This year the National Lottery funded Elan Links: People, Nature & Water scheme has organised an exciting Festival of Archaeology and History.
Part of the wider UK Festival supported by the Council for British Archaeology, the free weekend event will bring visitors face to face with some of the valley’s earliest inhabitants, with Dinosaurs, our prehistoric ancestors, Roman soldiers and mediaeval knights.
The landscape of the Elan Valley has been the backdrop of thousands of years of history and is essential to our common heritage.
Protected, well maintained and thoroughly cherished, visitors can enjoy picturesque scenery and delve into its long history with our interactive festival of creative displays with living history, re-enactments and demonstrations of traditional skills and crafts throughout the day.
• Join in with n a walk through time from the lost worlds of the ‘terrible lizards’ to secret WWII experiments.
• Venture into Elans Jurassic park, learn the skills of stone age ancestors and witness the casting crafts of the Bronze Age.
• Learn how the Romans marched, camped and fought as they conquered Wales.
• See the medieval artisans creating furniture, leather work and see everyday life from the 12th to 15th Century.
• Watch the reenactment of a 12thc ambush as a Norman lord seeks revenge on a Welsh prince.
• Meet the Victorian navies and villagers.
• Visit a Victorian doctor and learn about disease,medicine and surgery from 150 years ago.
• Learn how the Victorian dams were built and how they were guarded during the two World Wars.
Also meet some of the national and regional heritage and archaeology groups, organisations and Trusts. Demonstrations throughout the day of replicating archaeological artefacts, traditional skills, 3D CGI video launch of the latest interpretation of Esgair Perfedd Roman marching camp, Cwm Elan Victorian lead mines and hear about the latest archaeological discoveries across the Elan Valley.
Elan Links Scheme manager, Esther Wakeling said: “A key strategy of ours is to support opportunities which generate events that are both fun and educational. The Festival will enable visitors and local people opportunities to discover more about aspects of the Elan Valley’s unique archaeology and heritage and will entice people to learn more in an exciting and entertaining way.”
The festival is made up of a number of displays and activities presented by some of the leading groups from across Wales and the UK. Swansea based ‘Dinomania’ (Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists) will start the story with full sized Dinosaur puppets, not archaeology, but a sure favourite with youngsters.
Ancientcraft will bring some of the skills of our prehistoric ancestors to life (as seen recently on ‘Digging for Britain’) and Legio XIII Roman living history group will display the weapons and drills that created an Empire 2000 years ago.
Cwmwd Ial, a Welsh early mediaeval reenactment group will be telling the story of Welsh Princes and betrayal at the hands of Norman Lords, portrayed by Shrewsbury based Milles Des Marches.
The Ragged Victorians or the Great Unwashed can be found around Caban Coch dam reenacting the world of the navies and their families, whilst the Time Travelling Medicine Man will show you some of the cures and treatments from 150 years ago.
Inside the Visitors centre you will find displays of archive material, the latest archaeological discoveries, local museums and heritage groups.
There will also be lots of hands-on activities for children including displays of wargames and a sandbox excavation provided by Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust. Plateau Imprints Archaeology will be recreating ancient sounds as part of a multimedia project and visitors can help capture their experience on the day.
Gary Ball, Project Officer for Elan Links said: “It’s a beautiful location for a fantastic opportunity to learn about the history and archaeology of the Elan Valley. Part of the Elan Links scheme is conserving and promoting the heritage, and discovering more of its unique history.
“By holding this Festival we are allowing the public the chance to learn about archaeology and engage with the hidden heritage in a fun and creative way.”
As is the case with the previous festivals of the National Lottery Heritage Funded scheme, the events are free and are open from 11am to 4 pm each day.
The Elan Links Archaeology and History Festival takes place on Saturday, July 29 and Sunda, July 30.