What is archaeology?

Image copyright of Clwyd-Powys Archaeological 

Archaeology is the study of people in the past based on the physical remains left behind.  Anything that people in the past have left behind can tell us about the past and our ancestors’ lives.  These remains can be buried in the ground or can be upstanding, such as surviving earthworks, structures or buildings.  They can include very small objects such as coins or a broken piece of pottery, or they can be very large such as a hillfort or a castle, it can even include the remains of plants and animals.

Archaeology covers the whole of human history from early humans through to the present day, and it involves much more than just digging holes.  Many of the archaeological sites within the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park survive as physical structures, above ground remains or earthworks (lumps, bumps and hollows in the ground surface) that are still visible today.

Why is archaeology important?

The archaeology within the Brecon Beacons National Park is very special and important.

  • It reveals information about the past and
    tells us about our ancestors and their lives.
  • It  makes an important contribution to the special qualities and
    landscape of the National Park, bringing the stories of the landscape to life.
  • Archaeological sites are valued by local communities and people from further afield because they help shape sense of identity, and often have associations with people, memories, beliefs and events.
  • People often use archaeological sites in their recreation, sometimes consciously to learn about the past and visit a particular site; but also sometimes as a backdrop to other events, such as walking the dog.
  • Archaeological sites are also important because they are often
    ecologically significant places as well.