Saturday, 29 June 2013

Open Day @Bryn Celli Ddu and other rock'n roll habits (Part 2)

We'd been over to Bryn Celli Ddu on the Friday morning as part of the Neolithic Anglesey Literary Tour, (walking tour) see
So on the Saturday afternoon it was a real treat to have a "day off" and just wander up to see the activities at the Bryn Celli Open Day organised by CADW.
As I got to Llanddaniel I could see that the carpark was full and along with many others I was sent up to the school playground to park up. In the distance one could see the CADW gazebos and silouettes of people (kids) on the mound. The weather was good but just a bit windy so I put on my coat and ambled up towards Bryn Celli on the path along Afon Braint.

On arriving I'm greeted by Marion who had come on the walk with us on Friday and artist Julie Williams who is responsible for the Standing Stones of Anglesey Exhibition currently showing at Holyhead Library, part of a Gwynedd Archaeological Trust project to engage with Anglesey school pupils to interpret the photographs of Harold Senogles taken in the early 20th century.

Marion left and Julie right.

The exhibition runs until the end of June and is highly recommended and if you miss Holyhead you can catch the exhibition as it tours North Wales - keep an eye on the GAT twitter @gwyneddarch
The next dates are as follows :

·         May, June, July 2013 - Holyhead Library – Launch on Friday 24th May

Contact: Betsan Parri-Williams -

·         23rd November (set up 18th/19th) 2013 – 18th January 2014 – Bangor Museum –

Contact: Esther Roberts -

·         25th January (set-up 20th) – 9th March 2014Oriel Mon

Contact: Ian Jones –

Senogles photographed most of the standing stones in the 1930's and his original notebook is now with GAT. He's also categorised the stone types of a lot of the stones which has been really useful because that's usually the most FAQ when we visit sites - I think people think that all stones come from the Preseli sometimes !!!!

I have not got very far when I'm greeted by Ffion Reynolds from CADW and Mike from Beaumaris Castle. This reminds me of being on the Eisteddfod Maes, albeit a slightly smaller Maes but you just walk from one conversation to another. Again I have to say "the vibes" are brilliant, it's busy, you hear kids shouting and running around - we have reclaimed the monument in a way.

In Welsh we talk about "perchnogaeth" in the sense that the community from near and far feel a sense of belonging and that these monuments are relevant in some way. As I talk to Ffion and Mike I keep a watchful eye for any Druids, 'real or imaginary' but I do not spot any (more disappointment - I'm really not going to have a political debate with a Druid this weekend by the looks of things).

As we generally circle the mound we come face to face with stalls, some young chap knapping flint, CADW handing out leaflets, GAT displaying various projects and it takes over an hour to slowly get around the site, gently strolling into the next conversation.

I talk to Sadie from GAT who is responsible for co-ordinating the Anglesey Standing Stones exhibition then have a chat with Roland Flook about a recent discovery of a Roman coin that one of my students from a class made in Degannwy. Then we make our way over to the Ancient Arts stand.

Now I consider Dave Chapman from Ancient Arts to be one of the great visionaries, he's up there with Ken Brassil, maverick maybe, but inspiring always. Talking to either of these guys gives you a charge which lasts for days - in rock'n roll terms they are like Gruff Rhys, Rhys Ifans, Cerys, people who have a vision, people who believe in something, people who make a difference. In a word - inspiring !

Dave has been busy recreating or pecking a stone on similar lines to the spiral carvings at Barclodiad. It has taken a matter of hours to complete which is really interesting as it gives us an insight to how long the stones at Barclodiad took to make. You are talking hours or a day or so rather than weeks of work to complete these carvings - gently pecked with harder stone.

All in all it was a brilliant afternoon, just seeing the site buzzing. As I mentioned on twitter I don't think I've had so many hugs in one day - the archaeological community in North Wales really is soooo friendly. On days like this I realise why I've turned my back on rock'n roll and the shark (not that they were big sharks) infested seas of Welsh Pop Music. My involvement with music always seemed to involve dealing with people who were always looking after No 1, no loyalty, thankless job and you just got on with it, but in all honesty - I do not miss it - I am done with it - I am happy to be a psycho-geographer on the Welsh Landscape. As I say these days' I'd rather be at Bryn Celli than at a gig given the choice. Outside.

Archaeology in recent years has really saved my soul, it has given me a new lease of life and has been welcoming and days like this at Bryn Celli Ddu, all smiles, all questions and discussions are just the best days. Archaeology IS the new rock'n roll. We are on a mission here. Bryn Celli is ours, reclaimed, respected, relevant, from yr Hen Bobl to the right now.

Diolch Ffion and CADW for organising such a brilliant family friendly event. Smiles all round !

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