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Last Updated: Monday, 9 February, 2004, 12:11 GMT
Eisteddfod's artificial stones plan
Stone circle in Barry
The Gorsedd stone circle from the eisteddfod in Barry in 1920
Artificial portable stones could be used in the National Eisteddfod - the highlight of the Welsh cultural year - in the future instead of the traditional Gorsedd stones.

Supporters of the idea say the ritual circle of stones would be cheaper and more mobile, allowing ceremonies to take place at the centre of the eisteddfod field rather than on its fringes.

Part of the idea is to make the traditional ceremony where new members are admitted to the Gorsedd, in recognition of their contribution to public life, more popular.

Archdruid Dr Robyn Lewis said the idea had been discussed at a Gorsedd board meeting over the weekend looking at future changes.

The Gorsedd stones are usually placed in a field or park, sometimes miles away from the Eisteddfod field
The many thousands who attend the eisteddfod every day don't see the ceremonies
Archdruid Dr Robyn Lewis

It is often impracticable to install the stones on the Eisteddfod site itself as once the event is over the field reverts to agriculture.

It is becoming more difficult to find a suitable site for the stones because of their size and weight and the cost of quarrying them.

Artificial stones would have the advantage of being cheap and portable.

At this year's eisteddfod in Newport, south Wales, the Gorsedd stones happen to be at the same site as the pavilion itself - a memento from a previous eisteddfod - but this is an exception.

Another change would see the Gorsedd ceremonies held at 1100 BST instead of 0900 BST in the hope of attracting larger audiences.

Ioan Gruffudd was admitted to the Gorsedd last summer
Ioan Gruffudd was admitted to the Gorsedd last summer
Dr Lewis told BBC Radio Wales: "The Gorsedd stones can be several miles away - 10 to 15 miles away - from the eisteddfod field.

"It means of course the many thousands who attend the eisteddfod every day don't see the ceremonies.

"The idea is to bring the Gorsedd stones onto the eisteddfod field and to hold the ceremony at 11 o'clock instead of nine o'clock so that thy the time the Gorsedd comes to meet, the field will be full of [eisteddfod goers] and they will be able to watch."

However, Dr Lewis admitted the change would mean the end of the tradition of leaving a permanent Gorsedd circle behind as a reminder of the eisteddfod.

Last year Hollywood actor Ioan Gruffudd was admitted to the Gorsedd at the eisteddfod in Meifod, mid Wales.




SEE ALSO:
Ioan joins the Welsh elite
04 Aug 03  |  Wales
When a druid isn't a druid
06 Aug 02  |  UK News
Archbishop becomes druid
05 Aug 02  |  Wales
Archdruid supports changes
29 Nov 03  |  Mid


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