Pendinas Community Archaeology Festival Update!
We’ve been extremely busy over the last few months organising numerous events and activities for the Pendinas Project! As you know, this community project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Cadw, focuses on working closely with the local community of Penparcau to uncover more of the history of the mysterious ancient monument that is Pendinas Hillfort.
Excavations in the Northern Gateway and Isthmus area led by Dyfed Archaeological Trust and their brilliant group of volunteers in March/April 2023 yielded new and exciting information about the site with finds including a possible early medieval artefact! We’ve recently completed our second excavation on the Southern side of the hillfort, this time focusing on a rock-cut roundhouse platform located just within the Southern Gateway. Volunteers uncovered enormous structural postholes, palisade slots, stone-lined drains that ran around the perimeter of the house itself, a small piece of copper alloy, a few spindle whorls, and even a shilling from 1957! Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating samples (taken by collecting a sealed sample under a dark tarp while volunteers sat on the edges to ensure no ‘light leakage’!!), have been taken by the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University and are currently being processed.
Community archaeologist, Beca Davies, has been getting involved with local community groups by leading numerous guided walks, emphasizing the archaeology, ecology and local history of the hillfort. She has done talks for the local Mothers Union group, the HAHAV charity in Penparcau as well as the local ‘Angylion y Wawr’ society – collecting local memories of Pendinas as she goes along. A particularly fun and rewarding initiative has been multiple engagements with the local primary school, Ysgol Llwyn-yr-Eos, where children have explored the hillfort on historical and nature walks, made their own duck-stamped pots and Celtic shields out of clay, and gained a growing sense of ownership and pride in the site.
Our most recent event was a one-day archaeology extravaganza, Gŵyl Pendinas Festival, where over 500 local people joined us at the Hub in Penparcau to celebrate the work of the project so far. Colourful highlights included brilliant Iron-Age re-enactors from Castell Henllys, a formidable Roman soldier, and ‘Celtic Bard and Troubadour’ Morgan of Mercia with awe-inspiring 7-foot-long Carnyx war-horn! The festival was enthusiastically opened by Ben Lake MP, who later attended one of the fully subscribed bilingual guided walks to see the excavation in action.
People of all ages got to enjoy popular activities such as slingshot demonstrations, ‘make your own Iron Age pot’, finding your ‘Iron Age Celtic Tribe’, face painting with Celtic whorls, mapping wildlife and other Pendinas memories with local ecologist Chloe Griffith, talks by Ken Murphy (director of DAT) and Dr Toby Driver (RCHAMW), concluding with a celebratory Pendinas cake in the iconic shape of the hillfort.
To experience a snippet of this fantastic archaeology fun-filled day, follow this link and enjoy the video taken by Akron Productions:
Send us your feedback
If you attended Gŵyl Pendinas Festival and would like to send us some feedback, this link will take you to our survey: https://wavehill.eu.qualtrics.com.jfe/form/SV_1N8dqQ0vWhPm87k
Beca Davies will be organising further community and volunteering activities throughout the year, including vegetation clearance, a series of lectures and creative workshops, as well as a special treat for Christmas! If you’d like to learn more about the upcoming events, please get in touch with email@example.com. We’ll keep you informed!
Beca Davies, Community Outreach Officer Pendinas Project