Arfordir Coastal Heritage

The Project

The coastline is a dynamic environment subject to constant change through the actions of erosion, land-use, and climate change, which can in turns reveal and conceal sites of archaeological interest, but which can also damage and even destroy them. Shipwrecks buried in the sand can be revealed by the scouring activity of a severe winter storm, erosion of sand dunes and cliffs can expose buried structures, or even entire settlements, or burials, and all of these actions, as well as rising sea levels and increased risk of extreme weather events can cause damage both to known sites, and the new ones yet identified.

This constant change is one that has major implications for the historic environment and the coastal heritage, and it is this dynamic nature of the coast that the project addresses; it is aimed at monitoring the condition and the impact of erosion on the coastal heritage of the area, and to involve the local community.

The people who know the coast best are the ones who are there most often, local residents and regular visitors will be better able to spot changes than someone who may visit only once every year or two.

The projects aim was to recruit local volunteers and bring them together to record and monitor the coastal heritage of their area. Volunteers received training and support from professional archaeologists, who acted as mentors, providing additional training and advice.

After learning how to identify and record sites, volunteers were also provided with recording forms and equipment, tapes, ranging poles, gps and camera. Completed forms were returned to the Arfordir coordinator, for incorporation into the regional Historic Environment Record. The project aimed to adapt over time to changing conditions and needs, and as the issues a site faces are highlighted and different strategies implemented.

All the information the project generated added to our knowledge about the coast of the area, helping us to build up a big picture about the coastal heritage of Wales.