Monmouth site is Bronze Age - archaeologist in row with minister
A MAN who is leading a dig at a site in Monmouth says he's found evidence to dispute claims by a minister who claimed remains there were not Bronze Age.
Steve Clarke of Monmouth Archaeology says latest scientific results from the Parc Glyndwr site shows the area was teeming with prehistoric activity, especially during the bronze ages.
Mr Clarke claims the development refutes comments by heritage minister Huw Lewis that what had been found at the Rockfield Road site was from a later period.
The archaeologist said the claims had been damaging to his reputation. He has said the site, which was thought could have been a longhouse, was one of the most important he had seen in 30 years.
Mr Clarke said a charcoal sample from one of the slots thought to be a setting for a tree laid across a Bronze Age burnt mound - a drift of pebbles burned to boil water - had been found to date back to 1,750BC.
Early bronze age pottery from the site has produced a date of 1,680BC, while a hearth on the site produced a date of 2,795BC, from the new stone age.
The group has used radiocarbon technology to find the dates, which were produced by the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre.
Mr Clarke said there was now evidence that the foundations of the huge structure discovered by the team are also Bronze Age.
The finds showed the information given to the heritage minister by civil servants was "manifestly erroneous".
Mr Clarke said: "The whole argument has ended. You can't argue with scientific dates like this."
Nick Ramsay, AM for Monmouth, said the dating results were very exciting: "I hope that Cadw reappraise their opinion and at least consider that the Monmouth Archaeology interpretation may be right."
A CADW spokeswoman said different interpretations of evidence are not uncommon in archaeology.
She said Mr Lewis has never questioned Monmouth Archaeology's professional reputation and his statement merely offered an alternative interpretation of the features on the site.
"It is unfortunate that Mr Clarke has interpreted this as criticism as this has never been the minister's or Cadw's intention," she said.
It was made clear, the spokeswoman said, that further evidence was needed before a firm conclusion could be made, and Cadw made an offer to help obtain this information.
"We are eager to view the new evidence that Monmouth Archaeology has revealed as it has not yet been shared with the minister or Cadw," the spokeswoman added.