Thursday, 31 March 2011

MARCH 2011

The weather has been fantastic allowing me to go on various walks in my area. My favourite is Barclodiad y Gawres, which is only down the road from my home. I like to take in the 360ᴼ panoramic view around me when on the top – scanning the Snowdonia range all the way down to Bardsey Island and then in the opposite direction, along the coast towards Holyhead Mountain. This picture of Awen, my granddaughter however, was taken on a windy day last October.

Barclodiad y Gawres is the remains of a decorated passage grave from about 2,500 BC. Its Welsh name means “the giantess’ apron” – the legend describes a giantess flying over from Ireland and dropping her apronful of stones here! I rather think it must have been a witch giantess, as the remains of what one associates with witches cauldron were excavated on the site, such as the remains of a toad, eel, shrew, mouse, grass snake and a hare. You can find all about the site on the web. Like in the picture I took, you can peer into the inner chamber through the locked bar gate. However, If you wish to go inside the inner chamber, you will have to do a prior booking by phoning the Wayside Stores ( 01407 810153 ). They hold the key and will meet you there during any of these allocated opening times:

A letter appeared in the local Anglesey Mail this month, the person demanding that the National Museum should return all the Llyn Cerrig Bach artefacts back to Anglesey. There are two sides to every story, as they say, and I felt I should make my view known in a reply letter, for which I received only positive feedback. This is what I wrote:

“As a retired teacher and the daughter of William Roberts, whose decision to dredge Llyn Cerrig Bach resulted in the discovery the artefacts, I wish comment on two articles in last week’s Mail.

Over the years, I have been in discussion with various curators at the National Museum in Cardiff, regarding returning some of the Llyn Cerrig Bach artefacts. It has become clear to me, that they will never be in a position to be able to return the main original items. Along the years, these have always been on display in permanent exhibitions in our National Museum, as they are at present. This is because they have by now become world famous in the field of archaeology, with visitors, not only from the UK, but all over the globe coming to view them. We have been able to have a number of artefacts back on loan over the years, but like in the National Museum, they had to be viewed in humidity controlled glass cabinets. I myself have put on permanent display in Oriel Ynys Môn, three Llyn Cerrig Bach artefacts that were donated to my father and these have to be displayed as such, for their preservation.

I have spent many years presenting their story to schools and adult groups. About three years ago, I realised that the best asset for explaining the Llyn Cerrig Bach heritage on Anglesey, would be to have excellent replicas made of the main items from the hoard. This is because replicas can be handled and examined, rather than being observed as originals in a glass cabinet. The National Museum in Cardiff gave Oriel Ynys Môn, shortly after its opening, a replica of the famous gang chain, which it still has. I have taken this amazing chain to all my presentations and this has always been the highlight of the event. (pictures prove this on my blog). I could not have done this with originals. I have managed to raise over £4,000 towards the production of more quality replicas. This money has been handed over to Oriel Ynys Môn. Pat West, the Principal, assures me that their production will be starting soon this year. I agree entirely with her article in your paper, that the island’s heritage needs to be presented in a realistic way. I shall be thrilled when these valuable replicas are made.

There is a hologram of the crescentic plaque due to come on tour to Oriel Ynys Môn from Llandudno museum in May. It seems already viewers are having difficulty in recognising the original from this 3D hologram because of the excellent modern production techniques available today. Sean Harris has made fascinating animated films with computer graphics, with various Anglesey school children contributing to the production. This depicts the story of Llyn Cerrig Bach and also other famous sites on Anglesey.

I visited the Tutunkhamun exhibition in Manchester this month. Here again the replicas were as good as the originals and much more accessible. Tourists from everywhere flocked to see them even though they were replicas.

As you can see, a lot of us have been working really hard for many years, transferring the story about the Llyn Cerrig Bach artefacts to adults and children alike.”

Those of you, who have followed my blog, will know that I have been campaigning for years by now to have such replicas produced.

Last week, I had a special treat of giving my talk to a group of people who have succeeded in becoming fluent Welsh speakers. Brenda Wyn Jones, their tutor deserves such praise, as she is so dedicated and successful in her work. Andrew, in the front row, is holding a copy to the exact dimensions of the crescentic plaque, which Alan, my husband, has made until we get the real replica produced in bronze.
After the talk, we were invited by Tecwyn, Brenda’s husband to view his studio. Here he has made beautiful sculptures based on the Mabinogion, the Welsh Medieval tales. The biggest pleasure I had though, was to be shown an etching depiction he had produced of Llyn Cerrig Bach, which you see here. He insists it still needs improving on and is going to give me a signed copy of the final etching.

Sunday, 13 March 2011


February has passed in a whirl of activities so my apologies again for missing a month’s entries!
I was invited by a group of ladies in Valley to give my presentation on Llyn Cerrig Bach. They were very interested in the subject, as the lake is right on their doorstep. They particularly enjoyed handling the replica of the Gang Chain, as you can see from the picture.
Having had to hand over to the Oriel, over a year ago, the funding I’d collected for producing more replicas, I am still anxiously waiting for the good news that perhaps some of them have finally been made. It will be a great thrill for me when this happens, as I know from visiting various schools, how much the children like to examine replicas, rather than seeing an untouchable original.

I became very concerned when I saw that the roadside wall in front of the Pencarnisiog commemorative standing stone had collapsed. This is known locally in Welsh as Maen Hir. I contacted our Cadw warden for this area and she came over immediately. However, since its on private land she can only express our concern to the landowner. Hopefully, he will get the wall rebuilt as soon as possible. This is a very important stone as there is a Roman style inscription on it to Cunugusus – CYNGVSIHICIACIT. This is from where the name of the village Pencarnisiog derives.

I had a very interesting visit from Mark, a mature student at Bangor University. He is on his final year and doing research into comparing votive offerings into such watery places as Llyn Cerrig Bach. He was very interested in some seismic maps I had been given by Dr. Phillip McDonald when he was a research student at Cardiff in 1995. I e-mailed Philip, who is now a lecturer at Belfast University, and he kindly gave me permission to forward copies to Mark. I am looking forward now to reading his final paper.
Like many others, Mark expressed his appreciation of being told so many personal background facts that I’d researched and been told by my father about Llyn Cerrig Bach.
I have decided, therefore, that I should take the step forward into filming a DVD of my lecture presentation. When I become too decrepit to voice the lecture, or even when I’ve popped my clogs, at least this information won’t be lost!

Rhys Mwyn, who writes an article each Wednesday in the Welsh Herald section of the Daily Post, asked if he could visit me. He wanted to write a column about what I knew about Llyn Cerrig Bach. We visited the lake and had a long chat. I was very interested when he showed me excellent replicas of Bronze Age tools that Dave Chapman had made in his foundry in the Conwy valley.

A fortnight ago, my husband and I visited the Tutankhamun Replicas exhibition at Manchester. Because of so many visitors in the museum when we visited Cairo, we had failed to get in to see the originals. However, the replicas were as good as the real things and so easy to observe at close quarters. I’m sure we gained much more experience from this visit than we would have had in Cairo looking over other peoples’ shoulders and being made to move along all the time. Here, we were able to browse and take as many pictures as we liked. I was fascinated with the tomb chariot, noticing especially that there was a plaque similar to the Llyn Cerrig Bach one, attached to its shaft, as you can see in the picture I took. I couldn’t help noticing also other similarities with the chariot’s form and its wheel hub. All these things in spite of it being made in Egypt over a thousand years before the chariot parts found in Llyn Cerrig Bach.