Simon Summers lives off grid in his gypsy caravan next to his forge on the site of an old Iron Age fort at Chiddinglye, on the northern edge of Camp Field. Simon is a Heritage Blacksmith, Consultant and Experimental Archaeologist specialising in Celtic (Iron Age) La Tène Culture Repoussé and forge works. is a Tutor of Ancient Iron Age Repoussé and Forge Works, Iron Smelting, and related subjects.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: +447791511941
Simon’s research is focused on unlocking the meaning and the history of the artworks in early metalworks created by ancient Britons, Gaulish and Celtic smiths. He researches the shamanic roots of the Celtic religion and belief systems which
honoured animal and human life, as well as the afterlife, the earth and the greater universe around us all – around us then and today.
His research conducted at The British Museum and other museums has shed light on the skills, tool markings and the challenges these ancient smiths would have experienced in creating these treasured objects dated from around 2770 years ago onwards. He has also carried out major restoration works funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Experimental Archaeology and research works
It is relevant that during Simon’s studies he has found that there is a lack of research that has been conducted on the subject of La Tène culture art in repoussé technique, especially in a practical content.
The La Tène Culture 450BC (preceded by Hallstatt Culture, and followed by the Roman Imperial Period), is a period which is an archaeological term rooted in a small town known as La Tène beside Lake Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where a large hoard of objects were found in 1857 which are presumed to have been offerings given to a river waters by the native tribal peoples of the Iron Age period. It is believed that this was as part of some ritual or ceremony. A large amount of these objects had a unique style of artwork upon them, hence the term given to the period named after the small town of where they were
found by a local man and archaeologists. This culture of art spread into Europe, Britain and Ireland, and is labelled the ‘golden age’, or peak of sophisticated technology in metalworks of the Iron Age which embraced this unique style.
As a professional practising heritage blacksmith trained specifically in historic works and award accredited in repoussé works, Simon’s expert knowledge and advanced skills in his field have brought a fresh new light and understanding of metal objects of antiquities which relates to the La Tène cultural period as never before. Experimental Archaeology has enabled Simon’s skills and practical knowledge to recreate such ancient objects and undertakes consultancy advice and studies for academics with regard to this cultural period of the Iron Age. This enables him special permission to carry out close hands-on studies conducted at the British Museum of actual treasurable objects made by ancient Iron Age smith’s from 2700 years ago.
Simon’s research is then adapted and applied in a practical content where he recreates the tools needed by means of hand forging them based on evidence and tool patterns found on metal material surfaces seen on period objects. He then creates exact replicas using the same skills and techniques as the crafts smiths of the Iron Age period. This process has not only benefited our craft smith’s knowledge, but also has allowed the following;
- An opportunity to explore the mythology and psychology behind the ancient technologies which strengthens a wider understanding and practice of these complex skills lost to us today.
- Simon’s work has attracted academics and museums. His research benefits archaeology by forming a deeper understanding of our ancestral past of ancient Briton’s and Celts most advanced craft smiths of that time. These highly skilled blacksmiths were capable of commissioning treasures for royalty, and people of high social standing, elite warriors and Druid priests.
In his endeavours he aims to continue detailed studies during handling objects housed within organization’s such as the British Museum, and other museum collections of metal objects related to the Iron Age within Britain and Europe including La Tène in Switzerland.
With his experience as a heritage blacksmith and rural craftsman, Simon’s work and discoveries have brought a different approach to understanding of an ancient native culture that embraced members of their communities that were highly skilled and advanced craft
smiths, and most probable to have been known as Shamans, which have mystified academics during antiquity. His work is beginning to unlock the secrets of these enigmatic native tribal culture.
Simon teaches varied subjects related to the ancient Iron Age native culture of the craft smiths to primitive building skills. While working with metals practices embracing a moderate understanding of the spiritual ritual that may have been practiced which relates to the smith’s craft seen in other cultures.
Subjects taught by Simon;
- Ancient Briton/Celtic (Iron Age) period forge works, iron smelting and related pre-history repoussé and early metal workings.
2. Ancient building skills and techniques.
3. Ritual alchemy of the shamanic practices of early smiths.
- Ancestral Celtic/ Iron Age Briton heritage.
About the Workshops and courses
Workshops – Simon teaches adults and children at his basic workshops, which he holds at public events (such as festivals) as an introduction to early Iron Age metal workings involving primitive craft smith techniques and skills to create small handcrafted objects. These workshops give insight into how early Iron Age craft smiths made simple but effective objects.
Courses – Note Simon’s courses are deeply immersive and span from short weekends to week long courses for adults, who are mostly wanting to connect with their natural instincts of creativity to then make ancient objects from the Celtic/Iron Age period of 800BC- AD43.
Metal objects from the Iron Age were practical and functional objects varying from jewellery to tools, weapons and items used for divination. Not only were they decorative, sacred, ritualistic and ceremonial treasures, such as; shields, masks cauldrons or vessels, knifes, swords and bronze mirrors etc. The creation of these objects was immersive, entwined with clear intention, respectful and embedded with understanding coming from a primal source, through using raw materials, such as metal ores. Born through the journey of alchemy these
objects transformed from intention to workable and tangible solid metals. Such objects could then hold great significance and therefore honoured with ceremony and were either prized possessions in life, and the afterlife as burial goods or given as offerings of treasurable value to waters or the earth or to ancient Gods.
In teaching the ancient smiths craft and skills rooted from our forefathers and the native tribal cultures of our ancestors – the ancient Britons and Celtic peoples – Simon honours the processes of holding these courses in carefully prepared environments; environments reminiscent of how it’s believed the Iron Age people practiced within their settlements, whilst embracing the nature around them.
Simon’s ethos is to rekindle such elemental ways of the ancient smith’s, whilst embracing the nature and the earth of today’s modern age.
More about Simon
Simon has been living off-grid for approximately 17 years, and is experienced in living and working in a low impact way, using renewable energy which he has combined with more ancient building methods. He extracts timber using his heavy horse; a method which has a zero-carbon footprint within the landscape. To then prepare the timber for charcoal making by using ancient earth clamping methods, as well as firewood, timber for building of structures and timber extraction for material production.
The charcoal which Simon produces goes on to be used as a fuel for firing iron smelting projects, research and for fuelling his forge fires to be used when blacksmithing. He works in a very sustainable way throughout all of his creations.
Simon trained and worked in the field of historic building restoration and as a Watermill Wright before going on to train as a Blacksmith. His blacksmithing has rewarded him awards of outstanding craftsmanship from the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths in London, and Double Distinctions during his studies and practical training. He is working also as an Experimental Archaeologist and is
a well renowned tutor in this field, teaching these skills during the courses and workshops that he offers at
events around the South East-West, within rural woodland locations and in the nature.
Simon has also appeared in BBC Edwardian Farm and Wartime Farm television series as a consultant and working blacksmith commissioned to create heritage projects.
Ethos and Benefits
Simon Summers is a Heritage Blacksmith and therefore he thrives and dedicates his work to forging links with our ancestors from the ancient British Isles, Ireland and Western Europe, specifically with regard to Celtic and Iron Age Heritage. The purpose of Simon’s work is to broaden the understanding of how and why the Iron Age blacksmiths worked, as they were special craftsmen. Seen through their works which have been found beneath our very own feet in archaeological finds, finds which we can
still see within museums today, it is very clear that such smiths who created these amazing works of art, designed and formed them with a great understanding of patterns seen in nature. Their works feature animal and humans entwined, some for decorative affect and others which may have hidden and deeper meanings. The precise and perfectly created artwork just proves that these smiths were special, and were able to transmute into their creations what they saw around them, whilst carefully calculating mathematical patterns within very fine details. Simon truly believes that these smiths were the finest craftsman in their field.
These smiths showed and promoted a huge wealth of knowledge in their work and skills of the highest status of ability. Their outstanding experience and skill allowed them to design their works and to forge the tools they needed to create their work. From smelting the raw materials etc, to the finished article which may have then been deposited as burial goods or given as offerings to the earth, also to the waters, rivers wetlands etc.
With their immense understanding of nature and the universe entwined, such treasures were made and fashioned as unique individual objects from metals of iron, bronze, silver and gold and transformed by their craftsmanship into sacred and ceremonial objects; as a form of quintessential art which Simon believes holds great meaning of a lost culture native to Britain that is still hidden from us today.
Sign up to join the courses and volunteer action camps held within a real period Iron Age fort settlement within ancient forests of Sussex. Register now by dropping an email of your interests. You will then be informed of details of courses and camps as they are scheduled.
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