​New partnership brings the secrets of the Celtic grave to the screen

9 June 2021

In a brand new partnership between S4C and Smithsonian channel in the United States, working in collaboration with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and their heritage partners in Wales (Cadw, Dyfed Archaeological Trust, Pembrokeshire College and PLANED), a new programme will reveal the most exciting archaeological discoveries in decades.

In the heart of Pembrokeshire, West Wales, something has come to light that can change the story of Welsh history. An incredible and totally unexpected discovery made for the first time in Wales and which amazed archaeologists.

In a special programme, Secret of the Celtic Grave, produced by Wildflame Productions - archaeologist Dr Iestyn Jones pursues a treasure that came to light on an unassuming field on farm land in 2018. A wonderful treasure that was buried in the earth for nearly 2,000 years, which is now ready to share its secrets with us.

"For over 40 years Mike Smith from Milford Haven scoured the hills and fields of Pembrokeshire with his metal detector looking for treasures," said Dr Iestyn Jones.

"When he came across colourful and decorated metal objects that were buried a few inches below the soil, he knew he had found something significant."

This was a remarkable collection of horse harness artefacts relating to the horse world of the Iron Age – including a large horse-brooch, a massive rein-guide, a strap- mount and parts of a bridle-bit.

Did this site in Pembrokeshire say something about a turning point in our history around the time of the Roman invasion of western Britain?

The programme follows the excavation of the site, step by step in the company of excavation experts at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales and Dyfed Archaeological Trust.

And viewers will be part of the excitement as they discover not only a war vehicle - one of the most exciting archaeological discoveries in Wales for decades, but also a previously unknown peninsula fortress.

The first days of the excavation reveal another rare treasure - an Iron Age sword, buried between the two wheels of the war vehicle - accompanied by the person to the grave.

And the surprises continue, as archaeologists realise they are uncovering over 100 times more ancient ironwork than has ever been found in the whole of Pembrokeshire.

We also get to see the scientific process of analysing the findings with the help of the latest scientific tests.

But who was the person buried here? Could it be a Celtic leader and warrior lost in battle?

Could this be the most important archaeological discovery for decades? Archaeology will lead the way, as the experts begin the task of putting together this fascinating jigsaw.

The programme will be shown on S4C and Smithsonian Channel on 13 June.

Llinos Wynne, S4C Factual Commissioner said: "We're delighted to be able to bring this captivating story to the screen.

"It's an unique and fascinating Welsh story with a worldwide appeal.

"This commission has been extremely memorable and I'm grateful to all the partners involved in helping us to make this happen -we hope that audiences across the globe will enjoy this amazing archaeological discovery."

Adam Gwilt, Principal Curator for Prehistory at Amgueddfa Cymru– National Museum Wales and one of the lead archaeologists involved with this project says "This has been a fascinating and once in a lifetime find to be working on, as one of the team of dedicated archaeologists, conservators, volunteers and researchers helping to make this project happen.

"The work wouldn't have happened without the support of funders such as the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The Headly Trust.

"We are really pleased to be working with our media partners to share this experience and archaeological discovery with the widest possible public audiences across Wales, the UK and the world".

Dan Wolf from Smithsonian Channel says: "This is exactly the type of story we love having on Smithsonian Channel… part history, part mystery, and wholly fascinating.

"It's a singular discovery that really does shift the bedrock of British history. We know how much the UK's modern identity comes from its proud past, and this documentary will give everyone a new chapter of their ancestral story.

"The documentary is three years in the making, but the story is 2000 years in the making. These are people we typically lump into some distant, hazy definition of 'ancient ancestor'.

"But when you see their physical remnants -- sometimes it's hard to believe what you're seeing on screen – this documentary turns them into flesh and blood people.

"I'm an American, and we think we're pretty tough. But we have nothing on the Celts."

Paul Islwyn Thomas, CEO and Executive Producer, Wildflame Productions says: "The discovery of the 2000 year old Celtic grave by metal-detectorist Mike Smith in West Wales shines new light on the history of Ancient Britain and its Iron Aged peoples.

"This extraordinary find reveals relics of international significance and unlocks an incredible story at a critical time of Roman expansion into Britain when the Roman army encountered its western Iron Age peoples.

"Wildflame is proud to have been able to follow the journey from the very beginning, working closely with expert archaeologists and curators at the National Museum Cardiff.

"This is a once in a lifetime find for those involved and we are delighted to have been able capture the entire journey and create programmes for audiences across the world."

The production is distributed by Flame Distribution who are handling worldwide distribution outside of US, UK and Eire.

Flame Distribution are a leading global distribution company specialising in high-end factual entertainment and documentary programming across a broad range of genres such as History, Science, Crime, Environment, Sport, Food/Travel, Adventure, Wildlife, Lifestyle, Kids educational and much more.

Produced & Directed by Rupert Edwards & Colin Davies

Executive Producers : Paul Islwyn Thomas, Llinos Griffin-Williams, Jobim Sampson, Iwan England

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