Erin Lloyd Jones is an archaeologist from Wales who specialises in late Prehistoric hillforts and has a wider passion for British heritage and culture.
Erin doesn’t just dig archaeology- she loves it, making sure that other people ‘dig it’ too. As a public engagement archaeologist, it’s her job to get people excited about the past. Roles with the National Trust, Bangor University, the award winning Landscape Partnership Scheme Heather and Hillforts and Cadw, the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Service, have enabled her to share her passion with both visitors to and residents of the United Kingdom.
She first hit the headlines when she formed a partnership with a London Gallery to exhibit and sell original Picasso & Matisse artworks at north east Wales National Trust property, Erddig. As well as arranging for the property to host Wrexham Food Festival, she also organised an exclusive evening banquet in the grounds; the seven course menu inspired by Edwardian menus stored in the archives at the site.
Her work for Heather and Hillforts has been highly acclaimed, using new technology to interpret ancient sites as well as traditional techniques. This included developing a ‘heritage car park’ using countryside crafts and inspiration from the rich archaeological landscape, awarded the Civic Trust’s Quayle Award for sympathetic design in an historic area. Working with a microbrewery, she helped devise a suite of craft ales, using ingredients from the heather-clad moorlands, named after the hillforts within the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Erin hit the international press when she devised the ‘Hillfort Glow’ experiment, working with over 200 volunteers, reconnecting communities with their local hillfort on ten sites across Wales and England, coming together at dusk to signal to one another using light. This helped raise awareness of the monuments, on a local scale and gathering international interest, exploring how the monuments sit within the landscape and how the hillforts may have connected with one another, long before Twitter and Snapchat!
Erin’s PhD research at Bangor University dug deeper into this concept, exploring dating evidence of the 100+ hillforts in north Wales and the borders, investigating visibility and whether view was important during site selection, around 2,500 years ago. Using traditional techniques such as excavation and geophysical surveys, paired with Geographical Information Systems, viewshed analysis and radiocarbon dating, she started to piece together the mysterious hillfort jigsaw, discovering more about why there are so many in this area of Britain and how they are all connected.
Erin worked for Cadw, the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Service, for over eight years. She was in her element working with the most outstanding historic monuments, such as castles, burial chambers, abbeys and historic houses, across the whole of Wales. The best thing about the three roles he held with Cadw was that all of them held an element of sharing the stories of these amazing places with the public. She left her final role with Cadw, as Senior Digital and Publications Manager, in May 2020, and shortly after she and her husband Rhodri welcomed their daughter Poppy into the world.
Now, in between exploring, research and working as the Stakeholder Engagement, Partnerships and Events Manager for Creative Wales, she is in her element sharing her passion for British heritage, traditions and culture through her infectious enthusiasm and fascinating stories – whether in person, digitally, on radio or tv – about the amazing places she works, lives and loves.