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21 June 2012
An exhibition showcasing work by south Wales’ schoolchildren who surveyed and excavated an unexplored Iron Age hillfort in Cardiff as part of a University-led project has been launched at the National History Museum of Wales.
The CAER (Caerau & Ely Rediscovering) heritage exhibition was launched on Monday 18th June and features models, stories and displays created by pupils from Fitzalan, Mary Immaculate and Glyn Derw high schools, about their time at the hill fort which is set within local social housing estates in Caerau and Ely.
The group of 90 students, along with members of the community are participating in the CAER project, led by the School of History, Archaeology and Religion.
The project aims to create a heightened sense of place for the people of Ely and Caerau as well as developing educational opportunities and challenging some unfounded stereotypes often ascribed to this part of Cardiff.
Pupils and community members have undertaken a geophysical survey of the hillfort, which was once a powerful stronghold of the Iron Age Silurian tribe. They have also excavated key areas of the site alongside Channel 4’s Timeteam in order to build a detailed picture of the history of this area. In addition, the schoolchildren also designed tribal logos and created a huge series of eco-graffiti artworks on the hillfort under the co-ordination of professional artist Paul Evans.
Dr Dave Wyatt from the School of History, Archaeology and Religion who co-directs the CAER project said: "Following their time at the hillfort as part of the CAER project, the school pupils have produced vibrant displays of their work highlighting details of the amazing heritage of this area.
"The project gives the pupils and community members a chance to get directly involved in archaeological research and to take part in a range of educational and fun activities such as Iron Age pottery workshops, artefact analysis and creative artwork. We hope that the CAER project will help them connect the past to the present, making the heritage of Ely and Caerau relevant and important for contemporary communities."
The exhibition launch ran in conjunction with the School of History, Archaeology and Religion’s Share Your Story event, a series of interactive activities and displays produced by postgraduates to show the ways in which the University can help other communities reconnect with their heritage.
Dr Wyatt added: "The Share Your Story event also acts as a showcase for other areas in South Wales, showing them the support Cardiff University can provide for heritage projects, the educational opportunities such projects can create, and how these initiatives can also help challenge unfounded stigmas."
As part of the event, pupils from the three participating schools were on hand to talk about their work at the hillfort and the exhibition was officially opened by Mark Drakeford, the Assembly Member for Cardiff West and Sian Price, series director of Channel 4’s Timeteam.
Mark Drakeford AM said: "It was a real pleasure to be at St Fagans on Monday. The hugely energetic launch event demonstrated, in miniature, the tremendous work which has gone on in Caerau and Ely over recent months. Nothing like this is possible without the contributions which all the different partners provide in making it a success. The Hill Fort is a genuinely important part of the history of South Wales. Now, with the involvement of local groups, the University and especially of local young people, there is a chance to demonstrate the many positive things which this part of the city has to offer."
The Share your Story exhibition will be on display at St Fagans when it will move to the Cardiff Story Museum in the Hayes, Cardiff. The event is made possible by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Connected Communities, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement.
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