Saturday, September 28, 2019

Sheila Jacob writes

Blodwen’s Bones

They parcelled up my bones,
sent them from Cheshire
to Llandudno-look, here’s
the crown of my skull,
vertebrae, rib-parings,
fragments of hips, pelvis,
a scattering of limbs.
Experts scanned and probed.
Blodwen, they wrote,
(though I never answered
to such a name) was five foot
tall, had arthritis, secondary
cancer, carried heavy weights
and farmed on the Little Orme. 
Oh, my sad bones,
no-one heard your lament
when they pinned you
under glass. 
Sing it louder, tell out my love
for mountain slopes, wide
copper skies, the dance
of rain on my hair.

1 comment:

  1. In 1891 Joseph Storey, an engineer who was conducting quarrying operations on the Rhiwledyn (Little Ormes) headland near Llandudno, Conwy county, Wales,found found several fossils in a deep fissure. He donated the teeth and bones belonging to a bear, hyena, rhinoceros, and other mammals to the Liverpool Museum, but he gave the human remains to the Bacup Natural History Society in Lancashire. It was eventually transferred to the Llandudno Museum. The skeleton belonged to a woman between 54 and 63 years old, of robust build, who had arthritis in her spine and knee and possibly suffered from cancer. In 1995 the Research Unit of the Manchester University dated the remains to ca. 3510 BCE. and named her "Blodwen" ("white flowers," from the Welsh "blodau" [flowers] and "gwen" [white, fair, blessed]). According to the the field monument warden for north west Wales,of the Welsh heritage body Cadw (named after the king of Dumnonia who raised Arthur's queen Guinevere in his household), "During the Neolithic period we start to see a cross-over from a semi-nomadic hunter-gathering society to a more settled, pastoral way of life. The pig bones found with Blodwen seem to suggest that she was part of this new farming society, and that impression is backed up by isotope tests on her bones which show that she ate more meat and cultivated crops than fish and wild plants." In 2105 students from Ysgol Ffordd Dyffryn, a primary school in Llandudno used natural materials such as charcoal and sheep’s wool to make images of their hands before adding stencils and drawings, along with information about Blodwen and the Stone Age.


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