It's Part of Local Folklore. Now Circus Elephant's Final Resting Place May at Last Be Revealed; ARCHAEOLOGISTS SEEK GRAVE SAID TO BE IN PUB'S GARDEN
Byline: SION MORGAN
THE last resting place of a circus elephant, said to be buried in the grounds of a Welsh pub, could finally be revealed.
In 1848 a travelling circus passed through the Ceredigion town of Tregaron when its prized exhibit was taken ill and died.
The Tregaron Elephant has since become part of local folklore.
Its remains were reputedly buried in the back garden of the town's Talbot Hotel, though the grave's exact whereabouts remain unknown.
Next month the School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David will begin a week-long dig to trace the grave, part of a wider project celebrating the elephant which has acquired mythical, almost mascot-like, status in the town.
Dr Jemma Bezant, from the School of Archaeology, said the Elephant Project would form part of 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.
"It is likely that we will generate more questions than answers and this project will contribute to the rich history of the area in its own right. The main aim is to engage the local community in the construction and telling of their own stories and histories."
According to Gwilym Williams, from the Talbot Hotel, the elephant was part of Batty's Travelling Menageries which passed through Tregaron in 1848. It became ill after drinking local water suspected of being contaminated with lead and died in stables next to the hotel.
"There were large industrial works higher up the mountains which used a lot of lead and local water supplies would often become contaminated," Mr Williams said. "It is thought that the elephant drank some of the contaminated water from the river. …