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Animations in a roundhouse


Visitors have flocked to the Celtic Village over the last couple of days to join with us in celebrating the Festival of British Archaeology. For me so far there have been several highlights. On Sunday people found shelter from the rain in the stone roundhouse, where in the dark the artist Sean Harris projected his animation film Dadeni onto the earth beaten floor. People are used to experiencing animations on TV, computers or in a cinema. Such an experience proved moving, eerie and played upon the senses. The moving images evoked past mythologies. You almost felt as if you had gathered with the ancestors around a warm fire and cauldron to share their stories, safe from the rain.


Tim Young and his team built a forge outside the Village. Their experiments in recreating the lost art of making Early Christian handbells drew the crowd. Tim felt, ‘It was a successful weekend. We were trying to understand the technique not to produce a finished product. If we were going to do this for ten day's solid we'd be getting it right completely by the end. As it is we've cracked how to do the hearth - that's great, I like it - but we need to build on it.’


Mark Rednapp, from the archaeology department here, was with them. I asked him about his thoughts, ‘The wonderful thing about experimental archaeology is that you leap from one idea to the next, one experiment to the next. Many things have passed through my mind: the skill needed to judge the temperature and timing, the amount of manual labour involved in keeping the bellows going, which remind us of early medieval slavery, but also of the apprenticeships learning from an early age by experience.’


The Festival continues until 2nd of August. Come and join my workshops ‘Colouring the past’ in the Celtic Village this weekend, the 25th and 26th of July.

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