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Summary of an archaeology work placement, 2022-23

David Hughes (Student Work Placement), 13 November 2023

There is often some competition from people interested in archaeology to participate in Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales’ student work placements, and I was delighted to secure a placement to help the museum assess and catalogue human remains. 

Joining a small group of individuals on placement, some of whom are students from Cardiff’s Archaeological Science course, we worked alongside the Curator to assess skeletons from the early medieval cemetery at Llandough, near Cardiff.  The excavations in the early 1990s produced in excess of a thousand skeletons, which have remained in Amgueddfa Cymru’s archive awaiting full examination. 

We learnt how the skeletons must be stored and handled in accordance with ethical standards for dealing with human remains.  Each skeleton is individually assessed for completeness, and sometimes it is possible to identify the sex and observe evidence of age and disease.  This information is recorded for entry into the Amgueddfa Cymru catalogue and will be useful in future research of human remains and the Llandough site, and contribute to the study of medieval archaeology more generally. 

Examining human remains provokes reflection on the lives of medieval people and, whilst it may not be for everyone, it does bring us closer to the past in a special way.  The work placement was an excellent learning experience.  The Curator, Adelle was very patient with all the questions raised by the student placements and generous in sharing her knowledge and skills.  It is a great way for Amgueddfa Cymru to engage with the public, and I am grateful for the opportunity to see behind the scenes and contribute to the work of the museum.  I hope Amgueddfa Cymru will continue to offer such opportunities for those who would like to get involved.


For more information on work placements for students, visit the 'Get Involved' pages of the website. It is possible to sign up to a mailing list to hear about any placements when they are advertised.

Chloe Ward

Volunteer Co-ordinator
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