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Maintenance on site: excavating an Iron Age roundhouse

Monday, 10 June, 2013 to Friday, 21 June, 2013
Steve Burrow
Dr Oliver Davis, Caer Heritage Project, Cardiff University
Number of Participants / Visitors / Audience: 
15 participants

After over twenty years, our old Celtic Village finally closed to the public in February 2013. This was partly due to the natural effects of time, wind and rain which had badly damaged the largest of our three roundhouses; and partly because of the decision to redevelop our site, with plans to build a new village in 2014.

The closure of the village gave us an opportunity to excavate the old roundhouses in order to determine how closely their ground plans mirrored those of the original sites, and also to find out in more detail why the largest roundhouse had suffered so much from damp and decay.

The project to excavate our largest roundhouse, Moel y Gerddi, was set up with Cardiff University and had two main aims: to answer research questions, and to train members of the Caerau and Ely communities in preparation for their own excavation of an Iron Age hillfort, due to take place in summer 2013.

During the two week excavation we cleared the site of the Moel y Gerddi house, identified features and half sectioned every posthole. In addition, a section was excavated across the full width of the house, through the central fire place. All finds were recorded in three dimensions using a total station, and soil samples were taken on a 1m grid for future analysis using PXRF.

The excavation was very successful with over a dozen people contributing over the two weeks and with several trainees going on to work on subsequent excavations.


The ground plan of the Moel y Gerddi...
Taking soil sample for future PXRF analysis