Aberystwyth’s Young Archaeologists’ Club recently stepped back in time nearly 80 years to recreate an historic view of excavators working on Pen Dinas hillfort above the town, on a summer’s day in 1934.
The original photograph forms part of the 1930s Pen Dinas excavation archive held by the National Monuments Record of Wales. It shows Professor Forde visiting the diggers as they excavated one of the main gateways into the Iron Age hillfort. It was not too difficult to find where the original diggers had once stood, but the background view of the National Library of Wales and Llanbadarn Fawr had changed dramatically in eight decades.
The modern photo was taken during a walk organised by John Ibbotson and Paul Harries for the local branch of the Young Archaeologists’ Club, guided by Dr Toby Driver of the Aberystwyth-based Royal Commission. Period-appropriate tools and clothing were supplied by Ceredigion Museum’s handling collection, with the ‘workmen’ dressed in shirts, over-trousers, and flat caps. Young Archaeologist Sam Williams completed the picture, taking the place of Professor Forde with waistcoat and tie, round spectacles and panama hat.
Toby Driver said: ‘Reconstructing this 1930s view with original clothing and tools posed a real challenge to all involved but with the help of the Ceredigion Museum, and the patience of the children, we were all amazed at the result. It really has been like stepping back in time!’
Anyone wanting to join the Young Archaeologists should contact John Ibbotson via the Ceredigion Museum. The original excavation photographs of Pen Dinas, Aberystwyth, can be searched for on the Royal Commission’s online database www.coflein.gov.uk
Pen Dinas in 1934 – Crown Copyright RCAHMW
Pen Dinas in 2013 – Paul Harries