INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY A study of some remains of past mining activity in the Upper Tawe and Twrch Valleys By DR. W. G. THOMAS Assistant Keeper, Department of Industry, National Museum of Wales INTRODUCTION THIS paper is a summary of the notes prepared in connection with the one-day school held by the Brecknock Society at Ystradgynlais* when the theme was Industrial Archaeology. It is in two parts. The first part deals briefly with the history of mining in the area and is not by any means a complete historical survey. It is intended as a background for a study of the particular sites that could be visited by the school in the short time available. The second part is a description of some of the visible remains that can still be seen on the sites selected for this exercise. The area covered (Fig. i), includes one of the two parts of the South Wales Coalfield within the County of Brecknock. It is the western or anthracite part, extending from Ystradgynlais to Abercrave. It has been necessary, however, to include a few sites outside the county for reasons of expediency in achieving the objects of the school; they were easily accessible and better known, and most helpful in stimulating interest in the much needed task of recording such sites within the county. At the same time the choice of sites facilitated the brief study of the historical development of the area as a whole. I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND The first colliery in the area was opened in 1758, above Taren Gwyddon. The coal from here was sent to Mynachlog and Llansamlet on horseback. Farther up the valley, coal was mined in 1770 at Lefel Flook or Gwaun- clawdd as it was known later, near the Castle Hotel, Abercrave. The coal was carried out in baskets fitted on the backs of children who made several journeys in the course of a shift. It was then conveyed on horseback to the furnaces at Neath. In 1797, Edward Martin, a noted Swansea mining man, came to Cwm- twrch and investigated a coal seam on the North East side of the valley. ii September 1965.