sábado, 26 de setembro de 2009

off topic: tube map design

the guy that created the london tube map must be a genius

link for the
Travel Time Tube Map

inspired in Oskar Carlin's

sexta-feira, 25 de setembro de 2009

Day 31

Day 31

August 31, rainy morning in Holyhead. I had some plans for a productive day, as it might be my last day here. I was determined to face the rain and visit some places of my interest here, mainly the Parys Mountain, a copper mine close to Amlwch. But again I was not fortunate as today is some kind of bank holyday (no one could explain me exactly what is it), so like the day before, there would be limited bus services and most of the places would be closed. The idea of another day like the day before was not much appealing to me.

holyhead, bank holyday humdrum

So I decided visit some sites close to Holyhead that I had missed, or just left for a day like today. One of them is a major feature, the Trefignath burial chamber, and the other, quite close is a standing stone called Ty Mawr, not far from there. As the weather was hard, I took my umbrella and bought a new bag and shoes in an open store. The soles of my shoes were getting thinner and thinner as the time passed, and started to soak up at any rain, and that was making me mad. There’s nothing worse than cold wet feet in rainy days. So far I had to buy an umbrella, new shoes, new bag and new coat because of the rain. That’s English Summer. Everything I wear smells and are wet most of the time. I am not someone about to complain, but in days like that feels sorry for yourself.

After my new improvements, I just went on and as the sites were around one mile of the town, I could find the right road with no mistake. The first I’ve found was the standing stone. It was 9 feet high, in the fashion of the others I’ve seen around, thin on the side and wide in the front. Ty Mawr is in the Anglesey Aluminum state, so in one way, it was well kept, and the access was easy. It seems that all the surrounds belong to them.

The standing stones are mainly more recent than the burial chambers and their meaning are quite unclear. They just stand in the landscape and like the stone circles don’t say much of their meaning. Some try to find astronomical alignments to the stone circles, but the standing stones can’t tell this story. They can be very significant in the Ley lines theory, as they spot the landscape very precisely, and can be a mark in a pathway or old road. Or like in the Nordic tradition, they can be erected in homage of an important person, but there’s no hint of this anyway.

standind stone


getting close to the chamber

The Trefignath burial chamber is a very special one. It is composed from three distinct phases of occupation. It must have been covered in stones, but today there is no much of this old feature. The group dates from around 3000 BC, based on the remains of pottery found by the excavations made in 1978 and 1979 in the older chamber. The other two must be some centuries later.

three entrances to the chambers, distinguished in time

this is the phase III of occupation, and the most beautiful

From the second phase, it is possible to recognize the entrance, but today in bad shape, as it had fall down. It clearly had a capstone and side slabs. The best preserved and more interesting is the third phase tomb. It has the double feature of the Plas Newydd, and entrance with lateral slabs. In Plas Newidd it would lack both the entrance slabs as the more integrated assemble of Trefignath. This kind of entrance is said to be found in south Scotland, and adds depth to the entrance. Trefignath seems to comprise several traditions in the same place, although used in different periods of time.

the first occupation

...and the second phase



After that, I still tried to go after other Standing Stone that should not be so far, and that I possibly could reach walking. On the side of the road I still found a third standing stone not signed in my Ordenance Survey. This was less significant than Ty Mawr but no less interesting to me. It had some 1.50 meter high (5 feet), and stand in the top of a little mound. I just had the time to see it and go back to the road when the rain got me really hard. I had to take my umbrella, find a shelter and wait for some 30 minute until it was possible to go back to town (because at that point I lost any interest in go on). My umbrella got into pieces by the wind, it was very unpleasant situation. After that I decided for a light day back to Holyhead, packing for traveling tomorrow. Going to Ireland or go back London, I still don’t made my mind. Should I stay or should I go?

I left here my broken umbrellas

quinta-feira, 24 de setembro de 2009

Day 30

Day 30

Another rainy morning in Holyhead. I got the same super breakfast, and went to the bus stop. Not so early this time, because on Sundays there are less services, so I had to be organized. I checked the bus routes to get to Moelfre, and resulted that the only possible connection was going through Porthaethwy, an from there going back in direction to Amlwch. The connection and my sense of direction proved perfect until there. Right stop, right bus and right stop before Moelfre. There are a few places near by, but basically there are two of particular interest. One is the burial chamber named Lligwy, and the other is a British village from the Roman times.


The Lligwy burial chamber is nice example of Neolithic work. It was excavated in 1909 and founds of around 30 persons were found there. Probably it dates from 2500 to 2000 BC, and were covered with a mound or stones. If so, again is one of those examples of mixed styles that are current in North Wales. The capstone is massive measuring about 5 by 5 meters and it said to weight 40 tons. The entrance is aligned with the North.

If is possible to trace a history of how the megalithic monuments evolved, it should be from the dolmen like structure, to burial chambers and passage mounds, and then to standing stones and stone circles. |The chalk drawings are linked with this time too, which comprises the end of the Neolithic age. The iron age forts are the last of the structures, and mostly don’t carry any religious meaning. These forts always make me imagine that this must have been a violent time in Britain, with more enclosed and defensive communities.

Lligwy must be dated around the end of the dolmen era to the burial mounds age. Most of North Wales monuments have mixed features which can be related with the time of transitions they were built, but also with distinct cultural elements from the people which lived there, like we see in Bryn Celli Ddu burial chamber.

the church

... and the view

Not far from Lligwy there are two other interesting sites. One is a small church from the 12th century built in stone and restored in the 16th century and that is in ruins. One may wonder why to built a church in such a desolated place, but it seems that the church was the only parish church in miles, so it might been necessary. From the 16th century improvements there is an underground chamber that looks pretty much as a refuge or a storeroom.


Quite close to the Neolithic chamber and the Medieval church there are the remains of an enclosed settlement from the Roman age. From this site were excavated several pieces Roman pottery and iron pieces, suggesting that there were a forgery there and that iron pieces were fabricated. Most of the findings were made in a particular house, so all leads to believe that there was a working place.

The village is called Din Lligwy, “Din” meaning an enclosed site. The site were built in different stages, as the fashion of the houses suggest. It is dated from the 4th century, during the Roman occupation in Wales, so we can assume that they had contact and worked for the Romans. But they were not Romans, as it can seem by the structure of the houses. They were built in a polygonal structure, and there are seven structures, two of them round and the others (not all of then were houses) rectangular. The width of the walls could reach 1.50 meters. Amongst other features, some of the stones had very special holes in it, suggesting some specific use, probably for holding wooden stacks or to structure the roof. They are all around, suggesting a usual feature.

houses of the late iron age period

these marks in the stone certainly had a practical porpouse

After leaving Din Lligwy I went after some other places pointed in my map, but it was impossible due to the rain. After a while I was totally wet and been lucky enough to get to the road close to a bus stop in time to go to Bangor before going back to Holyhead. Unfortunately I was unable to enjoy much under the rain. So I went home and it was the best I could do.

I must remember to rest on Sundays.