D-Day Landings Memorial, Newport: archaeological watching brief

Contents
Summary Acknowledgments Copyright notice 1 Introduction 1.1 Development proposal and commission 1.2 Location and topography 1.3 Historical and archaeological background 2 2 2

3 3 3 4

2 Methodology 3 Results 4 Conclusions Reference Illustration Fig 1 Location plan 6 7 8 8

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D-Day Landings Memorial, Newport: archaeological watching brief

Summary
An archaeological watching brief was carried out outside the Old Post Office, High Street, Newport, on the groundwork for repositioning the D-Day Landings memorial presently located in John Frost Square. The excavation required was not of sufficient depth to reach archaeological levels, and only modern materials were encountered.

Acknowledgments
The project was managed by Richard Lewis BA MIFA and the fieldwork was undertaken by Steve Sell BA of the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust (Projects). The report was prepared by Steve Sell with assistance from Paul Jones of GGAT Illustration Department. Thanks are due to Terry Jones of Newport City Council, Engineering and Construction Division, and to Jason Shannon of Allan Griffiths, the contractors, for their assistance during the project.

Copyright Notice
The copyright to this report is held by the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd, which has granted an exclusive licence to Newport City Council to use and reproduce the material it contains.

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D-Day Landings Memorial, Newport: archaeological watching brief

1
1.1

Introduction
Development proposal and commission

Newport City Council have received permission to relocate the D-Day Landings memorial stone, presently erected in John Frost Square, to a site opposite 9 High Street Newport. (Pl App No 07/0421). A condition attached to the planning consent states that ‘a suitably qualified archaeologist is present during the undertaking of any ground disturbing works in the development area, so that an archaeologist (sic) watching brief can be conducted’. The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd (Projects), was commissioned to carry out the work, which was undertaken on 5th July 2007. 1.2 Location and topography The relocation site, at c10m OD, is situated outside the Old Post Office at the northern end of High Street, in the centre of Newport, at NGR ST 3103 8835, some 200m to the west of the River Usk and 150m to the s outhwest of Newport Castle. The solid geology of Newport is mixed, with Old Red Sandstone in the north and Keuper Marl in the south. The River Usk is tidal, its immediate environs consisting of estuarine mud flats, and former salt-marsh. 1.3 Historical and archaeological background There is little evidence for human activity in Newport during the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods, but during the Iron Age a major hillfort was established at the Gaer, 2.5km to the southwest of the present development. Despite the establishment of the military base at Caerleon 4km to the northeast no direct structural evidence for Roman occupation has been found at Newport (Jones 2005, 9). The first castle in Newport was constructed in timber at St Woolos c1090, with the present position being occupied during the first half of the 12th century. This castle was replaced in stone at the beginning of the 13th century. The town began to develop as a port centred on the Town Pill just to the south of the Castle. The town grew rapidly, and soon began to spread beyond the original limits, within the protection of the castle, towards Stow Hill and the original settlement. The town, based on the castle as the administrative centre of the Lordship, continued to grow in the later medieval period, despite the depredations of Glyndwr at the beginning of the 15th century. During the early post-medieval period it was, apparently, of less importance as a port than Chepstow, Cardiff and Swansea, but by the end of the 18th century the town had begun to grow rapidly to complement the industrialisation of the region, firstly with the opening of the Monmouthshire Canal in 1796 and the expansion of the docks in the first half of the 19th century, initially closer to the town centre, but moving ever further south, until by the time the Transporter Bridge was constructed in 1906, the docks at Newport were almost entirely located to the south of the town, between the confluence of the Rivers Usk and Ebbw (ibid 12). The relocation site for the memorial stone is located within the market quarter of the medieval town of Newport, close to the site of the market house, which is thought to
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D-Day Landings Memorial, Newport: archaeological watching brief

have been built c1585. Newport Castle is some 150m to the northeast and the truncated Town Pill , which originally extended as far as High Street, lies some 200m to the southeast.

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D-Day Landings Memorial, Newport: archaeological watching brief

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Methodology

The watching brief was undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Institute of Field Archaeologists’ Standard and Guidance for Archaeological Watching Briefs (1994) and the GGAT Manual of Excavation Recording Techniques. The excavated area was cleaned and examined for evidence of human activity and for artefactual evidence, and was noted and recorded photographically as appropriate using a Kodak DC215 Zoom digital camera. A full written, drawn and photographic record was made of all archaeological contexts, in accordance with the GGAT Manual of Excavation Recording Techniques. Contexts were recorded, where applicable, using a single continuous numbering system, and are summarised in Appendix 1. Finds were selected according to the GGAT Manual of Excavation Recording Techniques discard policy; but no material from this project was retained.

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D-Day Landings Memorial, Newport: archaeological watching brief

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Results

The excavated area consisted of one of the circular design panels in the pavement outside the Old Post Office. Its diameter was 2m. The overall depth of excavation to accommodate the memorial varied between 0.55m and 0.70m. Services occupied much of the northwestern side of the excavation, where the depth reached was less. The sequence here was as follows: Table 1: northwestern sector
Context No 001 002 003 004 005 006 Description Paved brick surface Mixed concrete bedding Concrete slab Mixed concrete bedding Sub-base Concrete Depth 0.09 0.09 0.20 0.09 0.07 Limit of excavation

On the southeastern side of the excavation the sequence was different (see below). Beneath slab 003 was a mixed make-up layer of probable recent origin (007), which was removed to a maximum depth of 0.70m Table 2: southeastern sector
Context No 001 002 003 007 Description Paved brick surface Mixed concrete bedding Concrete slab Depth 0.09 0.09 0.20

Composite layer of redeposited material of recent 0.30m to limit of origin (concrete, marl, slate, gravel, mortar, excavation (c0.70m) charcoal, small stone etc)

The only finds occurred within layer 007, and consisted of sherds of stoneware of probable 19th century date. The concrete layer 006 appeared to dip below make-up layer 007, which is likely to have been brought in to level up the site prior to excavation for services on the northwestern side of the site. Contexts 004-005 represent the upper backfill of this trench, or are associated with modern ducting running along the northwestern edge of the excavation. An earlier pavement level is represented by slab 003, with the present ornamental brick surface and its foundation layer (001, 002) being part of recent refurbishment of High Street in connection with the pedestrianisation of this part of Newport. Excavations prior to the removal of the memorial stone itself in John Frost Square did not reach below the concrete foundation upon which it was seated.
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D-Day Landings Memorial, Newport: archaeological watching brief

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Conclusions

The results of the watching brief confirmed that the groundwork required for the memorial did not reach archaeological levels, and thus had no effect upon the archaeological resource.

Reference
Jones C, 2005, Newport City Centre Redevelopment: archaeological assessment, GGAT Report no 2005/076, Swansea

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D-Day Landings Memorial, Newport: archaeological watching brief

Appendix 1: Context Index
Context No 001 002 003 004 005 006 007 Type Structure Layer Structure Layer Layer Layer Layer Description Paved brick surface Concrete bedding for 001 Concrete slab Concrete bedding for 003 Modern foundation layer, ‘sub-base’ Concrete Composite make-up layer, redeposited Period Modern Modern Modern Modern Modern Modern Modern

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