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Digging the ‘Diff 2014 – Can 2,000 people explore 2,000 years of history in just one month?

Archaeologists want 2,000 people to ‘dig and ‘Diff’ and explore one of Wales’s biggest ancient hillforts this summer.

Last year, 1,000 people joined a summer season of excavations and explorations on the Iron Age Caerau fort in a Cardiff suburb.

This year, organisers hope twice as many people will explore the city’s prehistoric past and experience cutting-edge archaeological research.

Local volunteers and school students will link up with a local organisation, Action in Caerau and Ely (ACE), for a week of activities to unearth the past and shape the future of the local community.

Running from 30 June to 25 July, the Caerau And Ely Rediscovering Heritage Project (CAER Heritage project) will see volunteers working with professionals from Cardiff University to excavate a sizeable section of the site, digging down to unearth their heritage while learning new skills and building strong local bonds.

Caerau hillfort is one of Cardiff’s largest and most important heritage sites, although few people are aware it even exists.  This year’s ‘big dig’ follows remarkable discoveries made during the first major community excavation in July 2013. Excavations unearthed:

  1. 5 large Iron Age roundhouses, a roadway, extensive assemblages of Iron-age and Roman pottery and a decorated Iron Age glass bead.

  2. Evidence showing occupation at the site stretched from the Bronze Age through to the late Roman era and beyond.

  3. Burnt seeds and well-preserved animal bones which show the prehistoric occupants of Cardiff kept cattle, sheep, pigs and horses and grew oats, barley and wheat.

CAER Heritage Project co-director Olly Davis said: ‘During the 2013, dig more than 1,000 local people visited the dig while it was happening, and 120 more were directly involved in the archaeological work. Our challenge this year is to attract twice as many visitors and to get the people of South Wales to value this amazing site and celebrate the remarkable communities which live in its shadow.

‘The CAER Heritage Project welcomes the contribution and involvement of everyone from all walks of life. Local people are warmly invited to visit and get involved in this second season. To get involved, visit the CAER Heritage project website ( or contact us on Facebook or Twitter.’

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