Sunday, 1 May 2016

Cyfaredd 21: Research on Ynys Môn: Day Four

Haia Pawb

Today I was to leave Ynys Môn and drive up to Scotland for the next stage of my research trip. However, before leaving the island, I planned to visit the complex at Lligwy, which comprised a prehistoric burial chamber, a Roman-British farmstead (Din Lligwy) and the remains of a medieval chapel, Capel Lligwy. I planned to focus on the farmstead, as it might help me with some scenes set in a similar environment, though at a later stage than the Roman occupation of Ynys Môn.

Path to the settlement, with wildflowers
Information board

Video of the site
Artist impression of the settlement
I enjoyed my time, largely on my own, wandering around the farmstead. I measured out and sketched the layout of the site and its various buildings, something I hadn’t done at other sites and now kicked myself for not doing those times. As I did this, under a cloudy sky and in a coolness that refreshed, I felt quite grounded and content, the place and the work being what I was meant to do.

One of the roundhouses
Another video
I might be able to use the layout as a foundation for the plan for the Iron Age village in the beginning of my novel. I quite like the idea of a pentagon-shape for the village, five being one of the sacred numbers of the Celts.

Layout of the settlement
Given that my central character is connected to blacksmithing, the artist’s impression of the smithy in the site gave me a few ideas about structure, size, etc. The smithy itself was set in the ground, as if one is stepping into the earth, towards the darkness of the forge, towards the Otherworld, when engaging in the magical work of creating tools from molten iron.

The artist impression of the smithy
The smithy
Another view of the smithy
The site itself is a perfect example of the prospect-refuge theory Alan Garner mentioned in the talk I wrote about some time ago. Although the photos show trees blocking the view of the surrounding areas, this apparently wasn’t the case during the time of the farmstead’s use.

View of surrounding area taken during the walk to the settlement
I then moved onto the tomb. The small structure, made from quite large rocks, is set deep into the ground. After a moment’s meditation, I crawled inside and sat silently on the packed dirt floor contemplating my novel and listening to the whispers of the Atlantic wind.

Information board at the site
The tomb
View of the tomb from the other side
Inside the tomb
My reveries was cut short by a plane overhead:

Fuzzy shot of RAF planes on their training run
inside the ancient tomb
dirt and silence
scream of fighter jet

As my novel is set centuries before the medieval period, and time was running out, I didn’t investigate the chapel, except for taking some distant photos.

Capel Lligwy
That’s it for now. As always, I hope you’re enjoying these posts and I welcome any comments.

Cofion Cymes

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