Ben Lake MP and Elin Jones MS recently joined archaeological experts from the University who are currently carrying out excavation work at a site near Talsarn, in the Aeron Valley.

As part of the Portalis project and led by Professor Martin Bates, the team of researchers, students and community volunteers are conducting an archaeological dig at the Llanllyr site as they seek to solve and uncover more of Ceredigion’s hidden histories.

Previously the team have discovered numerous artefacts on the site including a series of stone tools that dated back to a time before farmers arrived in Ceredigion; a period archaeologists call the Mesolithic.  This year the team has uncovered a pit containing charcoal dated to the late Neolithic period, when farmers had arrived in Ceredigion.

Images: Emma Spreadborough

Senedd Member Elin Jones and Ben Lake MP were invited to visit the site and meet with Professor Martin Bates and his team to hear more about the Portalis project and the work being carried out in Talsarn.  Professor Bates, UWTSD Lead Academic on the Portalis project said:

“It was great to be able to showcase the early prehistoric record in Ceredigion to Elin and Ben.  Our excavations are focusing on a relatively poorly understood period in our county’s past.  By linking our excavations to records of vegetation and climate change we hope to get a better understanding of the impact of humans on our landscape when the first farmers arrived.”

A keen history enthusiast, Ben Lake MP commented:

“It was a real pleasure to visit the project at Llanllyr, and to see Ceredigion’s pre-historic past being unearthed. The team have already made discoveries that provide important insights about life in the area back in the Stone Age, and they are to be commended for the way in which they are sharing these discoveries with the local community. I am looking forward to learning more about their work as the project comes to a conclusion.”

Senedd Llywydd and Ceredigion MS Elin Jones, said:

“Seeing the excavation site at Talsarn brought archaeology very much to life. The evidence available in the soil at Talsarn shows the thousands of years when people have lived on the land of Ceredigion and their way of life over those years. Knowing more about that enriches our understanding of our history and our use of the land – and that is particularly important in a time of new climate.

We’re lucky to have the expertise at hand at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David to undertake the work of digging and interpreting the discoveries.”

Images: Joshua Rees

The €1.95m Portalis project, supported with €1.5m funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme, aims to raise awareness and support community and business sustainable engagement, resulting in the establishment of two new experiential tourism and cultural networks in Ireland and Wales.  The project is led by South – East Technological University, (SETU) and is supported by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Ceredigion County Council and Waterford Chamber of Commerce.

Gwilym Dyfri Jones, Provost of the University’s Lampeter and Carmarthen campuses added:

“We were delighted to welcome Elin and Ben to Talsarn to witness some of the excellent work being carried out here by Martin and the team as part of this wonderful project.  Portalis is an exciting cross-border, transdisciplinary project that explores the record of some of the earliest people in Ireland and Wales. The partnership delivering the project unites in the shared purpose of citizen led co-development of fully inclusive activities tailored to the needs of our communities and visitors.  We’re very excited to see how this project develops.”