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Cardiff University showcases archaeology in action

13 July 2007

Archaeologists from Cardiff University excavating sites on the Isles of Scilly are inviting members of the public to observe their work as part of National Archaeology Week.

A team of staff and students from the School of History and Archaeology is working on the small group of islands known for their archaeological richness, throughout the month of July and will incorporate the Council for British Archaeology’s annual celebration into their plans.

The group, led by senior lecturer Jacqui Mulville is investigating and conserving a number of areas on four islands. On St. Martin, home to the biggest tomb on the islands, Knackyboy Cairn, archaeologists will explore a Bronze Age entrance grave before cataloguing 2,000 year old sites on the uninhabited islands of Tean and Samson. On St. Agnes a geophysical survey will reveal if the island was the last resting place of 1,450 sailors who drowned with the loss of HMS Association in 1707. The findings will form part of the commemorations for the 300th anniversary of this British naval disaster.

During National Archaeology Week (14 -22 July) there will be opportunities for volunteers to participate in the projects on the islands, including guided tours, instruction in archaeological recording techniques and vegetation management, and illustrated talks. Students from the School are also recording their experiences in an on-line blog with an opportunity for younger children to follow the project via their own ‘Scilly Kid’ blog.

In Wales, the School will be involved in events at Cosmeston Medieval Village. In an ongoing project between Cardiff University and the Vale of Glamorgan Council archaeologists are assessing the unpublished archaeological archive, which will enable the community to investigate, learn about and take pride in this unique site and its surroundings which are of significant historical and archaeological interest.

In a separate project Dr Peter Guest, a Lecturer in Roman Archaeology at the School is excavating a site at the Roman Fortress in Caerleon. Following a recent geophysical survey by Cardiff students, Dr Guest and his team will examine occupation within the fortress, and assess the extent of previous investigations into the site. The excavations are being carried out throughout July in conjunction with the Institute of Archaeology at University College London, Cadw and Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales).


Notes to Editors:

1. Cardiff School of History and Archaeology

The School of History and Archaeology carries out teaching and research in four main areas: History and Welsh History; Ancient History; Archaeology; and Archaeology Conservation.

History and Welsh History offers a broad survey of the main aspects from the medieval period to the twentieth century. Areas of expertise include: Medieval England, the Crusades, military religious orders; early modern England and Wales; early modern Spain; and modern Indian historiography and gender history. The broad area of Europe and the British Empire in the Twentieth Century encompasses such research themes as: modern Germany; biological racism and ethics; the Right in France; and the Wilson era in British politics. Areas of expertise in Welsh history include early modern Wales; the gentry; industrialisation; popular culture and Welsh emigration/dispersal (with particular reference to North America)

Ancient History focuses on the social and economic history of the ancient world, with particular emphasis on: warrior elites; warfare and the formation; organisation and social effects of armies; violence and its control inside ancient societies; issues of identity, especially gender history and ethnicity; and slavery and other systems of labour and land exploitation.

Archaeology offers expertise in two main areas: the archaeology of Britain, Europe and the Mediterranean 5000BC-1000AD; and studies in ancient technology and the analysis of materials and conservation science.

The Archaeology Conservation degree scheme offered by the School is one of only two such undergraduate courses in Britain. It attracts conservation commissions from throughout the UK, giving students valuable hands-on experience. The teaching of Ancient History and Archaeology was assessed as "Excellent" in the recent national assessment of teaching quality in UK universities.

2. Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, the University today combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities.

Visit the University website at:

3. The work on the Isles of Scilly is part of the ‘Islands in a Common Sea’ project: a partnership between Cardiff University’s school of History and Archaeology and Cornwall County Council’s Historic Environment Service which seeks to reinvigorate archaeological research into the Isles of Scilly.

4. Pictures available on request

5. Web blogs from the project can be found at and

Further Information:

Victoria Dando
Public Relations Office/ Swyddfa Cysylltiadau Cyhoeddus
Cardiff University/ Prifysgol Caerdydd.
Tel/ Ffon: 029 2087 4731
Email/ E-bost: