Archaeology Wales carried out a Watching Brief on land at Parc Tawe, Swansea, at the request of ISG Plc. The work was undertaken as a condition of the planning permission for the construction of a drive-thru restaurant facility, outlined by City and County of Swansea, under guidance from the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust.
The site was situated in an area formerly known as ‘The Island’ with possible Scandinavian early medieval activity, as evidence since the 15th Century suggests Swansea may derive from a Scandinavian personal name ‘Sweyn/Sveinn’, and ‘eye’ meaning inlet or island. The river Tawe formally ran to the west of the site, alongside the strand. During the medieval period and through into the early 19th century Swansea largely developed on higher ground along the western banks of this river. Early 19th century maps indicate the site area was lightly developed by this time, comprising largely fields with some industrial development along the banks of the river. By the late 19th century the site lay on the edge of Albion dry dock and Richardson’s patent slip. The docks were closed in 1930s and the area suffered heavy bombardment during the Second World War. Following the war, the area was redeveloped, and again in the late 1980s with a retail park, with car-parking laid out over the current site.
The watching brief was carried out by staff from Archaeology Wales on an area that measured approximately 30m by 25m. Monitoring took place during the excavation of foundation trenches that were 0.8m wide and cut to a depth of 0.85m below ground level. No finds, features or deposits of archaeological interest were revealed during any phases of the associated ground works.
A detailed report was produced for the client that included photographic records made during the work. Approval of the report by the LPA’s archaeological advisors led to the subsequent discharge of the Condition.