The end product of the copperworks

Back in the summer I took the opportunity for a trip on the Tawe river cruise, which was fantastic fun.  If you get the chance you should take a ride, it’s a really interesting way to see a different side of the city.

The Tawe river cruiser noses her way up stream.

The Tawe river cruiser noses her way up stream.

On the journey back the crew showed us a number of artifacts associated with the copperworks.  The most interesting of these to my way of thinking was one of the copper ingots, which would have formed the primary output of the Hafod Copperworks from the mid-18th century to the late-19th century, when it was owned by Vivian and Sons.

The ingot is lozenge shaped and divided into three peaks.  The central peak of which is stamped ‘V & S \ A’.  This particular ingot was recovered from the wreck of the Benamain, located some seven miles of Mumbles Head.  The Benamain was a London registered steam powered cargo ship.  Her final voyage took place on 28th March 1890, when she was bound for le Treport with a cargo that included 50 tons of copper ingots from Vivian and Sons.  On the afternoon of the 28th March she was steaming at six knots when she became stranded on the eastern side of Lundy in the fog.  She was refloated the following morning but floundered on her way back to Swansea.  Her crew was recovered by the pilot cutter Rival and the Benamain was left to sink.

A Vivian and Sons copper ingot recovered from the briny deep.

A Vivian and Sons copper ingot recovered from the briny deep.

Happily we didn’t have such an eventful voyage!

Day 9 – Monday. Almost done

Our cobbles looking wonderfully clean, after some TLC from our volunteers
Our cobbles looking wonderfully clean, after some TLC from our volunteers

Our volunteers have been busy, busy, cleaning the cobbles up so they look extra smart for our report photographs. Then if that wasn’t enough they’ve been recording the drains and the remains of the bridge we uncovered on Saturday.

Johnny, Sophie and Charlotte have been running around taking lots of photographs and making sure that all the indexes and records are up to date. Meanwhile Andy has taken himself of to Birmingham for some well-earned holiday!

Hafod Community Excavation Saturday 8th June- Open Day!!

Its finally arrived! It’s our big day…..our open day!

One and all are welcome to our open day today between 10:00 and 15:00. We have a lot of different activities going on throughout the day today for all ages including;

  • Photographic competitions- Simply take your best ‘shot’ at any of the local Hafod Wildlife, Archaeology/Buildings, the Hafod community or the people of the Copperworks.  Our age categories are Under 14s, 14-18 and 18+
  • Visiting the Swansea Museum’s stores to see all the fantastic collections and array of finds
  • Explore the Hafod site and see the new buildings uncovered and the new trails
  • The hidden treasures roadshow- come and bring along your Copperworks related objects and photographs
  • Walk along our various tours, including the Copperworks and community tour 10:30am- 12:30pm, Useful plants and wild food walks 11:00- 13:00, and our nature walks 11:30- 13:30
  • And finally come and visit our excavation site!

So now you have all the info…..Come on down and see us!

Day 8 – Friday

Well, where do I start?!  We’ve been pulling the volunteers here there and everywhere today with our training!

Excavation works have been continuing over at the site of trench 3, with various tasks being carried out.   Johnny has been carrying on with excavations along with some of the volunteers, expanding the area and removing the modern cements (!) and build up of flora.

The southern side of our north-south running wall has now been cleaned, revealing an astonishing set of cobbles, along with a beam slot and the remains of a wooden feature, that may  possibly be the lower section of of the original door still in situ!

Sophie, along with her gang of helpful volunteers, started on the task of recording the site.  With the volunteers taking the archaeological photographs and recording various deposits.  The survey skills taught by Andyt last Saturday were put into practice, with the volunteers undertaking the spot level recording across the site.

Whilst all this was occurring Jan was supervising the finds and making sure all was correctly washed, labelled and cataloged before training more volunteers in the art of  plane table survey.

Charlotte meanwhile was extremely busy with some building recording all along the back of the Hafod Copperworks Canal wall with a group of very excited volunteers.  This included a photographic survey and drawing record.

Further blog updates tomorrow and of course don’t forget to check out our other social media points at Twitter and Facebook.

Day 7 – Thursday

Today has been extremely busy and very productive.  Luckily, we had a lot of very eager and determined volunteers to help us out!

 At the start of the morning, we continued work on the cobbled area where we stopped at end of play on Wednesday.  We can now happily report that the volunteers have discover more cobbles!  The extent and condition of the cobbled floor is fantastic and has now been shown to extend over quite a large area extending to both the north and south of the original visible cobbled section.

In the afternoon we were graced with a visit from GGAT’s Web Manager, Paul Huckfield, who came to take lots of photos of the the volunteers, to be included in an upcoming web gallery for the project, so watch this space!

Volunteers at work


Newly exposed cobbled surface

Newly exposed cobbled surface





















Day 6 – Wednesday

Today we started to see some nice finds coming out of the Hafod Copperworks, consisting mainly of some 19th century pottery, brick and glass!   So not only is it full steam ahead for the diggers, it’s all hands on deck for the cleaners!

Thanks to all the volunteers who have been with us so far, keep up the good work!

A GGAT archaeologists and volunteers washing small finds

You’ve had a rest, now it’s full steam ahead!

Morning everyone!  Yesterday it was full steam ahead for the excavation!

We’ve had lots of volunteers, all digging at a tremendous pace!  In the morning our very eager volunteers started clearance works, supervised by Johnny and Andy, surrounding the cobbled surface and were amazed and excited to see more and more and even more cobbles sloping up towards the canal bridge.  So exciting times for us at the community excavation!.

Whilst this was going on, a turf layer was removed to the north of the cobbled surface which was supervised by Sophie.   Also further activities going on at the Hafod community excavation takes form in the finds washing area that Charlotte supervised, leaving not a dirty pot sherd in sight!

Further blog updates tomorrow and of course don’t forget to check out GGAT’s other social media feeds on Twitter and Facebook

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Volunteers hard at work

Photo Gallery