The Dark Cauldron (2007)

The use of prehistoric artefacts as animation artwork in both Hela’r Twrch Trwyth and Dadeni aroused considerable interest. Here, it seemed, was a thoroughly modern way of engaging audiences – particularly young people - with archaeological collections and processes and indigenous mythology.

As a result, The Dark Cauldron was commissioned by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales as part of the innovative and atmospheric new displays of the national archaeology collection; Origins – In Search of Early Wales. The film, whose opening sequence is shown here, revisited both previous works featuring porcine superstar the Twrch Trwyth and the excavations at Llanmaes.

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It doesn’t purport to portray archaeological ‘truth’ – rather to rummage around in the considerable gaps in our knowledge – and perhaps to encourage people to form their own narratives, inspired by the objects amongst which the film is presented.

The plot is a further catalogue of disastrous shamanistic experiments following on from Dadeni, whose ancestor figures, newly promoted to tribal deity status, once again take up the quest for a vital totem. Their mission is successful in the medium term (for about six hundred years), but ultimately, a compulsive urge to tinker with mythical forces unleashes a terrible force of nature on Cymru. Fortunately for them, it is the Iron Age, Wales is a land of hill forts and so the once-more-re-awakened hirsute demon is frustrated in his attempts to destroy the civilisation of the Silures and their contemporaries. Terminally irritated, he heads across the sea to Ireland, where eventually, he is found by King Arthur of Culhwch ac Olwen fame.

At which point, The Porc Cycle begins again...

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