After a day in my University office in Chester, this evening I attended the AGM of the Llangollen Museum. Afterwards, I presented a short paper outlining the ongoing research of Project Eliseg to the gathered audience including many friends and colleagues from the museum and locality who have been stallwart supporters of the project. Thank you all, you have made the project possible thus far and your patience will be rewarded!
Project Eliseg Latest
As I had recently discussed in a session on monument biographies at the Pilsen EAA conference, our project revealed new information about the Bronze Age origins and early medieval significance of the monument. The crowd seemed to like it and I got some good questions about the discoveries we uncovered when we dug into the cairn beneath the Pillar between 2010 and 2012. After my talk, Bangor University third-year student Pip was also there with some of our finds from the last (2012) season to show everyone the character of the discoveries we found, including a flint blade and cremated human remains. But as I outlined in a recent post our work is far from complete.
The Replica Pillar
Llangollen Museum is a small but striking shape, a polygonal structure with a first floor mezzanine, half of which is a gallery. This was where the AGM was held. It made for an interesting space to speak in, talking to the audience sitting upon the curving mezzanine. It was also striking because I was speaking in the presence of the monument itself, or at least its replica. On the ground floor at the centre of the museum and rising like a huge totem is a replica of the Pillar of Eliseg. Well, let’s say it was a replica. Not it is not precisely identical to the real monument. Indeed, upon the replica you can see the ninth-century Latin text more clearly than upon the original. This is because, some thirty years after the cast was made to create the replica, further erosion have eaten away at the original’s exposed sandstone. Hence, incrementally the ‘real’ monument is becoming less and less like its indoor replica.
A New Exhibit
It was also an opportunity to learn about the latest plans for presenting our discoveries. Llangollen Museum aim to reconstruct one of the cists we found in the side of the burial cairn, reconstructing it as if it were just revealed during excavation and containing the cremated human remains found in situ. Project Eliseg’s excavations will therefore serve the construction of yet another Bronze Age ancestor in a museum context, in this case opting for the ‘just discovered’ style of display. There will also be a model of the mound with the Pillar and the cairn’s structure as revealed by our excavations. I felt proud and excited to think about how our work would be centre-stage in the museum.