When the Romans came to Wales focuses on aspects of life in Iron Age and Roman Wales from the mid-first to the mid-second centuries AD. The programmes follow the change from native 'Celtic' society, the conflict with the invading Roman forces and the eventual creation of a Romano-British society.
The story is told through the lives of four generations of a typical family of the time. Tadia and Tadius are historical figures. The characters of Bran, Tadius' grandfather, and Buddug, his grandmother, have been invented in order to create a Celtic lineage for Tadia and Tadius.
Programme 1: Outline
David Petersen, accompanied by his faithful deerhound, Rasp, explores the Silurian hill fort at Llanmelin Hill, near Newport. The programme then goes back to AD 50. Ten-year-old Buddug provides a tour of her village including bread making, spinning and weaving and the work of the smith.
Returning to the present, David Petersen visits Castell Henllys in west Wales. Cei, one of the site interpreters, explains how aspects of Iron Age life have been interpreted in this modern reconstruction of an ancient British fortified village. Finally, viewers are invited to investigate their own locality to discover remains of their own Celtic past.
The programmes have been primarily designed to meet the needs of the Key Stage 2 Programme of Study for the National Curriculum in Wales, 'Life in Early Wales or Britain'. Although Welsh characters and locations are featured, the programmes support a more general study of Iron Age and Roman life and viewers in other parts of the UK will also find it relevant to their curricula.
Ask the children to compile their own or an imagined family tree. Arrange the four characters from 'When the Romans came to Wales' in a similar way.
Locate the Iron Age on a timeline. Introduce the character of Buddug, explaining that she lived about 2000 years ago.
Ask the children to write a recipe and instructions for making 'Celtic' bread, as shown in the programme. Compare with a modern recipe.
Use an Ordnance Survey map of your area to identify Celtic hill forts. Visit the site of a hill fort. Ask the children to draw a plan of the site and a picture of what it might have looked like in Celtic times.
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When the Romans came to Wales is supported by a website, available in both English and Welsh, containing stories, activities and information about the Celts and Romans in Wales.
'Tadia's Family in Roman Isca' published by Dref Wen in English and Welsh, tells the story of Tadia and her family. Available from Dref Wen, 28 Church Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff, CF12 2EA. Price £3.00 + £1.00 postage (cheques made payable to 'Dref Wen').