New Animation Pays Homage to Anglesey's Rich Prehistoric Past

By Emma Robertson | 27 August 2008
Archaological finds at the Portable Antiques Roadshow

Visitors bring archaeological finds to be identified by Mark Lodwick at the Portable Antiquities Roadshow. Courtesy of Beaumaris Castle/Cadw

Anglesey's prehistoric heritage has been retold with a 21st-century twist by artist Sean Harris in the animated film Songs from Stones.

The film is the culmination of a community project commissioned by Cadw, the Welsh Assembly’s historic environment service. It will have its first screening at Beaumaris Castle later this month.

In paying homage to Anglesey's rich past, it also features characters, props and noises created by visitors to the island throughout August.

Mike Williams, Cadw’s head custodian at Beaumaris Castle, said: “We’ve had a very busy and successful month at the castle with the team and visitors helping create the film. Cadw is delighted to have the opportunity to showcase the final film which includes some very exciting elements.”

Anglesey is rich in prehistoric remains. The first evidence of human habitation dates from 7,000 BC during the Mesolithic period. Archaeologists have uncovered many sites on the island containing prehistoric artefacts such as pottery and stone tools.

Artist showing mud map of Anglesey

Artist Tim Hugh makes a mud map of prehistoric Anglesey. Courtesy of Beaumaris Castle/Cadw

One of the most spectacular finds was a trove of items which included iron spearheads, parts of chariots and a bronze trumpet. These treasures were found at Llyn Cerrig Bach in 1943 when the land was cleared to build a runway for the nearby Royal Air Force base. The island also has numerous stone burial chambers, standing stones and hill forts which have survived the ages.

Songs from Stones will be shown in the unusual setting of a cinema housed in a converted grain silo in one of the castle’s imposing round towers on Saturday August 30 from 10.30 am to 5 pm.

Artist Sean Harris said: “The film links the two burial chambers - Barclodiad y Gawres and Bryn Celli Ddu - with an Earth Goddess rising from the carved stone in Barclodiad y Gawres and creating a strange potion which explodes, causing the Isle of Anglesey to be formed in the steaming embers of the fire. Visitors will have to come along and see the film to see what happens in the end.”

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