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CPAT - Windows on the Past

Introduction

In this review we look at some of the excavations and survey projects which CPAT has carried out during the first two decades since we were founded in 1975, and how our work has added to the history of Wales during the last ten thousand years.

These cover a broad span of human history from earlier prehistoric times up to the recent past. In many cases these have become regionally and even nationally important in illustrating for the first time particular types of sites or developments in Clwyd and Powys. This may give the impression that we are already well on the way to understanding the past. In reality, we have only just scratched the surface. It is part of the continuing excitement of archaeology that there is still so much more to be found. Only now are we beginning to see more clearly some of the questions which we need to ask about how people lived in the past and identify priorities for the next twenty five years.

We are constantly reminded that archaeology is a scarce and unrenewable resource. Sites are continually being lost or damaged to meet present-day needs for housing, communications, industry, energy and food production. We have a duty to preserve the best and most representative of what has survived, but it is clearly unrealistic to think that everything can be saved. It is inevitable that most of CPAT’s efforts have therefore been in the field of conservation rather than excavation, and rescue archaeology rather than research excavation. Indeed, many of CPAT’s major achievements — the development of Sites and Monuments Records and the establishment of Development Control procedures with local authorities and other agencies — are consequently covered by other sections of this Website.

A wide range of different techniques are employed by archaeologists today in addition to excavation to help identify, describe and interpret the past. In the following pages we have tried to highlight the contributions made by many different disciplines and specialists, including aerial photography, radiocarbon dating, and geophysical survey. Geological, botanical, and metallurgical studies have also added considerably to our understanding.

CPAT places considerable emphasis on the publication of excavation and fieldwork projects , but as can be seen from the select bibliography at the end of this section, reports have appeared largely as articles in specialist journals or other forms of publications which are not easily accessible to the general public. This is why we have produced this Website section, which we hope will make both ourselves and the history we study better known.

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Mesolithic and early Neolithic


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