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Learn to be an Archaeologist 3: Conserving Caerau’s Finds

Level 0 (CQFW Level 3), 10 Credits.

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Did you visit the excavations at Caerau Hillfort this summer? Were you inspired to become an archaeologist? This is an exciting new course which will help you discover what happens to archaeological objects once the dig is over. Through stimulating classes and practical sessions you’ll learn how to identify archaeological objects and process real finds from Caerau Hillfort. You’ll also develop new skills and an understanding of the archaeological materials and how to help them survive for future generations. People who have completed the previous course ‘Digging Caerau Hillfort’ will find this course particularly useful.

Who is this course for?

Anyone with an interest in archaeology, conservation and history. It will be useful for you to have already taken Learn to be an Archaeologist 1 and 2, but there is no requirement for you to have done so to enrol on this course. All are very welcome!

Course structure

The course is taught in six, three-hour classroom sessions, delivered over the course of six weeks.

Session 1: General introduction to the course

Session 2: An introduction to the pottery of Caerau Hillfort and the information that can be gained from it, including a pottery handling session, followed by processing finds from Caerau.

Session 3: An introduction to prehistoric lithics and archaeological glass, including a lithics handling session, followed by processing finds from Caerau.

Session 4:  An introduction to archaeological bone and organics, including a discussion of conservation techniques of waterlogged materials and ethical issues surrounding human remains, followed by processing finds from Caerau.

Session 5:  An introduction to Iron Age and Roman metalwork, including its conservation and the examination of X-rays of ironwork recovered from excavations at Caerau, handling and processing finds from Caerau.  Includes Assessment 1.

Session 6:  In this finale session we will complete any remaining processing and packaging of the Caerau finds and discuss the findings we have made over the course. Students will present their posters to the group.  Includes Assessment 2.

Learning and Teaching

The course uses the following teaching and learning methods:


There will be no formal examinations but there will be two pieces of assessment:

Assessment 1 is a short class quiz on archaeological objects and materials. This will help to demonstrate that you have understood the basics of what objects are made of and how they deteriorate.

Assessment 2 is to produce a poster. You will select an object to photograph, identify and research. Your findings will be presented in the form of a poster and then presented to class in the final session.

Reading suggestions

The tutor will recommend books, articles and web sources, but the following texts will be useful:

Library and Computing Facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on

(029) 2087 0000.

Accessibility of Courses

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.

Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site or in Choices.  This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.