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.