Cultural heritage was carefully considered right back to the early design phase of the Caernarfon and Bontnewydd bypass – and it proved valuable with a few surprise discoveries made.
The archaeology discovered by the Balfour Beatty Jones Bros Joint Venture provides a journey through the history of Gwynedd from the Mesolithic Period – some 10,000 years ago – to recent times with evidence of every major period discovered along the route.
Finds made included a Neolithic polished stone axe, which would have been used by early farmers to clear woodland, a section of the Roman road from Segontium to the Conwy Valley, and an early medieval settlement near Dinas.
A hollowed-out tree trunk, which may have been a re-used canoe, was found under a Bronze Age burnt mound – a place where water would have been heated by dropping hot stones into troughs of water – near the Bethel Roundabout. A small cremation cemetery, also dating from the Bronze Age was found nearby.
Hefin Lloyd-Davies, contracts director for Jones Bros, said: “It’s important to us as a company to respect the heritage of every area we work in.
“As a North Wales-based business, it was fascinating to see the archaeology excavated during the initial clearance of the route.
“It makes you take a step back and remember that there have been thousands of years of life before us.”
Archaeological artefacts are comparatively rare with scientific assessment and analysis of the material recovered ongoing. The work, which will take a number of years to complete, will contribute to a better understanding of the history of the communities along the route over the last 10,000 years.
Once the analysis is completed, the artefacts will be deposited in Storiel, Bangor – the local museum for Gwynedd.