The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd.

Archaeology in Wales

Interpretation - the Animation

Both the animation and the reconstruction drawing, as featured in the information panels, were originated from the excavated evidence and cross-referenced to the historic mapping, artwork and documents. Late nineteenth and early twentieth century photographs of the ironworks provided the architectural evidence for the building elevations and materials and approximate heights of buildings, whilst the accounts of nineteenth century metallurgists and specialist reports provided the evidence for the processes undertaken at the site. This information was collaborated with numerous industrial archaeological specialists to attain the most accurate reconstructions possible. The reconstruction of the ironworks in the information panels and 3D animation are as authentic a reproduction of the works in their heyday as we were able to make based on all the evidence available to us.

The animation was sponsored, designed and created by architect and design consultant firm iDEA. GGAT and iDEA worked closely together to draw on the extensive repository of archaeological evidence and historical documentation to allow iDEA to create an immersive 3D visualisation of the Ynysfach Ironworks as it would have appeared in around 1860.

The visualisation demonstrates not only a true representation of the structures on the site, but also important visualisations of key functional areas accurately outlining the working practices, processes and technology employed at the Ironworks. The processes including the charging of the calcining kilns, the movement of the beam of the engine, the breaking open of the blast furnaces and the running out of the molten iron into the casting bed to form 'pigs'. The ground breaking animation of the refinery sequence brings together the excavated evidence, the specialist analysis and nineteenth century accounts, to visualise for the first time the 'Welsh Process' of refining grey cast iron into wrought iron. This attention to detail makes this animation stand apart from other heritage reconstructions.

Special effects such as lighting, smoke and flame evoke a realistic atmosphere at Ynysfach, while photorealistic textures and animated figures bring the works to life. An informative bilingual voiceover and a suitable soundtrack (kindly performed and provided by Pendyrus Male Choir ) complete this animation.

The website and permanent information panels have been designed to provide an instantly recognisable nineteenth century industrial theme. Background colour is purposefully dark to provide an industrial feel offset by the oranges of rusting iron and muted colour tones synonymous with the Victorian era.