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1930s Compressor House foundations – Geophysical Survey

Compressor House Foundations
1930's Photo of Compressor House Foundations | © Dolaucothi

We’ve been conducting a geophysical survey at Dolaucothi around the foundations of a curious concrete structure on the Mine Yard.

The structure is shown on a map from 1935, and labelled as the foundation for the 1930s Compressor House. This building would have provided compressed air for the mining machinery used underground.

Recent archives research by Professor Barry Burnham shows the same structure referenced in different time periods, prior to the 1930’s. The earliest of these is potentially the 1880s!

It looks like the same foundation may have been used and re-used by different mining operations for over 50 years with small alterations to accommodate changing machinery.

Edward Taylor with Geophys Equipment
Edward Taylor with Geophys Equipment | © Dolaucothi

The geophysical survey could give us an idea of the shape and size of some of the earlier foundations. This might in turn inform a potential project by Professor Burnham to excavate the site. He has already begun clearing and recording the above ground parts of the structure.

For the Festival of Archaeology, running from 21 – 28 July inc. at Dolaucothi, Professor Burnham hopes to excavate and record the Compressor House foundations, looking for more clues as to the building’s history.

Weather permitting, visitors will be able to watch this live archaeological excavation during the Festival. More details will be available soon.

Other activities taking place between 21 and 28 July include:

  • Learn archaeology with UWTSD who will provide displays of pottery and Roman oil lamps
  • Make Your Own Roman Oil Lamp
  • Follow the Heritage Explorer Trail
  • Play Dressing up, Roman Games, Colouring in

Special events led by Simon Timberlake and Brenda Craddock from the Early Mines Research Group for the weekend of 27 and 28 July

Reconstruction of prehistoric tool making.

Hammerstone Workshop with Brenda Craddock.
Live demonstrations of making authentic hammerstone tools which would have been used in prehistoric mines.
Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 1 pm

Copper Smelting with Simon Timberlake.
Live demonstrations of smelting copper from ore to metal in a reconstruction of a prehistoric furnace.
Saturday and Sunday 1.30 pm – 4 pm

Furnace | © Simon Timberlake

Plus (Sat only 11 am) Presentation by Simon Timberlake: Archaeology of a Roman gold mine at Rosia Montana, Romania