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The Skomer Island Project

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Skomer: famed for its wildlife and for the survival of its ancient field systems

Skomer: famed for its wildlife and for the survival of its ancient field systems

AT THE BEGINNING of this month, the Skomer Island Project team returned to Skomer to undertake the latest phase of archaeological research on the Island.

The Herald contacted the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales (RCAHMW) who kindly provided us with an update and photographs of their latest visit to Skomer.

Skomer Island is a highly protected landscape famous for its puffins and other breeding seabirds, but it is also home to some of the best preserved prehistoric field systems and settlements anywhere in Britain.

The Royal Commission began the Skomer Island Project in 2011, together with colleagues from the University of Sheffield and Cardiff University, to find out more about the prehistoric communities who lived once and farmed here.

New airborne laser scanning has allowed detailed mapping of every field and round house while fieldwork has demonstrated that settlement on the island extends back some 5000 years.

This year archaeologists Louise Barker and Toby Driver (RCAHMW), Bob Johnston (University of Sheffield) and Oliver Davis (Cardiff University) were delighted to be joined by geographer and environmental scientist Sarah Davies of Aberystwyth University.

The aims of this year’s work were twofold; to excavate one of the Island’s main archaeological features, a prehistoric field boundary and the continuation of geophysical survey within the improved fields surrounding the old farm in the centre of the Island.

Despite Storm Katie cutting short our planned four days of fieldwork, we managed to achieve our goals in the two sunny and still days we had and were also lucky enough to witness the return of the puffins.

The focus of our small evaluation trench was a substantial lynchet, part of the Northern Field Systems on the Island.

A lynchet is a bank of earth that builds up on the down slope of a field ploughed over a period of time and the resulting earth or plough soil is important for helping us reconstruct the environmental history of the Island, identify what was being cultivated and possibly at what date.

Therefore, the principal focus of the excavation was to recover samples of the soils within the lynchet which will now be carefully analysed over the coming months.

Preliminary results from the geophysical survey also look positive. Within the improved fields surrounding the farm in the centre of the Island, there is little evidence for surviving archaeology; however geophysics undertaken in 2012 did reveal subsurface archaeological features and we wanted to see if this was the case elsewhere.

This was indeed the case, and in the area surveyed directly to the west of the farm, the gradiometer detected a linear feature, perhaps a ditch cut by later cultivation ridges.

As ever the Skomer Island Project team would like to thank the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and the Skomer Wardens for their continued support and help with our work on the Island.

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Organisers urged to read guidance on holding Covid-aware events

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ORGANISERS planning to hold events in Pembrokeshire are being urged to read guidance published by the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government has produced the ‘Keeping Wales safe: creating COVID-aware events’ document.

The document is designed to help all those involved in organising, attending and regulating both indoor and outdoor events in Wales.

It aids organisers to understand how to operate during the pandemic and minimise the risks to event employees, contractors, volunteers and attendees. 

The guidance underlines that if social distancing cannot be put in place or risks managed effectively – including attendees social distancing – those events or elements of events should not take place at this time.

Capacities at events also need to be determined based on 2m social distancing.

The document is available here: https://gov.wales/keep-wales-safe-creating-covid-aware-events

Pembrokeshire County Council has also put together an events toolkit to support event organisers.

You can find the toolkit at: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/events-toolkit

Organisers planning to hold events on Pembrokeshire County Council land are reminded they will need to contact the Council to obtain permission.

Contact propertyhelpdesk@pembrokeshire.gov.uk for more information.

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Four men arrested as armed police swoop on Hubberston address

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ARMED police and specialist dog handlers swooped on an address in Hubberston, Milford Haven on Wednesday night (Jun 16).

The raid, at around 8pm, understood to be at the location of a drugs bust just days earlier, ended in four men being arrested on suspicion of affray.

It is understood that the armed police were called upon as one of the people at the property was thought to be armed with a knife, and police procedures would require the backup of specialist officers.

The property in question is split into flats, with people from the upstairs and downstairs involved in the incident, a source close to the matter has confirmed.

A witness who saw events unfold, who did not want to be named, told The Herald: “Police turned up following what I think was an altercation. One person in the property was injured and had cuts to their face, which seem to have been slash marks.

“I saw four people being taken away by police.”

“I also saw that one of the persons arrested seemed to be very drunk. It was the same house where £12000 of coke was allegedly found a few days ago.”

Police have released a statement confirming the incident. They said: “We were called to Hubberston Road in Hubberston at around 8pm on Wednesday, 16 June, to reports of a man with a weapon.

“Officers, including armed response, attended and arrested four men, at a nearby property, on suspicion of affray. All four remain in police custody at this time.

“One man was taken to hospital with facial injuries.

“Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101.

“If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DP-20210616-387. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.”

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Chapel bids fond farewell to minister

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STEPASIDE METHODIST CHAPEL said a fond farewell to its superintendent minister, the Rev. Flis Jepson-Randall last weekend.

She is leaving the area to take up a post in the Aberystwyth and Lampeter circuit.

Having spent three years in her post as the superintendent of the Pembrokeshire and Carmarthen circuit, she was very popular in her community.

That was shown by the number of gifts and cards that were presented to her at a farewell lunch at the Wiseman’s Bridge Hotel.

Pictured with members and friends, Chris Randall, Bronwen Knox, Tracey Patel, Dawn Williams, Elerie Williams, Hilary Tonks, Rosemary Maudsley, Liz Hall, Front, Pam Gigson, Rev Flis Jepson Randall, Linnia Dennis, Dylis Williams, Marlene Davies

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