An authentic look into the past. (OP#3)

Now that we have had the pleasure of going to Caerphilly Castle, I would like to share some fun facts I learned upon our pleasant visit. As soon as we walked into the ticket office, the gentleman behind the counter was already throwing out facts about the castle with full pride. I loved their eagerness to share their love for the site they put so much time into as far as history and its upkeep goes. The man shared with us that this site was a product of military engineering. He explained that this castle is unique due to the fact that it was built at an astounding pace, finishing the majority of the structure at an optimal speed of just three years time, from 1268-1271! The site was said to be an ambitious architecture coming from the middle ages. It is the second biggest castle in Wales. It was actually built in different phases during this three-year time range. The first phase was cutting out the ditches to make the embankment to form the moat all away around this grand castle. This castle had one of the better-preserved gatehouses that we have seen throughout our numerous sites. You could see where the portcullis once was. At one point and time this castle actually had a gatehouse on every single side, which makes sense due to the fact that they used to have the ability to have small shipments come straight to the site using the waterway that hooked on to the moat. The second phase was to make the channel that would need to flood the whole area creating a big lake that connected to the moat creating the island the castle sits on. The third phase was creating the main structure with its curtain wall and the inner ward.They wanted to get it built as fast as possible due to the threat of Southeast Wales. The Castle was also a symbol of the Clare family’s power and the influence they had over the lesser kingdoms in the nearby soundings! The Clare family gained their power through marriage and inheritance. At the site there was simulations of what the artillery would have been like back then and how they worked. A few of the guys of the group tried their best to crank an excessively large cross bow back in an attempt to show off their muscles, but could only get it pulled back halfway even with trying with all their might! I also had to have a go at this historical artillery, but had to give up, I just did not have the strength to even keep a grip. It was a great place to experience. In the same day, we had a nice, leisurely walk around St. National History Park that displayed many domestic housing structures from several different years and how they would have carried out everyday task. Of course, back then they did not have the technology we do today so their everyday life was more labor intensive. If someone told you that they keep their cattle in half of their house you would look at them like they were crazy, but back in the day in was a more normal occurrence. The Cilewent Family farmhouse was just one long cabin-like structure that held cattle and the living quarters for the family. If you think about it is a smart way of making their resources stretch a little farther, since they were only heating one building and keeping their animals safe and warm at the same time. Their cattle were their lifeline. As you walked around you could smell the fires that they had burning in the homes, making the environment seem more authentic.

-Heather

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