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Search is on for Tregaron elephant's final resting place

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BBC Wales History BBC Wales History | 14:37 UK time, Thursday, 10 March 2011

There's an intriguing story in today's Western Mail about the search for the remains of a circus elephant said to be buried in the grounds of a Welsh pub.


In 1848, a travelling circus called Batty's Travelling Menageries passed through the Tregaron in Ceredigion when its star of the the show fell ill and died. The elephant is said to have become ill after drinking local water that is suspected of being contaminated with lead.

The elephant is reputedly buried in the back garden of the town's Talbot Hotel. The tale of the dead elephant has since became part of the local folklore.

Gwilym Williams from the Talbot Hotel said: "There were large industrial works higher up the mountains which used a lot of lead and local water supplies would often become contaminated. It is thought that the elephant drank some of the contaminated water from the river."

In April, the School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David will begin a week-long dig in the hope of tracing the elephant's grave.

Dr Jemma Bezant, from the School of Archaeology, said the Elephant Project would form part of their research investigating medieval history at Strata Florida's Cistercian Abbey and the region's wider history. She said:

"The project aims to collect the histories and stories relating to this event, engage the community in archaeological activities and generate content for the community web-site.

Read more about the search on Wales Online.


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