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Archaeology meets art in Anglesey

Press release issued: 9 September 2013

A University of Bristol and Welsh Rock Art Organisation (WRAO) art/archaeology project inspired by Neolithic rock engravings in North Wales has received funding under the European GestArt Project (GESTART - Artistic Gestures revisiting European Artistic Diversity and Convergence).

University of Bristol archaeologist, Dr George Nash is part of the Portuguese-based international team which has been awarded the €395,000, a portion of which will be used for the project in Ynys Môn (Anglesey), North Wales.

The project focuses on Barclodiad y Gawres, a prehistoric burial-ritual site with engraved rock art that is regarded as one of the finest examples of later prehistoric engraved art in the British Isles.  The engravings date to the Neolithic period and are around 5,000 years old.

Works inspired by Barclodiad y Gawres will be commissioned from silversmith Carol James, landscape artist Ian Mitchell, glassmaker Bill Swann, Landscape Installation Artist Professor Dragos Gheorghiu and musicologists Ian Duggan and John Nash.  The art, the monument and the landscape in which it stands will also form the basis of a larger piece of work that will include the perceptions of a group of school children from nearby Ysgol Rhosneigr.

As part of the project, a specialist team, led by Dr Nash, will undertake an extensive survey of the engravings using a variety of media including a photographic record and acetate tracing methods.

In addition, the monument will be 3D laser-scanned by Andrew Beardsley of Terra Measurement and each stone tested by archaeoacoustics specialist Paul Devereux of the Royal College of Art for its intrinsic soundscape qualities.

This tracing programme will record further eroded and ephemeral megalithic art and follows the original recording programme undertaken by Liverpool City Museum in 1952.  The new tracings will form a definitive account of the rock art.

The project runs from September 2013 to December 2014, culminating in a travelling exhibition that will start at the Oriel Ynys Môn Museum in Llangefni and travel to selected venues in Italy, Portugal and Spain.

As part of the grant award, the exhibition and team will be visiting the other four European projects funded under the grant that are based in Portugal, Spain and Italy.  A bilingual book will be published with assistance from the Oriel Ynys Môn Museum and will record the project from its embryonic stages to completion.

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