Pop Peth - best gig ever
Lots of visitors to the Pop Peth exhibition have been telling us about their favourite gigs. Here's what we have so far....
Foo Fighters in Wembley in 2008
Manic Street Preachers in the Millennium stadium on Millennium eve!
Kids in Glass houses at Cardiff's big weekend
Quite a few for the recent Take That tour in Cardiff.
Ceffyl Pren in Clwb Ifor Bach in 1987
As you can see, it's pretty diverse! - will add more best gigs soon...
The art cart is running throughout August in Oriel 1, St Fagans:National History museum. Taking inspiration from the Pop Peth exhibition, we have been designing cd covers.
Last day of the festival
Festival of British Archaeology 2009
So the festival ended. After two weeks of almost continuous events across three of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’s sites. And the best was definitely saved until last.
With fine weather throughout the day The Vicus put on a fantastic show. They performed a Roman funeral ceremony in the centre of St Fagans before a crowd of two to three hundred people. A young lady played the recently departed and two gladiators fought for her.
Then the mourners processed to the funeral pyre, an impressive timber platform around which more rituals were performed, and where the young lady was substituted for a pig.
There followed tense moments for the organizers. It’s easy to schedule a cremation ritual, and building the pyre wasn’t too challenging, but with all the wet weather the day before, would it light? With a hundred and fifty people watching as a fire brand was thrust into the middle of the pyre, a fizzle would not have looked good.
But good fortune smiled and the pyre lit, smoking heavily before the flames spread. The grave goods on the pyre were quickly burnt or broken, with one glass bottle melting in the heat.
It burnt for the rest of the afternoon, until by closing time on the site there was just a bed of ash with the unburnt back of the pig resting on top. By next morning almost all of this had burnt away and we set about recovering the cremated bones and the grave goods for further analysis.
Cremated remains are common finds from the Bronze Age and Roman periods and our work here will go some way to helping interpret these finds when they come up in future. So a great spectacle and a useful source of data.
A big day in the Celtic Village
Festival of British Archaeology 2009
This weekend is the grand finale of the Festival events, and it started dreadfully. Torrential rain all night and no let-up until eleven o’clock, but much happened before then.
First thing in the morning The Vicus, anamazing Iron Age / Roman re-enactment group, arrived in force and took over our Celtic Village and the grounds around it. Our wood shelter became an armoury, the roundhouses were taken over for cooking and crafts, and outside the village our old furnace was fired up and used to smelt iron ore.
Things really got under way once the rain had cleared and the ground started to dry. Then it was a continuous stream of visitors for the rest of the day.
For me the highlights were:
- the trimmed down combat display where the Vicus’s British warriors and Roman soldiers showed off their equipment and demonstrated the various merits of a range of spears. It was a trimmed down display because the rain had left things too wet underfoot for full-scale combat. But the forecast is good for the rest of the weekend, so tomorrow’s performance should be the full extravaganza.
- watching the bloom come out of the furnace around 4:30. The Vicus’s blacksmith has yet to pass judgement on the results, but they certainly looked pretty good. And when one considers that things only really got started around midday they seemed almost miraculous.
So tomorrow is the big one. In the Celtic Village we have a repeat of all of the above (with bronze casting substituted for iron smelting), and the festival will be brought to a show-stopping conclusion with a reenactment of a Roman cremation cemetery. Fingers crossed the weather stays with us.