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Archaeology in action

14 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 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 In an ongoing project between Cardiff University and the Vale of Glamorgan Council archaeologists are assessing the unpublished archaeological archive, which will enable the community to investigate, learn about and take pride in this unique site and its surroundings which are of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).