Surviving the Iron Age

During the wettest autumn since reciords began, 17 volunteers braved the elements in West Wales to live for nearly seven weeks as their Iron Age ancestors did over 2,000 years ago.

The voluteers - 7 men, 7 women and 3 children - lived in authentic Iron Age roundhouses, built on genuine Iron Age hillfort at Castell Henllys that was inhabited by the ancient Celts for over 700 years, from 650 BC to AD 50.

The new Iron-Agers wear authentic pre-historic clothing, make their own soap from sheep fat, kill their own chickens, butcher their own steer and take on a wide variety of other Iron Age challenges to survive as their ancestors did in the year 300 BC.

The volunteers - who include 3 children of the participants from the original Seventies series "Living in the Past" - are also expected to 'elect' their own chieftain, entertain a visiting 'tribe' from Kent and celebrate Samhain, the traditional end of the Celtic year.

The results of the experiment are extraordinary and not everybody stays the course. There are arguments, tears, a romance, illnesses and open confrontations. During a testing first week, one volunteer leaves out of choice, another leaves for a few days because of illness, two couples are barely on speaking terms and the rest of the group are exhausted from the daily grind of cooking, collecting firewood and carrying water up from the tap by the river.

Some volunteers refuse to have anything to do with killing the livestock and others are simply reluctant to get out of bed in the morning. But those who stay the course learn an enormous respect for the skills of the Iron Age people and undergo a profound reassessment of their own life in the 21st century.

Genre: Documentary

Running Time: 45 minutes (approx)