Radar scan unearth's Swansea's copper secrets

Experts from Swansea University will be using Ground Penetrating Radar technology to scan for historic artefacts buried underground over the course of time that could be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

IT was once the epicentre of the world's copper smelting industry. Now history hunters are due back on site at Swansea's Hafod Copperworks this week to discover more of its hidden secrets.

Experts from Swansea University will be using Ground Penetrating Radar technology to scan for historic artefacts buried underground over the course of time that could be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

It is the second time in a week the site has been in the spotlight. On Sunday it featured in an episode of Channel 4's Time Team.

Swansea Council is working with Swansea University for the Hafod Copperworks site to explore regeneration opportunities that would preserve and celebrate its industrial heritage.

Professor Huw Bowen, who is leading the project team on behalf of Swansea University, said: "The GPR will allow us to carry out even further surveys of the site and possibly unearth more artefacts of historic importance that may have been buried for well over a century.

"We're starting to take real steps forward on plans to breathe new life into a site that we all need to remember is of major international significance. It shows what can be achieved when organisations like Swansea University and Swansea Council work together for the benefit of the city."

Archaeologists often use GPR to survey sites of historic importance in the Middle East and the military have used the technology in the past to detect mines, unexploded ordnance and hidden tunnels.

Representatives from Swansea Council and Swansea University will be on site to meet a former Hafod Copperworks worker who will help them look in the right areas.

The use of the specialised equipment will build up to the start of a scheme that will include new tourist trails, a visitor gateway and an annual on-site event that will raise the profile of the copper industry and both its local and global history.

Gareth Sullivan, Swansea Council's cabinet member for economic regeneration and planning, said: "The Hafod and White Rock sites were featured on Channel 4's Time Team last weekend and the profile of the site has rarely been higher.

"Our work alongside the university will help regenerate the site and preserve it for tourists and future generations to enjoy."

Story generated by South Wales Evening Post, Thursday March 1st 2012