Caerau ‘sandfort’ at Barry Island

CAER Studio lead artist Paul Evans adds shape to the ‘sandforts’ ramparts.

On Saturday 11th August CAER Studio artists joined forces with the Guerrilla Archaeology collective – and volunteers from Cardiff University – to create a huge scale model of Caerau hillfort, on the beach, in sand …

Featuring as part of the Barry Island ‘Storytelling Weekender’, we began work early, as soon as the tide allowed, measuring out the site and creating a scale drawing of the hillfort’s outline in the sand. Other members of the team helped distribute copies of our amazing (and FREE) ‘CAER Times’ newspaper to passers-by and visitors to the beach.

The serious work of shifting hundreds of kilos of sand to build the model to its scale height of 1m then began …

Shifting sand in wheelbarrows to create the ‘sandforts’ basic form – hard work!

After a few hours of steady work we had enough sand built up on the ‘plan shape’ to begun sculpting the details of the ‘sandfort’.

With the basic form of the ‘sandfort’ complete and to scale, Ian Dennis takes a much-needed break!

These details consisted of ramparts, entrances and other features based on a drawing from the People’s Collection Wales (RCAHMW drawing) showing plan and section of Caerau Hillfort, Ely.

Ian Dennis adds detail to the ‘sandfort’ – note CAER Studio flag in the background!
With details added, our scale model nears completion – Ian Dennis (left), Dylan Sutton (middle) and Paul Evans (right) add the final touches!

By now our ‘sandfort’ was starting to attract a considerable amount of attention! With our scale model complete, visitors to the beach and members of the CAER Studio/Guerilla Archaeology team were now ready to create their own ‘Iron Age sandforts’ in response.

Becci and Nicola’s Iron Age ‘sandfort’ note the exquisitely crafted ’round houses’ …

Our work here was done … and just in time because at 3pm the heavens opened and it was time to hurriedly pack up the van and leave the beach!

CAER Studio would like to thank everyone on the team who contributed to this excellent and immensely productive day:

From Cardiff University: Prof. Jacqui Mulville (Guerilla Archaeology), Ian Dennis (Guerilla Archaeology), Dr. Julia Best (Guerilla Archaeology) Dr. Oliver Davies (CAER Heritage Project) and our amazing volunteers – Joel Curzon, Tom Falvi, Jake Griffiths, Alex Palmer and Megan Williams.

From CAER Studio: Paul Evans, Imogen Higgins, Becci Holmes, Nicola Parsons, and Dylan Sutton.

Big thanks also to Viv Thomas for photographing the event. All photos © Vivian Paul Thomas 2018

FREE Copies of CAER Times are available from Our Place Dusty Forge 460 Cowbridge Rd W, Cardiff CF5 5BZ and Ely & Caerau Community Hub, Cowbridge Rd W, Ely CF5 5BQ



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