Hart of Ely


Hart of Ely

Craft has always been an important part of community networks and groups.  This project brings people and researchers together in a series of craft-based explorations of the transformation of natural materials, and the importance of wild resources, in Welsh pre/history.

The Hart of Ely project focuses on pre/historic uses of antler.  Antler was a key material for tools and personal items in the past, but today is rarely used and few antler-working practitioners exist. Archaeologists at Cardiff University have begun to recreate artefacts to better understand their ancient production and use.  These initial experimental methodologies are now at a stage where research questions around expertise and skills transmission can be addressed by building a team of community researchers.  This project will work with community groups in Cardiff to allow a two-way exchange of practical skills and knowledge based on a mutual creative investigation of this unique material.

Working alongside the Men in Sheds group at Ely, and ACE (Action in Caerau and Ely), we ran a number of interactive workshops, creating antler artefacts (rings and things). With our team of community researchers, we examined modern and traditional methods for creating the objects, and began to tackle our questions of skills transmission.

This is the project blog, containing pages about the project, about antler-working and its uses, the types of deer found in the British Isles, the pre/history of deer, as well as how-to pages so you can create your own historic antler objects using metal tools – How to Make Viking Antler Rings and Making inscribed antler plaques.  You can also read about how we previously created prehistoric antler head dresses using flint tools, and how these headdresses may have been used.

We also took our antler workshops to a number of events including the Ely/Caerau Festival 2017 and Glastonbury 2017.