for the following few days. Then we went on a tour of the CPAT office and were greeted by other staff as they told us about their specific jobs and what they did. Next we had a talk on health and safety and had to fill out a risk assessment form. He also gave us a talk about what CPAT is and what they do and taught us the basic knowledge needed for archaeology and what we were going to be doing throughout the week. After lunch Jeff and Sophie took us in cars to visit some historic sites such as the Long Mountain Barrows, Offa’s Dyke and Montgomery castle. We ended the day by returning to the CPAT offices.

Beth's comments on the first day:
On Monday I was really nervous at first because I didn’t know anyone, but I soon started chatting to the other students and became friends with Lauren and Steph. First we were shown some PowerPoint presentations, these gave us a useful insight into CPAT’s work and archaeology as a whole. We then had a tour of the office and were introduced to all members of staff. Jeff showed us finds from recent excavations and we got to see a plan drawn for a Roman Road, it was really interesting! After lunch we headed out to see some historic sites including Montgomery Castle and Offa’s Dyke. We also got to see a Prehistoric Standing Stone and The Beacon Ring. Jeff showed us the different entrances to the Hill Fort there and described what they would have been like. It was a really interesting day and I learnt so much!

Learning new skills

Drawing a plan of the trench
Beth Harding (left)and Lauren Jones (right)

Tuesday 10th July

Olly (Hereford sixth form) & Steph (The Corbet School)

In the morning we met again at 9:00am at the office, after checking the kit in the cars we set off for Middletown where we were going to be planning, surveying and photographing a possible Bronze Age standing stone. We learnt some new skills such as ‘Offset Recording’ and began to mark out the trench ready for excavation tomorrow. For the majority of the day it rained and we spent a lot of time bailing out the water in the trench or sheltering in the cars. We also had a visit from a photographer from the local newspaper who took some pictures and references to put in the news. The day was quite fun however we got rather wet and muddy!

Nothing but mud and rocks

Jacob, Lauren and Steph searching for the lost treasures of Wales

Wednesday 11th July

Jacob Griffiths (Thomas Adams Wem) and Michael Riffel (Welshpool High School)

Today we started by unpacking the equipment and learning how to set up and use the level. We then took readings and recorded them on our plans, then the real fun began!

  • 1-Lauren deturfed the area we would be working in
  • 2-Armed with trowels, hand shovels and buckets we started to scrape away the topsoil
  • 3-After a while it was clear that we weren’t going fast enough, time to bring out the big guns!! We mattocked our way well into the sub soil
  • 4- All the while people sieved for lost treasures, didn't find a thing...

It turns out the spoil pile is a very good substitute for a sandbox, Jacob and Olly had lots of fun building a motte and bailey out the chunks of earth!

Final scores of the day Archaeologists 1 Worms 0.

Resistivity survey underway

Geophysics expert John Burman helping Beth carry out the Resistivity Survey

Thursday 12th July

Lauren (Welshpool High School) and Beth (Caereinion High School)

The beginning of the day was quite busy because we had to set up the Geophysical Survey grid and carry on digging the trench (Jeff also left the camera at the office and had to turn around to get it!) When we got to the site we set up the grid for the Geophysical Survey while Sophie carried on digging. The grid was 20m by 20m and took about an hour to set up! We then had to lay out a series of lines and pegs in order to get an accurate reading. The Resistivity meter was a square frame with two spikes on the bottom; these sent electric impulses through the ground, giving us our reading. We did this to see if there was any archaeology buried under the site.

In the afternoon we cleaned the trench so we could take pictures of the site, post excavation. We took pictures from various angles, North, West and South, with a metre long ranging rod in the photo for scale. Next we drew up our post excavation plan on permatrace (waterproof paper), which was useful because it started to rain! After that we marked on the plan where we would take levels from. We had to set up the tripod and the level to do this. That was hard because we had to make sure the equipment was central. Beth held up the measuring staff whist Lauren took readings via the level. We then had to take a reading from a set point at the site, this was called the Back Site. After that we packed all the equipment away and left the excavation site, it was definitely an awesome experience!

The Team

The 2012 work experience team with landowner Mr Chris Bartram (left)

Friday 13th July

We met at 9:00am in the meeting room as we have done all week, Jeff checked some of our diaries from the week and we began to plan this web page and write these diaries. We have learnt a lot this week and it was very wet but thanks to all at CPAT and the owner of the site who allowed us to experience the different jobs of archaeology.


After 3 days training and excavation our time on site had come to an end. As can be seen in the photograph below, the excavation not only revealed the shape and size of the original stone, but revealed part of a second stone close to the first. It appeared to be of the same kind of stone and had flat surfaces and was largely un-eroded, similar to the first. This suggested that both had been quarried relevatively recently, rather than being part of an ancient structure that had been pushed over and buried. While still uncertain, our current thinking about them is that they may have been intended for use by a previous landowner but later dumped, or that they form part of a disused field boundary dating to before the creation of the Tithe Map in 1849.

We'd like to thank the students for their hard work and enthusiasm whilst on placement and John Burman of Meirionydd Geophysical Survey Team for giving freely of his time and expertise. Lastly, sincere thanks to Mr and Mrs Bartram for welcoming us onto their land and making the whole thing possible.

The completed excavation trench

The completed excavation trench with original stone at left and second stone at right

Information gathered, prepared and presented by Olly Jones, Beth Harding, Michael Riffel, Steph Orton, Jabob Griffiths, Lauren Jones, Sophie Watson and Jeff Spencer, July-August 2012.

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