Thursday, 30 May 2013

Experimenting in Oxford!

Dave and Emma are down in Oxford today running a workshop for the archaeology and anthropology students.  They will demonstrating some prehistoric skills and showing the studuents what artefacts are actually all about!
Using prehistoric spears and spear throwers.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Join in the fun with Ancient Arts join us on our experimental projects!

Boiling the brew with hot stones.

 We have places available on two other Ancient Arts Courses this Summer.

A Bronze Age burnt mound under excavation.

Taste the Past!  A two day course where you can enjoy gathering and cooking food with a Prehistoric flavour, including brewing ale with a reconstruction of a Bronze Age 'burnt mound' and hot stones. 17th - 18th August 2013. 

Prehistoric Living & Technologies  A two day course where you will learn how to make early tools, knap stone, make cordage, hunt using spears and generally survive the Stone Age!  3rd - 4th August 2013.
Firing a bread oven.
For more details email: or visit

Woodland Art Foundry Course 15th - 16th June FULLY BOOKED!

Our Woodland Art Foundry Course on the 15th - 16th June is now FULLY BOOKED!  Don't despair though, we are hoping to run another one later in the year if you fancy joining in the fun and make your own bronze object from ore.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Spears, sickles and Druidic staffs!

David with two of the reconstructed spears.

Last year we were asked by Oriel Ynys Mon to reconstruct a number of objects from the Llyn Cerrig Bach Hoard.  This is one of the most spectacular Iron Age hoard ever found.  Its was discovered during the building of RAF Valley (where Prince William is now based) in the Second World War on Anglesey.  The objects had been ritually deposited in a lake as offerings and contained object from all over what is now the UK.

Reconstructed bronze horse bits.

The hoard is now kept at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, but last year some items came back to Anglesey for temporary display at Oriel Ynys Mon.
The reconstructed iron sickle.
The Oriel wanted reconstructions made to put on permanent display and some for teaching/handling collections; so a number of the objects were chosen and we made accurate replicas of them and reconstructed the parts of the original objects that had not survived 3,000 years in a bog!
David making a spear shaft.
We learnt a lot from making the objects, not only about how they were made, but also about how they would have been used and what they would have meant to the people using them.

Using the spears!

 Click on this link for our full report on the making of the objects and the results of our experimental work we undertook to understand the objects and their uses better.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

New pictures from Ancient Arts' Anglo-Saxon theatre at Bede's World.

Some more images (photographed by Emma Wright of Ancient Arts) of the work at Bede's World.
View of Bede's World from the seating at the Theatre (the Stage is in the  centre)

A 'mini thurling' for kids.
A big kid visiting the 'mini thurling'!
Looking towards the Ancient Arts' Theatre with Anglo-Saxon houses in the foreground.
The seating at the Theatre looking from the Stage.

The oak plank seating.
The Stage from the top of the seating.
Looking across the site from the top of the seating.
Preparing the limestone slab at the entrance to the site for carving.
The design to be carved was first drawn onto fabric and then 'pounced' onto the rock surface.
Pearl Saddington of Bede's World and David Chapman of Ancient Arts.
The finished carving.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Stone Carving at Bede's World

Dave and Emma spent two days carving an Anglo-Saxon design onto a limestone slab set near the entrance to the site.

 The design was first drawn onto a fabric, then small holes punched through the fabric along the lines. Chalk is then rubbed over the holes transferring the design onto the surface below. This is called 'pouncing'.
Johnny from the site pouncing the design using chalk.

 Emmer then painted charcoal onto the pounced dots; joining them together (join the dots!) to complete the transfer of the design.
Dave was then able to start carving the stone.....  
following the charcoal lines.

The weather wasn't very helpful - gales and rain!
The carved rock surface.

Once the carving was complete Dave covered the carved surface with conservation varnish. This will protect the surface from weathering.

The design was inspired by the Lindisfarne Gospel illustrations and is an original design by David of a stylised cormorant.

Bede's World for little people!

Another successful week up at Bede's World!  The theatre is nearly complete and the mini thurling (an Anglo-Saxon house for little people) is complete.  This was donated to Bede's World by Ancient Arts and our partner, Brantones Ltd.

The mini thurling

A full size thurling

The team also carried out some conservation work on one of the full size thurlings already on site.  The corner timber uprights needed underpinning.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Bede's World carving

Dave and Emma are up at Bede's World at the moment carving the Anglo-Saxon design on to the entrance stone.  Reports from the North East are that the weather is pretty bad - strong winds and rain! 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Just one place left!

Just one place remaining on our Woodland Art Foundry Course 15th-16th June 2013!  Come and join us casting the past!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Making Anglo-Saxon flags for Bede's World

Emma and David have been hand painting the Anglo-Saxon Flags for Bede's World this week.  Looking good!

Maypole Head ready for Bede's World

 Emma holding the Maypole head for the theatre at Bede's World.  Its made out of hazel with an added hint of yew branch!

Bede's World Theatre update

The 'first English theatre' designed by Ancient Arts (with thanks to the Anglo-Saxons of Northumberland!) coming along nicely, it will soon be ready for Beowulf!
The oak plank seating

Looking towards the stage from the seats.

Stone for the petroglyph at Bede's World arrives!

The locally sourced limestone rock for the Bede's World petroglyph (stone carving) has arrived and been out in place.  Dave will start carving the Anglo-Saxon design onto it in the next couple of weeks.

Ancient Arts new straw bale office

The stairs leading to the mezzanine.
Enjoying the light and warm straw bale office!

A new mezzanine space above the office.
Flooring on top of the office roof.

The roof going on top of the bales.

Packing down the bales, note the stakes to hold the bales in place.
The wooden bale frame with limestone gravel.

Laying the waterproof sheeting to stop moisture getting into the bales and rotting them.
Here's the straw bales being unloaded by architectural students from UCLAN
New Llangelynin Church
Last year we decided to build a straw bale office inside our base at the New Llangelynnin Church, Conwy Valley.