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Posts Tagged ‘Oswestry Museum’

Week One: 340 Million Years of Heritage

The first of the new, year-long Oswestry Heritage Comics is in this week’s Oswestry and Border Counties Advertizer. I think it takes the prize for the longest time-interval I’ve ever covered in a single comic. This one does, indeed, cover 340 million years – from the Carboniferous period, when the limestone and coal around Oswestry were laid down – the present day, where we are surrounded by evidence of how that distant time impacted Oswestry’s archaeology, history and heritage. This part of the country has been shaped by its geology, and it’s that I wanted to try and capture in this comic. There’s more to this story, of course: the local geology affected the fertility of the soils, the patterns of water-drainage, even the shape and form of the hills which became the border between England and Wales. If you want to see more ways the geology affected Oswestry’s history, check out the Oswestry Town Museum, which has some interesting information on local geology and geography, and definitely pay a visit to the Hoffman Kiln and Llanymynech Rocks quarry in Llanymynech.

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Oswestry Heritage Comics - week 9. Click for larger image.

Oswestry Heritage Comics – week 9. Click for larger image.

This week’s Oswestry Heritage Comic is all about Heritage Open Days. In fact, Heritage Open Days are the reason the Oswestry Heritage Comic exists at all. I’ve always enjoyed HOD, but beyond being a visitor, I’ve never really contributed to the weekend. I wasn’t sure how an archaeological illustrator could usefully contribute to such an event. Well, this year I figured out how. I launched the Oswestry Heritage Comics project as my contribution towards this year’s Heritage Open Days. The whole point of the comic is to help raise awareness about the richness and diversity of local heritage – which is also the point of Heritage Open Days. I’ve tried to feature as many major heritage places, venues and events in the strips as possible, and in this weeks’ comic I’ve got four that are specific to the HOD weekend: the Oswestry Castle excavations will be taking place, now in their third year; the reconstructed World War I trenches at Park Hall are open free of charge; there’s a Heritage Market in the Bailey marketplace in the middle of Oswestry – right next to the Town Museum and just up the road from the Cambrian Railways museum and around the corner from exhibitions in Oswestry Library and “The Bigger Picture” screenings at Kinokulture cinema; and there’s even a Heritage Bake-off taking place this year! There are walks, exhibitions, presentations, activities, talks and film showings at places like Old Oswestry Hillfort, Oswestry Station, Llanforda Hall, the Quinta, Rednal canal warehouse, Sleeping Beauty’s tower in Selattyn, the Pentre in Bronygarth, the Tanat Valley light railway and St. Peter’s church in Melverley. Events start this Thursday at some venues and run through until Sunday. It’s a fantastic opportunity to find out more about the history, archaeology and heritage of Oswestry – there are full listings of events taking place over the weekend at the Heritage Open Days website.

There are four special Oswestry Heritage Comics-related things going on this coming weekend, too. The first is a “Make Your Own Heritage Comic” activity at Underhill Farm in Llanymynech on Saturday between 10am and 2pm. This will be a drop-in event, and if it’s sunny, we’ll be outside in the grounds of the farm – if it’s raining, we’ll be inside. There’s also an exhibition of all the Oswestry Heritage Comics at the farm. There’s a another exhibition of the comics in town – “Behind The Scenes of the Oswestry Heritage Comics” is at the Willow Gallery on Willow Street all this month. Thirdly, I’m giving a talk on “Getting The Picture – Using comics in archaeological public outreach” to the Chirk History Society on Monday, Sept. 12 at the Parish Hall in Chirk, starting at 7pm. It’ll be an informal talk, but it will look at the work I’ve done in Oswestry and beyond in using comics to talk about archaeology, history and heritage. The comics themselves are also going to be visible through the weekend – on big outdoor banners in and around Oswestry. Look for them as you go around town – see if you can spot them all!

Last but not least, of course, don’t forget to pick up your copy of The Advertizer to read this week’s comic!

 

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