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Romans and reducing recidivism: Archaeology, social benefit, and working with offenders in Wales (Part 1)Claims that public and community archaeology can help ‘change lives’ have recently come under criticism. Challenging these critiques, this article explores how archaeology can be socially beneficial in the rehabilitation of offenders. Using a case study from South Wales, the article demonstrates how a prison-based outreach project can offer an innovative trajectory for public archaeology, highlighting the links between archaeology and political agendas. The article challenges the concept of ‘archaeologist-as-social-worker’ and considers the successes and limitations of such an approach, including the challenges of measuring impact. Ultimately, it demonstrates that archaeology-based activities can provide positive life experiences for offenders but only through a successful partnership between heritage and offender management specialists, as part of a wider programme of support and intervention.