Completed in 2007 these reproduction Iron Age Roundhouses at Llynnon now form part of a living museum on the Llynnon Mill site near the very rural Anglesey village of Llanddeusant
Ten metres in diameter, these roundhouses were constructed using the knowledge accrued from the lessons learned by archaeological researches hundreds of Iron Age community sites built by the Ancient Britons (Celts) 3000 years ago.
A simple template was defined and construction was undertaken by principle and experimentation. Materials harvested from the locality completed the ethic that would have constrained the original Iron Age dwellers.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
Archaeologists believe that the design employed was typical of the Late Bronze Age and very Early Iron Age.
The building techniques employed at Llynnon were simple and very efficient and were used for millennia. A simple wooden structure is covered with wattle and daub which reminds us of buildings of the Elizabethan era and topped by a thatched roof of water reed.
A visit to Din Lligwy near Lligwy Beach is another example of roundhouse construction. Although, the construction is not of wattle and daub but of stone circular structures tat would have been topped with straw or reed thatched roofs.
The Celtic design was typical of almost all Celtic habitations for thousands of years.
Not so long ago, either. I have found homes constructed in Llangefni from around 1900 that continued to use this simple technique in fabricating ceilings.
A LIVING MUSEUM
The Llynnon windmill draws our attention back only a few hundred years and is a fascinating working artifact in its own right.
With but a skip, a hop and a jump one can take a gigantic leap from the mill that was in full community use in the 1940s to a reconstruction that is a representation of life on Anglesey between 3,000 and 5,000 years ago.
The interior of the first roundhouse reflects, albeit mildly romantically, how an extended family might have lived, with their tools, fire place and cooking utensils displayed appropriately.
The second roundhouse is a schoolroom for local children’s groups. Ysgol (school) Llanddeusant being just across the field.
In 2009 the local children held court with Prince Charles who participated in their ancient bread making and enjoyed the fruits of their labour.
One can easily imagine raucous community meetings in such a communal roundhouse. During the Summer actors re-enact life in such a settlement and guide visitors about their ersatz home.
This year the actors were from the Cwmni’r Fran Wen company from Menai Bridge.
IRON AGE ANGLESEY
Simply put, the Bronze Age was the period of human history when Homo sapiens forged tools and weapons from bronze. It therefore follows that the Iron Age was the period when tools and weapons were furnished from smelted iron.
The Iron Age across Europe varied according to when the tools and weapons of iron arrived in their countries on armed men and in simple commerce.
Humans being ever inquisitive creatures, then it couldn’t have been long before this inquisitiveness led to innovation.
Albeit a well-defined period in our minds, the Iron Age is a loose description of a period of a particular industry. The Iron Age is regarded as coming to an end when a more dominant period of history began.
That putative end-date was the arrival of the Romans in Britain around 50BC. The mining or ore, the smelting and forging continued after this date; however, Iron Age Britain became Roman Britain.
It is the significant change in the cultural life of Britain that History records.
In his book, Iron Age Communities in Britain, Fourth Edition: An Account of England, Scotland and Wales from the Seventh Century BC Until the Roman Conquest (Published by Routledge), Barry Cunliffe proposes the following dates for the Iron Age:
Earliest Iron Age. 800-600 BC. Parallel to Hallstatt C on the continent.
Early Iron Age. 600-400 BC. Hallstat D and half of La Tène I.
Middle Iron Age. 400-100 BC. The rest of La Tène I, all of II and half of III.
Late Iron Age. 100-50 BC. The rest of La Tène III.
Latest Iron Age. 50 BC - 100 AD
It should also be remembered that Anglesey was one of the most important sites of Celtic Druidism in Britain.
This importance of this widespread religious cult was not lost on the Romans. For information about the conquest of Druid Anglesey please Click Here....
The Druids were the priests and lawmakers of the Ancient Britons. Their cultural, scientific and religious significance within the Celtic peoples cannot be overstated.
An excellent example of this can be found at Bryn Celli Ddu henge and burial chamber on Anglesey. For more information Please Click Here ...
As with the migration of Iron Age technology, so with the Celtic peoples arrival in Britain over 2,000 years ago.
Most Celtic habitations were found around the coastal regions of Britain and through commerce and the usual European savoir faire that we’ve all fallen for, the indigenous tribes did exactly the same.
The Celtic Tribe that one would have found in communities as that represented at Llynnon Mill was the Ordovices. The amusing (non-Eisteddfod) modern representations of Druidism still worship Mother Earth.
I wonder how many of the modern Druids worship their other god, a horned god, Cernunnos. Depends what they’ve been imbibing, I suppose.
As I mention above, the spread of a new culture is insidious and takes centuries to gain dominance. And there is no greater medium of cultural exchange than Commerce.
It’s what we all hope for with improving the Human Rights records of singular ideologically-led countries like China.
MODERN DRUIDISM ON ANGLESEY
All over Wales the tradition of Druidism retains great cultural significance, if not its religious aspect.
The Eisteddfod is Wales' greatest cultural meeting in competition of verse, song and dance. There is the Royal National Eisteddfod that the entire World seems to know about.
However, there are preliminary eisteddfodau (plural) held in each of Wales' counties during Spring. The Druidic component of Eisteddfod tradition is recent (350 years ago at Caerfyddrin - Camarthen) and is a very Christian affair.
An important part of the eisteddfod is the Proclamation - Y Cyhoeddi of the next year's event. I was fortunate to attend the Proclamation of Eisteddfod Mon (Anglesey Eisteddfod) in Bryngwran
You pays your money and has/have a wonderful time when you visit this fabulous Anglesey visitor site. It's only a couple of quid to get in.
The reconstructed Llynnon Windmill is a wonderful thing to behold. Better still, have a look inside. This little sojourn is improved greatly when the wind is blowing and the sails turning majestically, yet powerfully.
And after you inspected the Mill and the Iron Age settlement reconstruction, then what could be better than a nice cup tea and fabulously large lemon meringue at the Llynnon Mill Tea Rooms.