BRONZE SWORD FESTIVAL
The Bronze Sword Festival or the Gathering of The Children of Neil is the yearly gathering of Bronze Age enthusiasts and experts from around the world to celebrate the mastery of Bronze Age metal workers and the making of bronze swords in ancient times. The gathering was attended by people from the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands. This year we had a varied group of familiar attendees, as well as many new faces, In 2008 we were treated to a talk on Bronze Age jewellery by Ben Roberts who keeps the Bronze Age collection at the British Museum. In 2009 Trevor Cowie who is the keeper of the Bronze Age for Historic Scotland gave a talk on Scottish swords from river finds and this year's talk will be about Bronze Age shields by European expert Marion Uckelmann. The round houses at Trewortha are set in a in i timeless ancient landscape with Bronze Age relics littering the landscape where else can you cast bronze swords without hearing cars and the hum of modern life.
Review of the 2008 event from 1501bc.com
Bronze Sword Festival Day 1
In the previous years, the festivals were blessed with fantastic weather. This year however it was plagued by heavy rain, winds etc. This however did not dampen the spirit in anyway. Alternative shelter on the site was used for camping or bedding.
Bronze Sword Festival Day 2
Handing out of the bronze swords
Casting a bronze sword in authentic clay mould
Sword casting result
On saturday the swords were handed out by Neil to the attendees. These included the classic Ewart Park swords, but also other types such as Gundlingen swords, khopeshes etc. Neil then did two experimental castings in authentic clay moulds, in which the attendees were able to participate. The casting of swords in clay moulds is still a technology that's being re-invented. This years castings gave excellent results! The evening was filled by the story tellers the Guild of the Fabulists, who had everyone pinned to their seats with stories, some which have been told for thousands of years.
Bronze Sword Festival Day 3
As the weather cleared this day, we went out to see Tintangel, and ancient castle ruin on the cliffs of the coast (often connected with the legend of Arthur). The site has been in use since Roman times, though the visible ruins themselves date to the late medieval period. In the evening, people gathered around the campfire in the roundhouse, where Scott and Susan of Dragonfly Moon provided accoustic music based on various cultures, including a reproduction of a bronze age horn by Neil Burridge.
Bronze Sword Festival Day 4
This day everyone worked hard on their swords, cleaning up the surfaces and hammering the edges. At the same time, other people made silver bracelets, gold sundiscs and I did a few small bronze and silver castings. In the evening, Ben Roberts, curator of the European bronze age at the British Museum, gave a talk on de development of bronze age ornaments in the UK. The later evening was spend again around the campfire in the roundhouse, with music played by Guy, a great artist and friend of Neil. No photos this day, I was to busy doing other things :)
Bronze Sword Festival Day 5
Time to leave the site again, and return to the 21st century. Thanks again to Neil for organizing such a fantastic event! And thanks to everyone else participating in yet another fantastic event!
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