We went to find a long barrow hidden in a field of corn. There was supposed to be a public footpath but it had been planted over so we walked around the edge of the field until we reached the elevated ground in front of a copse of trees where there was a raised area covered in bracken, very different from the land around it. I’ve noticed that many barrows we’ve visited are barely indistinguishable from the land in which they lie, but they tend to have different plants growing on them which gives them a distinctive colour and texture to the rest of their surroundings. So although they are not large and obvious like standing stones and ceremonial circles, they exert a gently disruptive influence over the landscape, a subtle intervention.
I have spent the past few months travelling across South Wales with Rhondda-born archaeologist Dewi Bowen and Swansea film maker Melvyn Williams, hunting the wild megalith, accompanied by my portable drawing board, portfolio of Fabriano paper and a bag full of assorted artist’s materials. Dewi is researching his latest book on Neolithic monuments and Melvyn is making a documentary film of our literary and artistic adventures. We are following the legendary trail of the boar hunt, y Twrch Trwyth from the Mabinogion, recording the Bronze Age ancestral stones that those ancient hunters might have encountered.
All the work I’m doing will eventually be featured in a solo show in The Worker’s Gallery in the Rhondda Valley in September. If you want to know more, please click here.
If you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.