April 29, 2021

Darganfod-Discovery 2021: Dr Oliver Davis (with Prof Niall Sharples)

Dr Oliver Davis of Cardiff University (in conjunction with Prof Niall Sharples) on ‘Excavations at Caerau Hillfort, Cardiff, 2012-19: from the Neolithic to the Normans’. (CAA Research Fund project)

Caerau Hillfort, Cardiff, is one of the largest and most architecturally complex in south-east Wales. Since 2012, Cardiff University have been undertaking excavations and other research and activity at the site with the local community. The community engagement aspect (CAER Heritage) has won several major national awards including the Times Higher Education Award (2017) for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community, and is now delivering a major National Lottery Heritage Grant infrastructural project at the site. This presentation, however, concentrates on reviewing the research findings.  Five seasons of excavation have revealed a complex multi-period site. A major discovery has been the identification of a previously unknown Neolithic causewayed enclosure on the hill.  Such sites are extremely rare in Wales and where excavated, such as Banc Du, Pembrokeshire, have produced little material culture. By contrast, Caerau appears to be materially rich and the ceramic assemblage is particularly significant. The presentation also outlines the Iron Age occupation of the site which appears long-lived and intensive. Finally, the sequence of boundary construction is considered which intriguingly suggests significant refortification in the early Medieval period.