Plane Table Survey at Machynys

Plane Table Survey  - A portable instrument consisting essentially of a board or small table that has an alidade or sighting rule on it and can be levelled and can hold a sheet of paper in a fixed position, which together with a means for plotting distances is used for drawing a map while in the field.

In autumn 2012 members of Llanelli Community Heritage attended an Arfordir training workshop at the town's newly refurbished library. It was followed up by a practical exercise on the site of the former Machynys House. Arfordir' is a project aimed at encouraging volunteers to help record, monitor and understand the archaeology and heritage of the ever changing Welsh coastline.

The day commenced in the Fred Roberts Room of the Llanelli Library, where the volunteers studied a number of old maps and charts of the coastline of Llanelli. The focus was on Machynys, where over the years the coastline, and the former island of Machynys, has experienced many changes and different types of occupation. The discussion centred on the former medieval farm, mansion and heavy industry that transformed the geography of the land.

Following lunch at LCH's usual meeting place at the function room of The Metropolitan, the group headed down to the coast of Machynys. The practical session included recording and surveying in the field. Menna Bell from the Dyfed Archaeological Trust, our course tutor for the day, took us through intricacies of Plane Table Surveying. This included the practical uses of a plane table and an alidade. Although the weather was dry, the later part of the day turned out to be quite windy. Nevertheless, the whole exercise proved to be a worthwhile and educational day of archaeology.