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Caernarfon Castle Dig Reveals More Ancient Secrets

Caernarfon Castle Dig Reveals More Ancient Secrets

In January 2019, a team of archaeologists from the University of Salford launched a large-scale excavation at Caernarfon Castle, one of Wales’s most famous historical sites. This grand and breathtaking fortress-palace was constructed by King Edward I in 1283, on the western end of the Menai Strait in northern Wales, and stands today as one of the greatest architectural achievements of the Middle Ages.

Working closely with Cadw, the historical preservation association of Wales, the archaeologists were searching for evidence that would reveal more about how the castle site was used in the centuries before Edward took possession. While their final report isn’t due until March, the BBC has reported on a preliminary report on their findings that indicates just how successful this ambitious research project has been.

“Working closely with CADW’s archaeology and conservation teams, we’ve discovered tantalizing evidence of Roman settlers dating back as far as the first century, suggesting that the site of Caernarfon Castle was of huge strategic significance long before a castle was built in 1283,” declared Ian Miller, the director of the University of Salford’s Archaeology Department.

This evidence includes multiple shards of first century AD Roman pottery, along with tiles and animal bones that were apparently deposited at that time.

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Multiple pieces of evidence from first century pottery, plus bones and tiles have been excavated. ( Cadw)

Romans First

It has long been suspected, but never proven, that the Romans had constructed a fort at the Caernarfon Castle site sometime after they completed their conquest of Wales in 78 AD. Finding pottery and other artifacts that can be traced back to that approximate time adds strong confirmatory evidence to this hypothesis.

In addition to these discoveries, the archaeological team also unearthed some foundation stones in the castle’s lightly-explored Lower Ward that may provide evidence for an intriguing hypothesis. Rather than dating to the 13 th or 14 thcenturies, these foundation stones may have been part of a motte-and-bailey fortification installed by the Normans, which would have likely been constructed at the site in the early 12 th century, when the Norman presence under King Henry I reached its deepest advance into Welsh territory.

Motte-and-bailey-style castles were introduced in England and Wales by the Normans shortly after their arrival in 1066. They featured a stone built on top of an elevated mound of earth (a motte), surrounded by a walled courtyard (a bailey) which in turn was enclosed by a deep ditch and a wall or palisade made from iron or wooden spikes.

Arial shot of last year’s excavations at Caernarfon Castle. (Cadw)

If the Normans did indeed install such a fortification at Caernarfon, it would provide further confirmation that Edward chose a site for his castle that had a long history of being used for defensive purposes.

“Excavation is essentially a data-gathering exercise, and our next task will be to analyze all the records we’ve created and closely examine all the artifacts discovered,” Ian Miller explained. “We’re confident that once this analytical work has been completed, we will gain a far greater understanding of the historical development of the site. We may not rewrite the history of Caernarfon Castle, but we will certainly enhance it.”

Caernarfon Castle and the English Occupation of Wales

Caernarfon Castle occupies a strategic site on the coast of Wales. It is perfectly situated to guard against invasions by either land or sea. It is also located directly across the Menai Strait from Anglesey Island , which during Edward’s time and before was a major agricultural center.

In the 13 th century, the Welsh were a proud people who prized their independence. Their fierce and unrelenting resistance to Edward I’s occupying forces motivated the king’s decision to build a string of heavily fortified castles along the northern Wales coastline, from which Welsh attacks could be decisively repelled.

The fortress Edward built at Caernarfon was by far the grandest and most splendid of these castles. He established a town and marketplace at the same spot, fully intending it to be the capital and administrative center of his kingdom in Wales.

Caernarfon Castle was strategically important for any conquest of northern Wales. The person who controlled the Menai Strait was also in control of the region’s food supply. ( Kadpot / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Construction of Edward I’s sprawling complex of majestic stone towers and buildings was not fully completed until 1330, 23 years after the king’s death. For 200 years it functioned as a largely impenetrable fortress that helped England maintain military and political control over a reticent and perpetually rebellious colony, under a succession of kings who like Edward also refused to grant Wales its independence.

The situation changed in 1485, when the first Tudor king ( Henry VII ) ascended to the throne in England. The Tudors were Welsh, and under their leadership the relationship between England and Wales changed from contentious to peaceful and harmonious.

With its usefulness for defensive purposes rendered obsolete, Caernarfon Castle was soon abandoned and fell into disrepair. Fortunately, it was a sound and sturdy edifice, and largely resistant to the predations of time. When the English government approved funds to support its repair in 1870, the castle was quickly rebuilt and restored to its former splendor, and ongoing preservation efforts have kept it in good condition since that time.

Behold the Wonders of Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle is one of the most well-known castles in Europe and is now a wildly popular tourist attraction. Unfortunately, it is currently closed as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic—which thankfully didn’t stop the progress of the ambitious Salford University/Cadw survey.

“It is very rare indeed to see an excavation on this scale within a [UNESCO] World Heritage Site, and the results will undoubtedly shed further light on the use and development of the Castle site,” said Ian Halfpenney , the inspector of ancient monuments at Cadw.

“The scale of the work at Caernarfon Castle has provided an unprecedented opportunity to undertake a major excavation within the Lower Ward, and to create a comprehensive digital record via 3D laser scanning of the whole area,” he continued. “We hope this revelation brings even more visitors to the site as soon as it can re-open safely, and highlights that Welsh history is never standing still.”

Archaeologists and preservationists are working hand-in-hand at Caernarfon Castle, and when visitors return there will be much that is new and exciting to explore.


Archaeologists race to uncover secrets of mysterious ancient fort before it collapses into sea

A fort which has stood for well over 2,000 years is finally about to succumb to invasion – by the sea – prompting a race against time for archaeologists to uncover its mysteries.

Dinas Dinlle, near Caernarfon in north Wales, is believed to have been built in the Iron Age, but was later inhabited by the Romans. The land near the site is rapidly eroding and will eventually be entirely lost to the sea.

A dig is underway at the National Trust-owned site, but comes to an end on Tuesday.

The hillfort is built on an unusual hill of glacial drift sediments and overlooks the sea and the Caernarfonshire coastal plain, and in recent history was used in the Second World War pill box and observation post, and has latterly formed part of a golf course.

According to archaeologists from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, which is leading the work at the site with funding from the EU, the fort was originally entirely enclosed, but the majority of the defences on the western side have already been lost to the sea.

Britain's oldest tree: 3000 year old Fortingall Yew

1 /8 Britain's oldest tree: 3000 year old Fortingall Yew

Britain's oldest tree: 3000 year old Fortingall Yew

Britain's oldest tree: 3000 year old Fortingall Yew

Britain's oldest tree: 3000 year old Fortingall Yew

Britain's oldest tree: 3000 year old Fortingall Yew

Britain's oldest tree: 3000 year old Fortingall Yew

Britain's oldest tree: 3000 year old Fortingall Yew

Britain's oldest tree: 3000 year old Fortingall Yew

Britain's oldest tree: 3000 year old Fortingall Yew

Using Ordnance Survey mapping, the team has calculated between 20 and 40 metres of the western side of the fort has been lost since 1900.

Peat deposits at the foot of the cliff below the hillfort have led scientists to estimate the sea would have been a kilometre away 4,000 years ago.

But recently, greater levels of erosion have been seen at the southern end of the fort where considerable impacts were recorded in February this year.

Part of the current work on the fort is to assess the impact of climate change on the structure.

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Rising sea levels, the drying out and desiccation of soils, flooding and more frequent storms all present “significant challenges” to Dinas Dinlle, hastening the erosion of the monument, the team said.

The site has been laser scanned and surveyed by drone to provide accurate monitoring of the rate of erosion.

The current dig is examining “numerous possible roundhouses and other anomalies within the interior of the fort”.

Previous archaeological activity turned up Roman coins, an intaglio (a carved gemstone worn in a ring) and bits of pottery, indicating it was likely inhabited during the Roman occupation of Britain.

“There is a possibility that the prominent, squarish stone mound inside the fort is the remains of a building or tower could it be a Roman pharos or lighthouse? Early medieval occupation of this prominent site is also very likely,” the team said.

National Trust Llyn operations manager Andy Godber told the BBC: “Dinas Dinlle encapsulates the risk to our coastline from climate change."


Hidden Bookshelf Passageway Reveals Disturbing Nazi Collection in Argentina

After World War II, many high-ranking Nazis escaped to Argentina. There, they concealed their identities and tended to live out of the public eye. Now a massive cache of original Nazi artifacts—including a photograph of Adolf Hitler and a ghoulish cranial-measurement device—has turned up in a secret room in a suburb outside of Buenos Aires, the capital. It appears to be the largest discovery of original Nazi artifacts in Argentina’s history.

On June 8, Argentine police, in conjunction with international police force Interpol, raided the home of an undisclosed collector in the suburb of B󩳊r. There, behind a bookshelf leading to a secret passageway, they discovered a hidden room containing approximately 75 Nazi artifacts, including a magnifying glass that is believed to have been used by Adolf Hitler himself. All of the pieces found are authentic Nazi relics.

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Several magnifying glasses engraved with swastikas were found next to a photo negative of the Nazi leader using what looks to be the same magnifying glass, Argentina’s federal police chief Nestor Roncaglia told the Associated Press. Other pieces found among the collection include a medical device used by Nazi doctors to measure head size, a factor used by Nazis in determining a person’s racial purity, and a large bust of Hitler.

Investigators have not come to a conclusion about the origin of these artifacts, and experts on Nazi loot are divided about how, exactly, these items may have made their way to Argentina. As World War II came to a close, some Nazis fled to other countries using “ratlines,” underground networks for fugitive Nazis. Wanted Nazi war criminals fled to several countries in South America, including Argentina, to avoid answering for their crimes in Germany.

A member of the federal police holds an hourglass with Nazi markings at the Interpol headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Credit: Natacha Pisarenko/ AP Photo)

High-ranking officials like Josef Mengele, a concentration camp physician known as the 𠇊ngel of Death,” and top camp administrator Adolf Eichmann settled in Argentina. In 1960, Eichmann was kidnapped by Israeli agents from his home in Buenos Aires and brought to Israel to stand trial he was later executed.

Argentina kept a sympathetic, pro-Nazi stance for some time under the rule of President Juan Domingo Perón, and it’s possible the artifacts found in Argentina were brought by Nazis themselves, said Dr. Wesley Fisher, Director of Research for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. “They clearly were bringing with them paraphernalia that was important to the Nazi regime.”

Fisher said items such as these would have originally belonged to senior officials in the Nazi government, but could have been stolen from them and dispersed by other persons later. “There may be an underground or secret market for these things,” said Fisher. 𠇋ut it would seem more likely that these items were brought in after the war.”

A Nazi medical device used to measure head size is seen at the Interpol headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Credit: Natacha Pisarenko/ AP Photo)

Not all experts agree. Guy Walters, author of the 2009 book Hunting Evil: The Nazi War Criminals Who Escaped and the Dramatic Hunt to Bring Them to Justice, said there’s no way that the artifacts found in Argentina would have come from high-ranking Nazis. �olf Eichmann and Josef Mengele escaped with very little luggage,” said Walters. “[Eichmann] was not the type of man to collect artifacts. Mengele was a richer man, but again, it makes no sense for someone like Josef Mengele to collect that amount of Nazi junk.”

The Nazis who escaped via the ratlines were only able to carry 𠇊 couple of suitcases” with them, noted Walters, and would not have had enough room for the sheer number of artifacts that were found in Argentina. Plus, most S.S. officers worked hard to conceal their identities after fleeing Germany. “The idea that they were traveling with objects like Hitler’s magnifying glass is simply unbelievable,” he says. “This is only a secret collection because it’s tasteless.”

A knife with Nazi markings is seen at the Interpol headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Credit: Natacha Pisarenko/ AP Photo)

As for the significance of the medical equipment and the photo negative of Hitler using the magnifying glass? There are lots of objects that Hitler touched, but it doesn’t mean they would belong to a senior Nazi, Walters said. “There are a lot of people in the world who collect Nazi memorabilia, and some of them live in Argentina,” said Walters. “They’re not illegal. You can buy this stuff on eBay.”

Since being discovered, the artifacts have been put on display at the Delegation of Argentine Israeli Associations, in Buenos Aires.

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Navy Seal Military reveals secret mission in an Ancient Structure buried in Antarctica

On January 23, 2018, Emmy Award-winning journalist, Linda Moulton Howe, released video testimony of a new informant discussing her highly classified mission in a large ancient alien structure, buried under the ice of Antarctica.

The informant states that on a classified mission conducted in 2003, he entered a very large octagonal-shaped structure located near the Beardmore glacier that extended deep into the icy interior of the glacier.

The informant is a retired US Navy Seal who was interviewed for the first time by Howe on July 19, 2018. He used the pseudonym Spartan 1 in the YouTube video recorded by Howe, where his face is shaded and his voice she is altered to protect her identity. Howe says he personally controlled Spartan 1, which provided extensive documentation to support his military career.

Earlier, Howe released the testimony of another military informant, Brian, who was a Navy flight engineer who had flown numerous support missions with the Antarctic Development Squadron from 1983 to 1997. He witnessed a number of anomalies that they indicate hidden structures or bases located deep beneath the Antarctic ice.

He says he witnessed the discovery of silver flying saucers in the Transantarctic Mountains, not so far away, as Howe pointed out, from where the Navy Seal had carried out his mission. The Navy Seal says that the ground-penetrating radar had discovered the structure that was an eight-sided octagon, as Howe elaborated.

In 2003, a group of special operations of the US Navy went to Antarctica to investigate a perfectly geometrical eight-sided octagonal structure discovered by a penetrating radar inside the Beardmore glacier, about 93 miles from the American station of McMurdo .

Another previous team of engineers and scientists had carved the top layer of an octagon made of a pure black substance that had been built over two other black octagonal structures that descended deep into the 2-mile-thick ice.

In the video, the Navy Seal (aka Spartan 1) described the launch of his mission from an aircraft carrier that traveled near the Ross Sea west of the Antarctic. He was taken by helicopter to McMurdo station, the largest American base in Antarctica.

Spartan 1 described entering a door about 50 feet below the ice. He estimated the walls of the structure about 18 to 30 feet thick (6-10 meters) and the height of the ceiling about 22-28 feet (7-9 meters). He said that the walls, the ceiling and the floor were made of a black basalt material that looked like polished black marble.

The interior was heated to about 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 degrees Celsius), and was also lit by a lime green source projected from the ceiling and floor. He did not see any heating or lighting system, which was added to the mystery of the buried structure.

Only one part of the structure, the witness said, was discovered by the archaeological teams, with the remainder buried under the ice and which extended far below. The ground penetrating radar showed that the structure was octagonal in shape and covered an area of ​​62 acres (about 0.5 square kilometers).

Spartan 1 described the walls and doors covered with hieroglyphs about 20 cm high and about 5 cm deep. The hieroglyphics were neither Egyptian nor maya, but they appeared similar to both in terms of depiction of animals and other strange symbols.

Significantly, one of the symbols was very similar to the image of the Black Sun used by the Nazi SS, who had a large version built on the floor of their headquarters at Wewelsburg Castle. The image of the Black Sun continues to be banned in Germany with their Nazi propaganda law. Spartan 1 explained that part of his mission was to transport scientists who would document the buried structure and the hieroglyphic symbols, taking pictures and making drawings.

He said his team had to leave one of the scientists who insisted that more time was needed to make an adequate inventory of what had been discovered. Spartan 1 stated that the structure was built by a group of human-looking extraterrestrials who were involved in the genetic engineering of humanity.

The testimony of Spartan 1 is very significant because it provides a rare eyewitness account of what was actually found inside one of the buried structures, whose age extends into antiquity. The former eyewitness of the Antarctic, Brian, actually could not see or enter one of the artifacts. What Brian tells, was when he saw a large hole penetrate the South Pole, as it flew over his head through a restricted and controlled airspace.

To date, only two other informers / insiders have come forward to share their reports of being brought in or to witness the ancient artifacts buried under the ice caps of Antarctica. These are Corey Goode and Pete Peterson, who claim to have witnessed some of the artifacts buried during their respective visits.

Goode claims to have been taken to Antarctica in early 2016 and 2017, where he saw secret bases and remains of an ancient civilization buried deep beneath the ice caps. He claims to have witnessed some bodies of human alien hybrids, which were part of the genetic experiments conducted thousands of years ago, from an extraterrestrial race with a humanoid appearance.

Peterson claims to have been taken to Antarctica during classified missions, where he was given the task of understanding the advanced technologies found near three mother ships, one or more of which he witnessed during his missions. Peterson’s testimony confirms Goode’s account of an ancient extraterrestrial base that has been used as a center for a global civilization. This raises some intriguing questions.

Was the symbol of the Black Sun a pictorial representation of an ancient global civilization in which the South Pole was the fulcrum with the spirals heading towards its distant colonies? In the book, the Hidden History of Antarctica, I present evidence that German nationalists who use the symbol of the black sun have established a colony in Antarctica,

According to Howe’s analysis, the structure witnessed by Spartan 1 dates back to 33 million years ago, which is the general date given by conventional geologists when Antarctica was ice-free. The independent testimony of Spartan 1 corroborates important elements of what Goode and Peterson described, and what others claim lies hidden under the frozen continent.

As Spartan 1’s testimony is released through Howe’s video series, we can get important answers to questions about what lies deep beneath the Antarctic polar ice caps.

VIDEO:


Archaeological secrets of Nottingham Castle revealed in TV show

Nottingham Castle will feature in an upcoming episode of an archaeological television series.

On Wednesday night (March 3), at 9pm, the city&aposs prominent and ancient landmark will take centre stage on More4&aposs &aposThe Great British Dig&apos.

The episode will go behind the scenes to look at the archaeological finds of the world-class attraction.

Viewers will experience the unearthing of the hidden history of William the Conqueror’s lost priory and the landscape of Nottingham during the Domesday Book era, of which the Castle is an integral part of the discovery.

Hugh Dennis and his team of experts visited Nottingham Castle during the week of an archaeological dig to find out more information about the lay of the land during the time of the lost Priory.

The Nottingham Castle Trust team appear alongside Hugh, talking about the Castle and the significant role it has played in the city’s history.

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Josh Osoro Pickering, Engagement & Participation Officer at Nottingham Castle Trust, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Hugh and The Great British Dig team to the Castle.

"Their insight into the archaeological heritage of the site has helped us to better understand the significance of Nottingham Castle in relation to William the Conqueror’s lost priory.

“We can’t wait to see the Castle on the show this Wednesday, and we’re excited to share with all the viewers the rebellious and unique history of Nottingham Castle.”

Viewers of the series will get a sneak peek into the grounds of Nottingham Castle which is soon to reopen following the completion of a £30 million redevelopment.

The historical landmark has undergone an extensive programme of conservation, renovations and investment and will reopen later this year.

A visit to Nottingham Castle upon reopening will include new art galleries housing permanent collections of fine-art and touring exhibitions, mixed reality galleries exploring 1000-year of Nottingham’s rebellious past and the legendary outlaw Robin Hood.

A brand-new Visitor Centre and incredible outdoor adventure playground, Hood’s Hideout, will also be part of the new offer.


The extraordinary ship burial was discovered just as World War Two was breaking out in 1939. Widowed landowner Edith Pretty had called in local archaeologist Basil Brown to investigate a series of mysterious earth mounds on her estate on the Deben estuary, near Woodbridge in Suffolk.

He discovered a royal burial chamber, which included a warrior's helmet, a gold belt buckle, sword and shield, believed to have belonged to East Anglia's 7th Century ruler King Rædwald.

Martin Carver, professor emeritus at the University of York and an expert on Sutton Hoo, told BBC History Magazine the ship was a "furnished mini-hall of the man lying in state".

"He had his personal things with him in the coffin, and on top were his warrior's uniform and his equipment for hosting a feast [in the afterlife]," he said.

The finds revealed the kingdom's extensive trading links, not only with Scandinavia, but also with the Byzantine Empire (centred on Constantinople - modern-day Istanbul) and Egypt.

They revolutionised historians' understanding of the 7th Century, previously seen as a backward time when England was divided into Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

In all, there were 263 finds of gold, garnet, silver, bronze, enamel, iron, wood, bone, textile, feathers and fur.

Sue Brunning, from the British Museum in London, said: "The Sutton Hoo ship burial is one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time."


Huge archaeological find at school site reveals North Wales' secrets from 2,000 years ago

Several hundred Roman artefacts thought to date back almost 2,000 years have been discovered on the outskirts of a Roman fort.

Shards of "highly decorated" pottery have been unearthed as part of a recent dig on the former site of Ysgol Pendalar in Caernarfon , which lies near Segontium Roman Fort.

As well as tableware imported from Gaul - a historical region of Western Europe - ancient cooking pots and amphoras (large pottery jugs used for carrying liquids) have also been discovered.

The director of the excavation, David Hopewell of the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust, said the area appears to have been part of a trading settlement between the first and fourth century.

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Many of the objects found are likely to have been brought in with the army as the fort - established nearly 2,000 years ago as a military base - was used to control the land and coast conquered by the Romans.

Speaking to North Wales Live, Mr Hopewell, said: "One of the major clues as to what is going on is the amount of artefacts we&aposve come up with.

"So far we&aposve found several hundreds shards of Roman pottery - a lot of it very highly decorated tableware that had been imported from Gaul.

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"We have lots of black burnished ware which are cooking pots that come from Dorset, along with amphoras which are big pottery jugs used for transporting liquids from around the world.

"In amphoras for instance, they would have been bringing in wine, olive oil and they had a particular pungent fish sauce that they used."

Mr Hopewell added that a Roman well has also been discovered as part of the dig, as well as areas of burning from activity from what is believed to be a civilian settlement.

Bright orange and red soil discovered during the dig also suggests evidence of the use of industrial ovens and pits in the area where Mr Hopewell said craft and trade would likely have been carried out.

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"This site was covered by a concrete slab and we didn&apost really know what was here so we&aposre now working on a grant aided project by Cadw to assess the archaeology in this area," he said.

"Fortunately, there is quite a lot of archaeology surviving at the site.

"We&aposre two weeks into the excavation with one week to go so we&aposre only going to be able to sample what we&aposve got here but we can see it&aposs an important site with lots of activity that&aposs to do with the settlement outside the Roman fort."

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Up until the early 20th century, the area was all farm land until building work began in the early 1920s.

It was around this time that numerous artefacts and the foundations of ancient wooden buildings were discovered when the site was initially excavated by Mortimer Wheeler in the 1920s.

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It was noted that the builders of houses along Constantine Road and Vaynol Road had discovered Roman archaeology.

Wheeler recorded a road, wells, ovens, pits and traces of wooden buildings that are typical of a vicus - a type of Roman civilian settlement commonly found alongside the roads leading from forts.

This would have been a street of wooden buildings where craft and trade was carried out.

However, while Mr Hopewell says no such foundations have been discovered at the site yet, there is clear evidence of Roman occupation in the area.

Around 20 volunteers, local school children and students from North Wales Training have been helping experts at the site, which is understood to cover between 25 and 35 metres.

Following the findings, a free open day will be held for the public to discover more about the recent findings at the site on Sunday from 10am until 4pm. No booking is required.

There will be guided tours of the site, activities with Roman soldiers and an opportunity to create Roman mosaics.


Both the Great and Little Ormes have been etymologically linked to the Old Norse words urm or orm that mean sea serpent (English worm is a cognate). One explanation is that the Great Orme is the head, with its body being the land between the Great and Little Ormes, whilst another, possibly more likely, is that the shape of the Great Orme viewed as one enters the isthmus of Llandudno from the SE landward end resembles a giant sleeping creature. The Vikings left no written texts of their time in North Wales although they certainly raided the area. They did not found any permanent settlements, unlike on the Wirral Peninsula, but some Norse names remain in use in the former Kingdom of Gwynedd (such as Point of Ayr near Talacre).

Despite there being a theory for the origin of the name "Orme", the word was not commonly used until after the creation of the Victorian resort of Llandudno in the mid-19th century. Before this, Welsh names were predominantly used locally and in cartography to name the headland's landward features and the surrounding area. The entire peninsula on which Llandudno was built was known as the Creuddyn (the medieval name of the cwmwd – a historical division of land in Wales) the headland itself was called Y Gogarth or Pen y Gogarth its promontories were Pen trwyn, Llech and Trwyn y Gogarth.

Orme only appears to have been applied to the headland as seen from the sea. In 1748, the Plan of the Bay & Harbour of Conway in Caernarvon Shire by Lewis Morris names the body of the peninsula "CREUDDYN" but applies the name "Orme's Head" to the headland's north-westerly seaward point. [3] The first series Ordnance Survey map (published in 1841 and before the establishment of Llandudno) follows this convention. The headland is called the "Great Orme's Head" but its landward features all have Welsh names. [4] It is likely that Orme became established as its common name due to Llandudno's burgeoning tourist trade because a majority of visitors and holidaymakers arrived by sea. The headland was the first sight of their destination in the three-hour journey from Liverpool by paddle steamer.

Parts of the Great Orme are managed as a nature reserve by the Conwy County Borough Countryside Service. The area, which is 2 miles (3.2 km) long by 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, has a number of protective designations including Special Area of Conservation, Heritage Coast, Country Park, and Site of Special Scientific Interest. The local authority provides a warden service on the Great Orme that regularly patrols the special scientific and conservation areas. [5] There are numerous maintained paths for walking to the summit a section of the long-distance North Wales Path also crosses the headland. About half the Great Orme is in use as farmland, mostly for sheep grazing. In 2015, the National Trust purchased the summit's 140-acre Parc Farm for £1million. [6]

Geology Edit

The Great Orme is a peninsula made mostly of limestone and dolomite, formed during the Early Carboniferous part of the Earth's geological history. Most of the Great Orme's rocks are between 339 and 326 million years old. [7] The upper surface of the Great Orme is particularly noted for its limestone pavements covering several headland areas. There are also rich seams of dolomite-hosted copper ore. The Great Orme copper mine was estimated to have produced enough copper to make about 2,000 tons of bronze during the Bronze Age. [8] The slopes of the Great Orme are subject to occasional subsidence. [9]

Wells Edit

Natural wells were greatly prized in limestone districts and the Great Orme was no exception. Water was required for copper mining purposes as well as for domestic and agricultural use. The following Great Orme wells are known and most still supply running water:

  • Ffynnon Llygaid. Possibly one of the wells supplying the needs of the once populous Gogarth community before much of it was lost to coastal erosion.
  • Ffynnon Gogarth. The main water source for Gogarth and in the later 18th and early 19th centuries the power source to operate the famous Tom and Gerry engine that through a long series of Brammock rods powered the mine water pumps at the Higher shaft near the summit above Pyllau.
  • Ffynnon Powel. One of the water supplies together with ffynnon Tudno and ffynnon Rufeining serving the medieval farming community of Cyngreawdr.
  • Ffynnon Galchog. This well, near Mynydd Isaf, to the north of Pen Dinas, is a source of lime-rich water known for its petrifying qualities, it is one of two wells known to have been used in the washing of copper ores.
  • Ffynnon Tudno. Situated beyond the road, near the north-east corner of St Tudno's Church, ffynnon Tudno was, together with ffynnon Rufeining, a principal source of water for the community settled round the church.
  • Ffynnon Rufeining. Translated as "Roman Well", it takes its name from the tradition that Roman copper miners used its waters to wash the copper ores mined nearby.
  • Ffynnon Llech. A spring of water in Ogof Llech, a cave on the headland which is very difficult to access. It is claimed to have been used as a hermitage by Saint Tudno, a 6th-century monk of Bangor-is-y-Coed who established the first church here.
  • Ffynnon Gaseg. Literally "Mare's well", this spring was revealed at the side of the road, about halfway round and near the highest point, during the construction of the Marine Drive in the 19th century. It was ideally situated to refresh the horses on the five-mile carriage drive round the base of the Great Orme.

Flora Edit

The Great Orme has a very rich flora, including most notably the only known site of the critically endangered wild cotoneaster (Cotoneaster cambricus), of which only six wild plants are known. [10] Many of the flowers growing in shallow lime-rich earth on the headland have developed from the alpine sub-Arctic species that developed following the last ice-age. Spring and early summer flowers include bloody cranesbill, thrift and sea campion, clinging to the sheer rock face, while pyramidal orchid, common rockrose and wild thyme carpet the grassland. The old mines and quarries also provide suitable habitat for species of plants including spring squill growing on the old copper workings. The white horehound (Marrubium vulgare), which is found growing on the westernmost slopes of the Orme is said to have been used, and perhaps cultivated, by 14th-century monks, no doubt to make herbal remedies including cough mixtures. The rare horehound plume moth (Wheeleria spilodactylus) lays her eggs amongst the silky leaves and its caterpillars rely for food solely upon this one plant.

Fauna Edit

The headland is the habitat of several endangered species of butterflies and moths, including the silky wave, the silver-studded blue (Plebejus argus subsp. caernesis) and the grayling (Hipparchia semele thyone) These last two have adapted to the Great Orme by appearing earlier in the year to take advantage of the limestone flowers and grasses. Also they are smaller than in other parts of the country and are recognised as a definite subspecies. The Great Orme is reported as the northernmost known habitat within Britain for several 'southern' species of spider notably: Segestria bavarica, Episinus truncatus, Micrargus laudatus, Drassyllus praeficus, Liocranum rupicola and Ozyptila scabricula.

The headland is also home to about 200 Kashmir goats. The herd, which has roamed the Orme since the middle of the 19th century, is descended from a pair of goats that were presented by the Shah of Persia to Queen Victoria shortly after her coronation in 1837. [11] Numbers are controlled by compulsory sterilization the action was taken because competition for resources was forcing goats off the Orme into gardens and property. [12] The Royal Welsh, a large regiment in the British Army, is permitted by the British Monarch to choose an animal from the herd to be a regimental goat (if it passes selection, it is given the honorary rank of lance corporal). [13] [14] Due to Covid 19 in Wales, many goats have been entering the town because of the lack of people at the same time, the goat population on the Orme has grown rapidly because park wardens have been unable to administer sterilisation injections due to pandemic restrictions. [15]

The caves and abandoned mine workings are home to large colonies of the rare horseshoe bat. This small flying mammal navigates the caves and tunnels by using echo location to obtain a mental picture of its surroundings. During the daytime, horseshoe bats are found suspended from the roof of tunnels and caves, with their wings tightly wrapped around their bodies. Only at dusk do the bats leave the caves and mine shafts, to feed on beetles and moths.

The cliffs are host to colonies of seabirds (such as guillemots, kittiwakes, razorbills and even fulmars as well as gulls). The Great Orme is also home to many resident and migrant land birds including ravens, little owls and peregrine falcons. The Red-billed Chough is occasionally spotted.

Below the cliffs, the rock-pools around the headland are a rich and varied habitat for aquatic plants and animals including barnacles, red beadlet anemones and hermit crab

Copper mines Edit

Large-scale human activity on the Great Orme began around 4,000 years ago during the Bronze Age with the opening of several copper mines. The copper ore malachite was mined using stones and bone tools. [16] It is estimated that up to 1,760 tonnes of copper was mined during the period. [17] The mine was most productive in the period between 1700BC and 1400BC, after which most of the readily accessible copper had been extracted. The site was so productive that by 1600BC, there were no other copper mines left open in Britain because they could not compete with the Great Orme. [18]

The mine was abandoned and evidence suggests it was not worked again until the late 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Mining began in the late 17th century due to the demand for copper and improved ability to pump water out of the mine. A steam engine was introduced in 1832 and ten years later an 822-metre long tunnel was mined at sea level to drain the deeper mine workings. Commercial-scale mining on the Great Orme ended in the 1850s, although small scale mining continued until the mines were finally abandoned in 1881. [ citation needed ]

In 1987, the improvement of the derelict mine site was commissioned by the local council and Welsh Development Agency. The area was to be landscaped and turned into a car park. Since excavation began in 1987, over 5 miles (8.0 km) of prehistoric tunnels have been discovered. It is estimated that less than half of the prehistoric tunnels have been discovered so far. [ according to whom? ]

In April 1991 the Great Orme Mines site was opened to the public. Pathways and viewing platforms were constructed to give access to the surface excavations. In 1996 a bridge was erected over the top of Vivian's Shaft. The visitor centre's extension, built in 2014, contains a selection of mining tools and bronze axes along with displays about life and death in the Bronze Age, mining and ancient metallurgy. Also accessible is the 3,500-year-old Great Cavern.

Medieval period Edit

The medieval parish of Llandudno comprised three townships all established on the lower slopes of the Great Orme. The township of Y Gogarth at the south-western 'corner' of the Great Orme was latterly the smallest but it contained the palace of the Bishop of Bangor. The Manor of Gogarth (which included all three townships) had been bestowed on Anian, Bishop of Bangor by King Edward I in 1284 in recognition of services rendered to the crown, notably the baptism of the first English Prince of Wales, newly born at Caernarfon. The palace was burnt down by Owain Glyndŵr in 1400 and the ruins have mostly been washed away together with much of the township by coastal erosion in the Conwy Estuary.

The significant agricultural yet north facing township of Cyngreawdr includes the original parish church and rectory of St Tudno, a 6th- or 7th-century foundation. Following the Glyndŵr uprising, the villagers of the Creuddyn peninsula were harshly taxed and by 1507 they had nearly all fled their homes. Henceforth the cultivated land lay fallow and is now grazed by sheep and goats. Llandudno's Victorian cemetery, which is still in regular use, was laid out in 1859 adjacent to the 12th-century church of Saint Tudno where open-air services are held every Sunday morning in summer. Nearby are several large ancient stones that have become shrouded in folklore and also an unexplained stone-lined avenue called Hwylfa'r Ceirw leading towards Cilfin Ceirw (Precipice of Deer).

The third township was Yn Wyddfid clustered below the Iron Age hill fort of Pen y Dinas at the northeastern "corner" of the Great Orme. With the reopening of the copper mines from the 18th century onwards, this township grew considerably in size with the streets and cottages of the mining village laid out on the largely abandoned agricultural holdings.

Victorian expansion Edit

In 1825 the Board of the Port of Liverpool obtained a Private Act of Parliament to help improve safety and communications for the merchant marine operating in the Irish Sea and Liverpool Bay. The Act allowed them to erect and maintain telegraph stations between Liverpool and the Isle of Anglesey. This would help ship-owners, merchants and port authorities in Liverpool know the location of all mercantile shipping along the North Wales coast.

In 1826 the summit of the Great Orme was chosen as the location for one of the 11 optical semaphore stations that would form an unbroken 80 mi (130 km) chain from Liverpool to Holyhead. The original semaphore station on the Orme, which consisted of small building with living accommodation, used a 15 m (49 ft) ship's mast with three pairs of moveable arms to send messages to either Puffin Island 7 mi (11 km) to the west or 8.5 mi (13.7 km) to Llysfaen in the east. Skilled telegraphers could send semaphore messages between Liverpool and Holyhead in under a minute.

In March 1855 the Great Orme telegraph station was converted to electric telegraph. Landlines and submarine cables connected the Orme to Liverpool and Holyhead. At first the new equipment was installed in the original Semaphore Station on the summit until it was moved down to the Great Orme lighthouse in 1859. Two years later the Great Orme semaphore station closed with the completion of a direct electric telegraph connection from Liverpool to Holyhead.

By the late 1860s, Llandudno's blossoming tourist trade saw many Victorians visit the old semaphore station at the summit to enjoy the panorama. This led to the development of the summit complex. By the early 20th century, a nine-bed hotel was built on the site. It served as the clubhouse for the Great Orme Golf Club that was founded in the early 1900s. [19] The course closed in 1939 and is now a sheep farm. During the Second World War, the RAF built a Chain Home Low radar station at the summit. In 1952 the site was taken into private ownership until it was acquired by Llandudno Urban Town Council in 1961.

Second World War Edit

The Royal Artillery coast artillery school was transferred from Shoeburyness to the Great Orme in 1940 (and additionally a Practice Camp was established on the Little Orme in 1941) during the Second World War. Target practice was undertaken from the headland to both towed and anchored boats. Experimental work and training was also provided for radio direction finding. The foundations of some of the buildings and installations remain and can be seen from the western end of the Marine Drive. The site of the school was scheduled as an Ancient Monument in 2011 by CADW, the Welsh Government's Historic Monuments body. This was done in recognition of the site's significance in a UK and Welsh context.

Also of note was the Aerial Defence Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) known as "X3" which was a 3-storey building erected in 1942. This seems to have been a secret radar experimental station above the artillery school. The road put in to serve it now serves a car park on the approximate site of the station, which was demolished in 1956.


Secrets of an ancient Tel Aviv fortress revealed

New archeological research from the Tel Qudadi archaeological dig near Tel Aviv suggests an ancient link between the Israeli city and the Greek island of Lesbos -- a find producing new insights into alliances and trade routes in the ancient world.

Tel Qudadi, an ancient fortress located in the heart of Tel Aviv at the mouth of the Yarkon River, was first excavated more than 70 years ago -- but the final results of neither the excavations nor the finds were ever published. Now, research on Tel Qudadi by archaeologists at Tel Aviv University has unpeeled a new layer of history, indicating that there is much more to learn from the site, including evidence that links ancient Israel to the Greek island of Lesbos.

"The secrets of this ancient fortress are only beginning to be revealed," Dr. Alexander Fantalkin and Dr. Oren Tal of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology say. Their new research was recently published in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly and BABESH: Annual Papers on Mediterranean Archaeology.

Well developed laws at sea

It was previously believed that the fortress was established during the 10th century B.C.E. at the behest of King Solomon, in order to protect the approach from the sea and prevent possible hostile raids against inland settlements located along the Yarkon River. The establishment of the fortress at Tel Qudadi was taken then as evidence of the existence of a developed maritime policy in the days of the United Monarchy in ancient Israel.

In another reconstruction, it was suggested that the fortress was erected sometime in the 9th century B.C.E. and could be attributed to the Kingdom of Israel. Now a careful re-assessment of the finds conducted by Tel Aviv University researchers indicates that the fortress cannot be dated earlier than the late 8th -- early 7th centuries B.C.E., much later than previously suggested.

What this means is that the fortress, although maintained by a local population, was an integral part of a network that served the interests of the Assyrian empire in the region. The Assyrians, once rulers of a mighty empire centred in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq), ruled Israel in the late 8th and most of the 7th centuries B.C.E.

From Lesbos to Tel Aviv

One of the key finds, say researchers, is an amphora (a large jar used to transport oil or wine) which hails from the Greek island of Lesbos. The existence of the artifact, together with a re-assessment of the local ceramic assemblage of Tel Qudadi, has helped researchers to re-calculate the timeline of the site's operation. Amazingly, it seems to be the earliest example of the Lesbian amphorae discovered so far in the Mediterranean, including the island of Lesbos itself.

While a single find cannot prove the existence of trade between ancient Israel and Lesbos, the finding has much to say about the beginnings of the island's amphora production and has implications for understanding trade routes between different parts of the Mediterranean.

What remains a mystery, say the researchers, is how the Lesbian amphora arrived at Tel Qudadi in the first place. It's probable that it was brought as part of an occasional trade route around the Mediterranean -- possibly by a Phoenician ship.

An important sea-route for commerce and trade

Now that the site can be dated from the late 8th -- early 7th centuries B.C.E., the fortress at Tel Qudadi may be considered an important intermediate station on the maritime route between Egypt and Phoenicia, serving the Assyrian interests in the Levantine coast rather than a part of the Israelite Kingdom.

The Assyrian interest in the coastal area is known to have stemmed from their desire to be involved in the international trade between Phoenicia, Philistia and Egypt. The fortress should be seen then as part of a network of fortresses and trading posts along the coast. It demonstrates that the Assyrian officials invested a great deal of effort in the routing of commerce and its concomitant taxes.


One Man Exposed the Secrets of the Freemasons. His Disappearance Led to Their Downfall

In the early morning hours of September 12, 1826, a Batavia, New York stoneworker named William Morgan went missing from the local jail. Morgan was not a man of importance. In fact, he was known as a bit of a drunk𠅊 drifter who, according to historian and author of American Hysteria: The Untold Story of Mass Political Extremism in the United States Andrew Burt,“had moved his family relentlessly throughout the countryside, hauling his wife, Lucinda, and two young children from one failed venture to the next.”

But Morgan was more than the vagabond he appeared to be. He had also managed to infiltrate the secret society of freemasons and was threatening to publish a book exposing the powerful organization’s tactics. As a result of his plan, the local Masons began harassing Morgan, hoping to stop the publication of the exposé.

After being held in prison on trumped up charges, Morgan was bailed out by a group of Masons and carried away, never to be seen again. The conspiracy surrounding his disappearance fueled local anti-Mason sentiment, which in turn led to a national anti-Mason movement that shook to the core one of history’s most influential secret societies and changed American politics forever.

Long before the Freemasons became a flashpoint in early 19th century politics, the order was a humble stoneworkers organization, believed to have been formed in England and Scotland in the 1500s. The organization soon took on a more philosophical air, using the principles of stonemasonry as a guiding metaphor in order to secretly assist its members in other areas of business and society.

The first Masonic lodges began showing up in the colonies in the early 18th century, and swiftly gained power and influence. Members of the Freemasons eventually played a pivotal role in the formation of the United States� of the 39 signatures on the U.S. Constitution belonged to Masons𠅊nd, by the time Morgan disappeared in the 1820s, it had representatives entrenched at every level of the country’s social, economic and political hierarchies. Nowhere was this more true than in New York.

Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

To Morgan, and his friend David C. Miller, a local newspaper publisher struggling to keep his publication afloat, the successful Freemasons presented a daily reminder of wealth that seemed, for them, simply unattainable. As A.P. Bentley wrote in his 1874 book History of the Abduction of William Morgan and the Anti-Masonic Excitement of 1826-30, The two men 𠇎ntered into partnership to print a book which the public was to be told disclosed the secrets of masonry, in hopes to make a fortune out of the gaping curiosity of the vulgar.”

Under the false pretenses of being a Mason himself, Morgan gained access to the local lodge and documented several of the organization’s cryptic ceremonies and induction rituals. Once Morgan had these veiled details down on paper, Miller began teasing their very public release. In August of 1826, Miller hinted at the incendiary nature of the upcoming exposé, saying he had discovered the “strongest evidence of rottenness” in the centuries-old institution.

Miller and Morgan’s threat to reveal the innermost secrets of the Masons spread quickly. In every neighboring county, Masonic chapters were soon gripped with panic, fear and outrage at what the two men might disclose. Imagining the worst, committees were organized to assess the potential fallout from Morgan and Miller’s proposed story. As the publish date approached, the Masons began a targeted campaign of harassment against the two would-be book publishers.

Law enforcement officers loyal to the Freemasons arrested and jailed Morgan and Miller for outstanding debts. Miller’s offices became a target as well. On September 8, a posse of drunken Masons tried to destroy his print shop, and it was damaged by a small fire two days later.

On September 11, a gang of Masons showed up at Morgan’s house with an arrest warrant for petty larceny. It seems he had borrowed a shirt and tie from the owner of the local tavern and never returned it. Soon after he arrived at the police station, the charges were dropped, but Morgan was immediately arrested for another petty debt of $2.65. Late in the evening, he was bailed out by group of Masons led by Loton Lawson—the mastermind of the kidnapping, according to Light on Masonry, a 19th century compilation of documents about freemasonry.

He was escorted hurriedly into a carriage and taken away, never to be seen again. The last word anyone heard Morgan utter was, allegedly, “Murder!”

Anti-Freemason, William Morgan (1774 - c.1826).

Kean Collection/Getty Images

The rumors of Morgan’s disappearance spread throughout New York. With each new county that heard the news, it seemed the brutality and drama of the kidnapping grew exponentially, while the desire to portray it accurately diminished at a similar rate. The “insular, secretive, powerful” Masons, as Burt described them, soon became a popular symbol of everything that was wrong with the country.

The men accused of Morgan’s disappearance were put on trial, but in January of 1827, they were handed relatively lenient sentences. Although they had been involved in a potential murder, the four defendants—Loton Lawson, Eli Bruce, Col. Edward Sawyer and Nicholas G. Chesebro—received prison terms ranging from one month to two years in jail, convicted, as Burt put it, of 𠇏orcibly moving Morgan from one place to another against his will.” The all-powerful Masons had, in the eyes of those who opposed them, gotten away with murder

𠇎verybody loves a good conspiracy story,” says Burt. 𠇊nd that was the initial spark—headlines, outrage, crimes, a murder. It didn’t take long before a movement was borne.” The outrage led to calls for political action. Citizens from all over New York state met and declared their intent to stop voting for candidates with Masonic ties. If New Yorkers didn’t want to be ruled by the Masons, their most immediate course of action was to vote them out. That sentiment extended to the media as well, as Mason-owned newspapers were boycotted.

The fervor in New York slowly made its way around the nation. As early as the next elections in 1828, anti-Masonic candidates were winning offices all over the country. Even the sitting president, John Quincy Adams, declared that he had never been, and would never be, a Mason. The Anti-Masonic party𠅌onsidered America’s first “third party’—had officially gone national. In 1830, they became the first political party to hold a presidential nominating convention, a custom eventually adopted by all major American political parties.


Watch the video: CAERNARFON CASTLE, NORTH WALES (January 2022).