Ar ôl cloddio – Nid dim ond tyllu yw archaeoleg!

Y tyllu yw’r hwyl y mae pawb yn clywed amdano ac eisiau rhoi cynnig arno ond, nid diwedd y tyllu yw diwedd y gwaith.  Wedi cloddio, ceir pentyrrau o ddyluniadau maes, ffolderi o daflenni cyd-destun, bly

chau o ddarganfyddiadau a ffotograffau diddiwedd. Mae’n rhaid didoli, archwilio, croesgyfeirio a storio’r rhain i gyd yn briodol, fel bod modd eu cadw mewn archif ar gyfer y dyfodol.

Ond megis dechrau yw hynny! Bydd arbenigwyr ar y teledu’n cydio mewn darn bychan o grochenwaith ac yn dweud wrthych pwy sydd wedi’i greu, pryd a ble ac ar gyfer beth roedd yn cael ei ddefnyddio – a hynny dim ond drwy edrych arno. Nid rhyw hud rhyfeddol sy’n gyfrifol am hynny, ond blynyddoedd o brofiad yn astudio darnau tebyg o grochenwaith. Mae’n rhaid i arbenigwyr o’r fath astudio’r holl grochenwaith, a phob darganfyddiad arall, yn fanwl er mwyn darganfod cymaint ag y bo modd amdan

ynt.  Mae’n rhaid creu darluniau o lawer ohonynt fel bod modd cyhoeddi eu delweddau, gan roi cyfle i arbenigwyr eraill eu hychwanegu at eu dealltwriaeth o’r maes.  Cafodd y samplau o bridd a gasglwyd ar y safle eu rhoi drwy ridyll gwlyb er mwyn casglu golosg a gweddillion planhigion rhuddedig eraill. Mae’n rhaid astudio’r rhain a dewis samplau ar gyfer dyddio radiocarbon, fel bod modd creu cronoleg fwy manwl gywir ar gyfer y safle. Mae rhidyllu gwlyb hefyd yn casglu darganfyddiadau bychain y mae’n rhaid eu pigo allan o’r bagiau o raean a geir ar y diwedd, a’u cynnwys yn yr astudiaethau o’r darganfyddiadau.

Mae’n rhaid dehongli llawer ar yr archaeoleg ar y safle, gyda’r nodweddion a’r dyddo

dion o’ch blaen, ond yn aml mae’n amhosibl gweld y darlun llawn nes bod cynlluniau’r safle wedi’u huno â’i gilydd ac wedi archwilio’r berthynas rhwng yr haenau’n llawn. Hanfod pob gwaith cloddio yw stratigraffeg; darganfod y gyfres o ddigwyddiadau a fu ar y safle.  Er mwyn profi, arddangos a deall y perthnasoedd rhwng sawl cyd-destun ar safle, crëir diagram a elwir yn Fatrics Harris. Dim ond wedyn y gellir dechrau dehongli’r archaeoleg o ddifrif. Wrth i wybodaeth gan yr arbenigwyr ddod i’r fei, mae’n sail ar gyfer deall archaeoleg y llaid ac, yn araf bach, gellir rhoi darlun llawn at ei gilydd.

Wedi i chi gasglu’r holl dystiolaeth yn y diwedd, a dod i ddeall beth, pryd, pwy a pham am eich safle, mae’n bwysig gadael i bawb wybod amdano. Os ydym am ddatblygu ein gwybodaeth am wahanol gyfnodau mewn hanes a’r cyfnod cynhanes, mae’n rhaid i bawb sy’n gweithio ar gyfnod allu gweld yr holl wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am y cyfnod hwnnw, a dysgu oddi wrth

yr wybodaeth newydd a geir yn sgil cloddio.   Er mwyn gwneud hyn, dylid cyhoeddi canlyniadau pob gwaith cloddio mewn cyfnodolion academaidd neu ar ffurf monograffau. Ond nid yw’r rhan fwyaf o bobl yn debygol o ddarllen y rhain felly dylid dosbarthu canlyniadau safleoedd arbennig o bwysig drwy gyfrwng sgyrsiau, arddangosfeydd mewn amgueddfeydd, llyfrynnau ac ati hefyd. Mae hyn i gyd yn cymryd llawer o amser ac yn costio arian, ond mae’r broses gynllunio’n sicrhau bod datblygwyr nid yn unig yn gorfod talu am gloddio am archaeoleg ar eu safleoedd, ond hefyd gyhoeddi’r canlyniadau.

Mae cyfnod o waith ar ôl cloddio’n perthyn i bobl cloddfa. Weithiau, nid oes llawer wedi’i ddarganfod ac nid yw’r gwaith ar ôl cloddio’n cymryd llawer o amser, ond ar safleoedd mawr bydd yn cymryd llawer mwy o amser na’r gwaith cloddio ei hun. Ar hyn o bryd, ceir tîm yn yr Ymddiriedolaeth sy’n canolbwyntio ar y gwaith ar ôl y cloddio a wnaed rhwng 2006 a 2008 a 2009 a 2010, ymlaen llaw, cyn datblygiad Parc Cybi, Caergybi.  Rydym wedi bod yn gweithio ers bron i flwyddyn ar y cam c

yntaf, sy’n cynnwys archwilio popeth, gweld beth sydd gennym a pha astudiaethau sydd eu hangen. Bydd hyn yn arwain at waith manylach ac, yn y diwedd, ymhen rhai blynyddoedd o bosibl, at gyhoeddiad, at arddangosfa yn Oriel Ynys Môn ac at ffyrdd eraill o ddangos i bobl beth rydym wedi’i ddarganfod. Mae Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru, a dalodd am y gwaith cloddio, hefyd yn talu am y gwaith ar ôl y cloddio ac felly, yn y pen draw, bydd modd i chi weld ar beth mae eich trethi wedi cael eu gwario.

Os oes gwaith cloddio wedi cael ei wneud yn ago

s atoch chi, efallai eich bod yn teimlo nad ydych wedi clywed dim byd wedyn, ond efallai mai’r rheswm am hynny yw am fod y gwaith yn dal i fynd rhagddo. Nid yw manylion pob gwaith cloddio bychan yn cael eu cyhoeddi ac efallai mai dim ond mewn cyfnodolion archaeoleg fydd rhai’n ymddangos, heb fod ar gael yn rhwydd i’r cyhoedd yn gyffredinol. Er hynny, mae pob adroddiad ar waith cloddio yng Ngwynedd, waeth pa mor fach, yn cael eu cadw yng Nghofnod yr Amgylchedd Hanesyddol yma yn yr Ymddiriedolaeth, a gall y cyhoedd ddod yma i’w darllen.

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Post-excavation – Archaeology is not just digging!

Digging is the fun part that everyone hears about and wants to try their hand at, but the end of the dig is not the end of the job.  After an excavation there are piles of field drawings, folders of context sheets, boxes of finds and endless photographs. All these have to be sorted, checked, cross-referenced and stored properly so that they can be archived for the future.

But that is just the start. Experts on television will hold a small piece of pottery and tell you who made it, when and where and what it was used for just by looking at it. They do not do that by magic but by years of experience studying similar pieces of pottery. All the pottery and other finds need to be studied in detail by such experts to find out as much as possible about them. Many need to be drawn so that images of them can be published and other specialists can add them to their understanding of their field. The soil samples collected on site were wet sieved to collected charcoal and other charred plant remains. These need to be studied and samples chosen for radiocarbon dating so that a more precise chronology of the site can be created. Wet sieving also collects small finds that have to be picked out from the resulting bags of gravel and included in the finds studies.

Much interpretation of the archaeology must be done on site with the features and deposits in front of you, but it is often impossible to see the full picture until site plans are joined together and the relationship between layers are fully explored. Excavation is all about stratigraphy; discovering the sequence of events that happened on that site. To test, display and understand the relationships between many contexts on a site a diagram called a Harris Matrix is created. Interpretation of the archaeology can then really begin. As information from the specialists is received this informs the understanding of the dirt archaeology and slowly a full picture can be pieced together.

When eventually you have all the evidence and understand the what, when, who and why about your site, it is important to let everyone know about it. Our knowledge about different periods of history and prehistory can only advance if everyone working on a period can access all the up-to-date information and can learn from new information from excavations. To do this the results of excavations should be published in academic journals or as monographs. But most people are not likely to read these so the results of particularly important sites should also be disseminated by talks, museum displays, booklets etc. All this takes a lot of time and costs money, but the planning process ensures that developers not only have to pay for excavation of archaeology on their sites, but for its publication as well.

All excavations have a period of post-excavation work. Sometimes not much has been found and the post-ex doesn’t take long, but on big sites it will take much longer than the excavation did. At present there is a team in the Trust working on the post-ex from the 2006-2008 and 2009-2010 excavations in advance of the development of Parc Cybi, Holyhead. We have been working for nearly a year on the first stage of checking everything, seeing what we have and what studies are required. This will lead to more detailed work and finally, possibly some years away, to a publication, exhibition at Oriel Ynys Môn and other ways of showing people what we have found. The Welsh Assembly Government, who paid for the excavation, are also paying for the post-ex, so eventually you will be able to see what your taxes have been spent on.

It may seem that if a dig has taken place near you nothing is heard about it again, but that may be because the work is still going on. Not all small digs are published and some may only appear in archaeology journals and are not easily available to the general public, but all reports on excavations in Gwynedd, however small, are held by the Historic Environment Record here at the Trust, and the public can come and read them.

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