Ice age art — 13,000-year-old bone returns to its Llandudno home

Friday 11 April 2014

The Ein Treftadaeth/Our Heritage project has returned what is believed to be the oldest work of art in Wales to Llandudno, where it was originally found in a cave.

  • Picture of the oldest work of art in Wales, a decorated horse chin bone ©British Museum

    Decorated horse chin bone ©British Museum

  • Picture of perforated animal teeth at the Llandudno Museum Ice Age exhibition ©British Museum

    Animal teeth at the Ice Age exhibition ©British Museum

  • Picture of an Ice Age exhibit at Llandudno Museum

    Ice Age exhibit at Llandudno Museum

The object, dated at around 13,000 years old, has been identified as a horse’s chin bone and is on show as the centrepiece of an exhibition celebrating the Ice Age in Llandudno.

The bone was found at the Great Orme in the 1870s by a retired copper miner who polished pebbles to sell to tourists.

Decorated deer foot bones and perforated animal teeth found at the same site are also being loaned to Llandudno Museum by the National Museum of Wales.

Llandudno Museum chair Roy Haley said: "We are very excited to welcome this rare and internationally important object back to Llandudno.”

"Thanks to the support of the Our Heritage project, we have been given the opportunity to display a first-class collection that helps to tell the story of Llandudno - and we hope to see many more visitors as a result."

A new short film will also be providing visitors to the Great Orme Country Park Visitor Centre with a dramatic insight into the history of the headland.

The Ice Age exhibition in Llandudno runs at the town's museum until 30th of September.

From the formation of the very rock the Great Orme is made of through history right up until World War Two, the film should excite visitors of all ages and inspire them to find out more about this fascinating place.

Using a mixture of animation and modern day footage the film brings to life events such as the sinking of the Hornby and the remarkable survival of crewman John Williams, and explores more mysterious artefacts such as the Neolithic cromlech.  

“We’re really pleased to be adding this new film to the Visitor Centre” said Sally Pidcock, Country Park Warden.  “It should particularly appeal to families and complements the existing introductory film shown in the Visitor Centre.  For those who watch the film and want to find out more, there are a range of displays and models throughout the Country Park Visitor Centre; the more adventurous might also want to follow the two historical trails and see some of the history for themselves.”  

Produced by local company Bambw Film, it follows on from a raft of improvements and new attractions made to the Great Orme Visitor Centre last winter including touch screen displays and renewable energy projects.  New Audio-Visual equipment has been installed to really show the film off, and the Visitor Centre has plenty to interest tourists and locals alike.  

Both the projects have been funded by ‘Ein Treftadaeth/Our Heritage”, a partnership which has been led by Gwynedd council and is part of Cadw’s Heritage Tourism Project which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

The Great Orme Country Park Visitor Centre is open every day until the 2nd November, from 10am until 5.30pm.