In 1907 two great Welsh institutions were founded – the National Library and the National Museum. One year later a third was established – The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. It has adapted gracefully and successfully to the rapidly changing circumstances of the last two decades and is therefore with us to celebrate its centenary – of which this lovely book forms a part. The Commission curates with skill and care one of our greatest national treasures – the vast collection of images which tell the rich and varied story of Wales. Through its website it is possible to gain information on some 80,000 sites ranging from burial mounds to blast furnaces.

The superb images in this book are drawn from this extraordinarily rich archive and provide a vivid story of how the rich heritage of Wales has been recorded and interpreted during a century of investigation. The format of this celebratory volume is that of 100 essays supported by concise and well-informed introductions to each era that reflect the story of Wales from caves to castles and our achievements in the modern age. This book sets out what we know in the first decade of this century and provides an insight into why our sense of place in Wales is so important. The book also makes clear the central role which the Commission has played in developing that understanding and why it will continue to help all people in Wales to gain that vital sense of the historic environment in which we live.


This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 38. Click here to subscribe

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