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Death in Wales: 4000-3000BC

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People have always been fascinated with death and all things relating to the subject. Whether it's the rituals relating to different communities and cultures, or the way we've dealt with death itself through the ages, it's a subject that always triggers debate and interest.

National Museum Cardiff's latest archaeology exhibition, Death in Wales, deals with the period from 4000-3000BC, when people's lives were led in very different ways but dealing with the loss a loved one would have affected people in the same way as it does today. However, dealing with death itself was different in 4000-3000BC, as the exhibition shows. The burial rites of our forefathers were very different to those we see today. The tombs themselves are unlike anything we would see in the graveyards and cemeteries of today, and hold the secrets of the lives and death of our ancestors.

Massive stones were arranged as houses for the dead, and some of them still stand, six thousand years later. The tombs were built by people with a vibrant culture, who travelled by both land and sea to surrounding communities. They were craftspeople, who used these skills to create the megalithic masterpieces, which are examined in the exhibition.

Death in Wales: 4000-3000BC shows the remains of the people who built Wales's earliest surviving monuments, and how and why archaeologists uncover the secrets of their lives and deaths. It looks at Tinkinswood, Bryn yr Hen Bobl, Bryn Celli Ddu ‘The Hill of Black Grove' and Pipton, four burial chambers in different areas of Wales, each with its own story.

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National Museum Wales Books has published the bookThe Tomb Builders to coincide with the exhibition at National Museum Cardiff. Written by Dr Steve Burrow, Curator of Neolithic Archaeology at Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales, the book costs £14.99 and is available from the museum bookshop and other good booksellers, and explores the origins of these tombs and what they reveal to us today about our ancestors.

Death in Wales: 4000-3000BC is showing at National Museum Cardiff until 24 September 2006. Entry to the Museum is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.