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Title: Ysbryd y Mwynwyr - Spirit of the Miners
Wheelhouse, Bryn yr ArianChimney, TaliesinYstrad Einion

Strata Florida Mines & Metals Project

The Strata Florida Landscape Project is a programme of excavations, survey and presentation related to the Cistercian Abbey of Strata Florida in Pontrhydfendigaid and its precinct.
Excavations at Strata Florida

The Cistercians were noted for their skill in the extraction and processing of metals, especially, in this area, iron, lead and silver. They crushed and smelted the ores in industrial-scale mills and furnaces, powered by water-wheels, elements of which have already been located in the work done in 2004-5. However, the processing of these metals and their related technologies goes back to the early Bronze Age and the programme is examining prehistoric remains in the area.

Excavations at Strata Florida

The whole project is an educational, training and public presentation exercise closely related to the development of the Mynachlog Fawr farm complex at Strata Florida as a Gateway heritage site giving intellectual and physical access to the historical and environmental narratives and sites of the western Cambrian Mountains.

This Project is community-based in co-operation with a number of local organisations including Pentir Pumlumon and Ystrad Fflur Community Council. Knowledge derived from the excavations will contribute directly to enhancing the heritage content of he site and its adjacent landscape. The public display aspects will also enhance the reputation of the site as an events and heritage venue, thus helping the overall development.

Umha Aois Sculptors

In the programme for 2006 the project will undertake two closely-related exercises under the sub-heading Strata Florida Mines and Metals. The first is to extend the survey and excavation programme (June) into the area of ancient mines know to be associated with the Abbey at Bronyberllan. The research objective is to assess the potential of the remains for further research. It will serve as a volunteer and student training exercise and visits will be organised for schoolchildren and others in a scheme for presenting the processes and discoveries of archaeology in relation to ancient mining.

Umha Aois Sculptors

The second component which will take place on the same site, but in July during the Strata Florida Sculpture Exhibition is a four-day demonstration of ancient metal-working largely in the prehistoric tradition, but clearly of relevance to the Cistercian practices. This will be undertaken by an group of sculptors who have developed a great skill in these ancient techniques. They function under the name Umha Aois. The display will be open to the public and an exhibition will be set up in Pontrhydfendigaid Community Hall to explain what they are doing within the context of both the wider project and the Sculpture Exhibition.

Approval Date: June 2006

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