Touch of the 'Time Team' going on at the National Botanic Garden of Wales
21st July 2011
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Botanic Garden traces its roots!

David Hardy  head of marketing and communications at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales has just sent over this press release:

There is a touch of the 'Time Teams' going on at the National Botanic Garden of Wales over the next two weeks. Following a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant of £45,400 the Garden has embarked on a journey back in time to explore the medieval history of its grounds. Teaming up with experts from Swansea and Trinity St David universities, staff and up to 30 enthusiastic volunteers  will be digging to uncover the early settlement on the Llanarthne estate.

Project leader Professor David Austin, of Trinity St David, commented: “This is a very exciting and timely opportunity, coinciding with the two-week-long British Festival of Archaeology. We have known for some time that the Garden is home to a lost medieval mansion of significant historical importance. It was the home of the Middletons, a Welsh family that was a major force in the land, especially in later Elizabethan times. Fragments of roof tile found on the site in the late 1990s confirm the presence of an elite dwelling place. Now we will have the chance to find out more of what’s there.”

Garden Director, Dr Rosie Plummer added: “This is a fantastic development for us. As one of the youngest national botanic gardens, we have had to spend our early years thinking about the present and the future. This is a real opportunity to learn more about the history that we know is out there, waiting to be uncovered. Most exciting of all is the prospect that the original Middleton Hall, situated on what is now a National Nature Reserve, was surrounded by formal gardens, ponds and fountains which will extend the tradition of horticulture here back a further 150 years. We are grateful to all who have been involved in bringing this together, the Universities of Swansea and Trinity St David, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Royal Commission, Dyfed Archaeological Trust, the Countryside Council for Wales and of course the stunning support of our teams of volunteers.”

Jennifer Stewart, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Wales, added: “Archaeology is a great way to unearth hidden histories.  This is a fantastic project which will provide volunteers, young and old, with an opportunity to try their hand at something new and will help add to the visitors' experience at the National Botanic Gardens.”

The “dig” takes place from 16th to 31st July and the Garden and the site will be open to visitors daily from 10am to 6pm.  Read the daily 'dig' Blog here


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