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Investigating Tintern Abbey

A Five Year Conservation Project Begins!

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that together with our friends at Black Mountains Archaeology we are supporting Cadw with an ambitious five year conservation programme at Tintern Abbey. The Abbey Church, which has stood for over 750 years, is in need of some help! The sandstone structure is beginning to decay and urgent conservation is needed. To enable rather complicated scaffolding to be designed we are supporting Cadw by investigating what impact the proposed scaffolding may have on the structure and below ground remains.


Together with Richard Lewis (Black Mountains Archaeology) and David Robinson, the leading expert on Tintern Abbey and the Cistercians in Wales, we will be implementing a significant programme of excavation, building analysis, and historical research. The results of the excavations will be made publicly available at the end of the project and will greatly enhance what’s known about Tintern and aid its future management and conservation.


Ross Cook, Buildings Archaeologist and Dendrochronologist at ArchaeoDomus, said:


“The nature and scope of the investigations at Tintern are unprecedented and will provide the most comprehensive record of a Scheduled Monument in Wales.


The programme of buildings recording will explore every inch of the monument and create a ‘living’ database of information relating to its pre- and post-conservation condition and historical development. This will continue to be added to in the future to support the management of this beautiful and important site. It’s a very exciting project to be a part of and great to work alongside Cadw and a wonderful team including acknowledged specialists in the history of the Cistercians and masonry conservators.


The excavations have already helped improve our understanding of the construction and development of the Abbey Church in both the pre- and post-Reformation medieval world. Both myself and Black Mountains Archaeology look forward to sharing our findings in the coming months and years.”


Richard Lewis, Managing Director, Black Mountains Archaeology, said:


“We are very excited to be supporting Cadw with this ambitious, landmark conservation programme for Tintern Abbey’s Great Church. This will be the first time that the Abbey Church will have been investigated in such detail since the Ministry/Office of Works carried out their landscaping and excavations nearly 100 years ago and offers an exciting opportunity for us to learn more about the magnificent building.


We are currently investigating a large area of the church and we are recording the monument using the latest modern digital archaeological recording techniques. We are using cutting edge photogrammetry and laser methods, together with bespoke digital software to record the investigations in 3D. This will provide a detailed, holistic and lasting record for the future.


So far we have recovered many interesting artifacts from the late 13th century to the modern period. These include, fragments of rare medieval window glass, floor tiles and pottery, and coins from Henry III (1216-72) to George III (1760-1820), through to the Victorian and Edwardian Periods.”


You can learn more about this amazing project on Cadw’s website here and below.

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