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Archaeology and Community Engagement in the time of Covid-19

Local school children Caerau Hillfort

CAER Heritage, is a collaborative partnership project between Cardiff University, Action in Caerau and Ely (‘ACE’ – a community development organisation in west Cardiff), Cardiff Council, local schools, community groups and residents, as well as some of the major heritage organisations in Wales (e.g. National Museum Wales, GGAT). The project focuses upon the research of Caerau Hillfort, Cardiff. This is one of the largest and most complex hillforts in the old county of Glamorgan, but until the instigation of our work had received almost no archaeological attention. Partly that is due to the general paucity of excavation at hillforts in southeast Wales, but it is also almost certainly a result of its location – the hillfort is nestled within the social housing estates of Caerau and Ely in western Cardiff, which are two of the most socially and economically challenged wards in Wales. However, the potential opportunities for using heritage to enhance social and economic well being was the basis for the development of CAER Heritage. From the outset, the aim of the project has been to use research of local heritage to create educational opportunities, break down barriers to educational progression, promote skills development and challenge negative perceptions of these communities.

Our work during the Covid-19 pandemic has been recognised by the CBA with the Marsh Award for Best Community Archaeology Project 2020, and the intention is to invest the prize money to further develop our Heritage Food project.

Source: CBAW Newsletter 61, Spring 2021

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