Life After Uni

7 June 2020

We’re taking this day to celebrate the diversity in careers that our alumni have or had! An archaeological education gives students the tools to succeed in a variety of experiences, from archaeological practice to teaching to business management and beyond! Please, add to our list by putting your story in the comments below. Let us know what the most useful thing you learned at Cardiff was, and your career highlights!

9 thoughts on “Life After Uni”

  1. Catherine Johns makes the very valid point that so many Cardiff graduates became influential in British archaeology in the late 20th century. After leaving Cardiff in 1965 , I spent a year at Brasenose College, Oxford, researching Roman Britain, but then decided on a career in business. Some years later I was invited to use my marketing experience and join the founders of RESCUE, and eventually succeeded Martin Biddle as Chairman. It was fascinating to meet so many archaeologists who previously had been merely names on reading lists. But the big thrill was seeing how many of my Cardiff contemporaries had become leading lights of the discipline. In no particular order the Who’s Who included Anna Ritchie (nee Bachelier), Vivien Swan (nee Bishop),Jeffery Davies, Eric Talbot, Dai Morgan Evans, Mike Ponsford, The Aldhouse -Greens, Cherry Lavell, Angela Care Evans, and of course Bruce Fry, Colin Burgess and Catherine herself.
    There could be no better testament to Cardiff archaeology in the early and late sixties than these names, some of whom, sadly, have now passed away.

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  2. Reading Kaye’s (Johns, as we knew Catherine) comments on drinking bouts at the Blacksmith’s Arms in Lampeter and subsequent hangovers reminded me that Mike used to complain that Jeff Cocks and I were spending too many days removing the top soil at the Llanio dig. He wisely ignored my retort about surface finds. Seeing Colin’s and Mike’s (Ponsford) names mentioned elsewhere also brings back happy memories. The other in the 1960-2 trio, Gareth Davies, also made a very significant contribution to archaeology. Gareth very sadly now not in good health.
    – Les Phillips OBE and former FSA.

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  3. Can’t resist adding something else. Another lesson I have learnt since 1962 is that archaeologists make the very best of friends. Gareth and I are still in regular contact. Seems only yesterday, well, perhaps last week, that we were enjoying a pint of HB in The Woodville, digging at Cefn Rhigos and ensuring that Leslie (Alcock) did not fall off the end of the plank he was photographing from. The three of us being driven to Corbridge by Mike (Jarrett) in his A35 van in the summer of 1960 an experience that has never left me. -Les Phillips

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  4. Les — so sorry to hear that Gareth is in poor health. Give him my good wishes. Hope you are well.
    I thought of mentioning Mike driving that ghastly, rickety van myself. Also Richard’s rather erratic driving on the Wiltshire trip in his VW van, pointing out distant barrows rather than keeping his eyes on the road…


  5. I am a little bit concerned that Mike Jarrett might appear in unsuspecting minds as a motoring luddite. Far from it. When I arrived at University Hall as a fresher in 1962, my attention was drawn to a sparkling red MGB droptop roadster with all the toys (accessories) parked outside. Upon enquiry, I was told it belonged to one of the resident wardens, who lectured in Archaeology.
    Inevitably driven with the hood down, accompanied by cries from Penylan residents of “there he goes”, Mike would set off to Cathays Park every morning , pausing only to give a lift to the lucky student standing at the head of the trolley bus queue. Matching red sweater and black leather trousers completed the ensemble. The MG was impressive indeed parked next to Leslie’s maroon Vespa scooter, and the Prof’s VW Camper Bus.
    Over the years, as Les notes above, Mike became one of my firmest friends, but this initial impression of an eccentric, senatorial , sports car enthusiast remains with me always.

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  6. Will pass on to Gareth, Kaye. We’re fine and as vulnerables remaining indoors as much as possible. It is now peaking here in South Africa. Yes, Prof easily distracted on that Grand Tour. Surprised he didn’t attempt to drive up Silbury Hill. I recall the excellent rainbow trout dinner he treated us to in Salisbury. And Leslie’s salmon lunch in Hay-on-Wye. Mike invited Jeff Cocks and I for supper and too much mulsum wine at University Hall when he doing the dig in front of Cardiff Castle. Heady gastronomic days. Last time you and I met was in 1984 outside the BM when I was doing a year at the Institute of Education. David Wilson, who I had met in Spain at the Council arranged Henry Moore exhibition, had invited me for a g+t. Maybe we had two! What enjoyment this week provides in wandering down memory lanes and renewing friendships. Warmest regards – cofion cynnes iawn ferch o Sir Benfro a Hayes. Les


  7. Thoroughly enjoying these reminiscences and discovering the distinguished contribution Cardiff graduates have made to the profession. A delight also to hear from my exact contemporary (1962-65) at the then University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, Graham Thomas. Hello again, Graham.
    Two memories from Part 1 (as it then was) Archaeology (1962/63).
    First, Mike Jarrett returning a student essay, held dangling from his fingers and at arm’s length, with the comment, ‘Mr X, I wouldn’t touch this with a disinfected barge-pole’.
    I shall preserve Mr X’s anonymity (and, no, it wasn’t me, honest).
    Second, and more archaeologically, Prof Atkinson displaying his ancient finger ring (turquoise ?) and musing on the puzzle it might prove when excavated in association with a 20th century skeleton.
    After Part 1 forsook Archaeology (other than as a hobby) for English/History. Following a postgraduate year in Birmingham I went into librarianship eventually retiring as Director of Library Services for, well, Cardiff University.

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  8. G’Day Steve from lockdown Queensland and congratulations on your own distinguished career. This wonderful site certainly gives the lie to “If you can remember the sixties, you weren’t really there”. Whatever the advances in
    digital learning and teaching brought forward by the pandemic, it is unlikely that future students will enjoy the
    memories that the post -Corbett Road cohort of Cardiff archaeology share. A big thank you again to the present day team that have made all this possible.

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  9. Hi from Pam Torrington (nee Quennell) from covid free New Zealand. I was in Cardiff from 1966 to 1970 during Mike Jarrett Leslie Alcock and Bill Mannings time, with RJC as professor. Contemporaries were Kevin Greene, Stephen Green, Miranda Aldhouse, Jenny Price, and many more. Dug at Usk and was there in 1968 during the summer when the whole site was flooded! We were all paid for days while the site was pumped out by the prison guards from the adjacent prison. We had volunteers from the USA on the dig who were draft dodgers from the Vietnam war, and several students from briefly liberated Czechoslovakia during the 1968 Dubjec revolution. I became a teacher and taught Archaeoligy A Level, as well as being for many years, a WEA lecturer in Archaology. I have returned to my native New Zealand to retire only to find Lady Ayleen Fox spent her last years here comparing Iron Age hillforts with Maori hillforts, small world.


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