Dadeni, 2006

Dadeni, which means ‘re-birth’ in the Welsh language, was commissioned by On Common Ground at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. The film was made in collaboration with a group of young people from Aberdare Girls School. With a tumbling, dreamlike quality, it occupies the uncertain, emotional space where archaeology and mythology blur…

A number of the pupils lived in close proximity to Rhigos, where at Llyn Fawr over a century ago, workmen creating a reservoir found a collection of metal objects including two spectacular bronze cauldrons nearly three thousand years old. These are now housed in Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales where one of them can be seen in the Origins: In Search of Early Wales exhibition.

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The resulting (rather dark) cauldron-based line of enquiry led to the archaeology department’s excavations at Llanmaes, south west of Cardiff, in the Vale of Glamorgan. Here, investigation over several summers had unearthed evidence of prehistoric feasting on a grand scale. This extraordinary story, concealed under the ground for thousands of years, prompted comparison with The Tale of Branwen, which features feasting, a cauldron of rebirth, dark deeds involving horses – and more.

One other remarkable find was to play a significant part in the development of this film, in which we hoped to convey the essence of the site, rather than a conventional linear narrative. The piece was initially conceived as a phantasmagoric installation, rather than a film.

But here, for convenience spliced together in its entirety, is an alternative ‘truth’ surrounding some very strange finds. One night at Llanmaes; Dadeni.

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