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As mentioned in our recent article catching up on events in Caerau since Time Team left, Sue Brooke recently took the opportunity to speak with Dr. Oliver (Olly) Davis, who kindly agreed to take part in our Inside the Mind series.

Brief Bio:

Olly’s credentials include a BA in Archaelogy, an MA in British Prehistory and a PhD for an investigation of Iron Age communities in central and western Hampshire, all gained at Cardiff University.

He has worked for CADW, Dyfed Archaeological Trust and RCAHMW, and is currently co-director, along with Dr Dave Waytt, of the CAER Heritage Project.

His main research interests lie in the understanding of later prehistoric settlement (particularly hillforts), farming and social patterns through a consideration of landscape relationships identified through remote sensing techniques. He has taken a lead role in the development of LiDAR as an archaeological prospection tool in Wales and has published widely on the use of this technique for identifying archaeology. He is also particularly interested in the later prehistoric, Roman and early medieval settlement of Glamorgan and has undertaken extensive aerial reconnaissance and air photo mapping in the area.

As mentioned, he is a co-director of the CAER Heritage Project. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Caerau And Ely Rediscovering (CAER) Heritage Project is a collaborative project between Cardiff University, Ely and Caerau Communities First, local schools and local residents. The project is based around one of Cardiff’s most important, but little-known, archaeological sites, Caerau Iron Age hillfort, and seeks to engage local people and school children in their shared history and help challenge marginalisation.

Please visit the CAER Heritage Project website  to find out more about the project.

Olly Davis

The Ten Questions.

What sparked your interest in Archaeology?

When I was about 12 years old I had a computer game called ‘Civilization’ – you got to play as Vikings, Celts etc and build up your tribe from the Stone Age to the modern world – I was hooked on learning about the past from then on!

How did you get started?

I came to Cardiff University to study archaeology – the lectures were really interesting, but it was the excavations we were involved in at the start of each summer that really got me fascinated.

Who has most influenced your career?

It has to be Niall Sharples, my PhD supervisor and the man who taught me how to dig.

Which has been your most exciting project to date?

Only one answer here – definitely the CAER Heritage Project and our work at Caerau Hillfort.

What is your favourite British archaeological site… and why?

There are a few hillforts that are bigger and more spectacular, but the site I’m most passionate about is Caerau Hillfort – it’s one of the most significant sites in the whole of the Cardiff area, yet it’s never been explored…until now!

What is your biggest archaeological/heritage regret?

Never getting to dig at Danebury.

If you could change one thing about current heritage protection legislation, what would it be?

Having a single Historic Environment Record in Wales – it’s a nonsense having both the NMR and HERs as we do at the moment – it’s confusing for the public, researchers and developers alike.

If you were able to address Parliament for 30 seconds on archaeology what would you say?

Once it’s gone, it’s gone – archaeology doesn’t grow back.

If your career hadn’t worked out, what would you be doing now?

I’d have to have worked outside and been allowed to be as scruffy as I am now, so maybe a builder

Away from the ‘day job’, how do you relax?

My girlfriend would say I never relax…except perhaps after a cider or two

Many thanks to Olly (and to Sue). Previous articles in this series can be found here,  or by using our Search Bar, and the term ‘Inside the Mind’.

If you work in community archaeology or heritage protection and would like to take part, or have a suggestion for a suitable willing subject, please contact us.

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