Exploring the Magic of Spring: A Season of New Beginnings

Penny Dacey, 23 February 2024

Hi Bulb Buddies! There’s something in the air at the moment, as winter begins to turn into Spring. You may have noticed blooming flowers, chirping birds, and longer days? These are some of the earliest signs that springtime is coming! Let's dive in and explore some of the exciting changes that you might notice as this season draws closer.

 

What is Spring?

Spring is one of the four seasons that we experience each year. It comes after winter and before summer. During spring, the days become warmer, and nature starts to wake up from its winter snooze. In the UK Spring begins in March, so it’s still a few weeks away. But there are lots of signs that it’s coming. 

 

The Early Signs of Spring:

  • Blossoming Flowers: One of the first signs of spring is the appearance of colorful flowers. Keep an eye out for daffodils, crocus, tulips, cherry blossoms, and many more as they start to bloom and paint the world with their vibrant hues.

  • Singing Birds: Have you noticed the cheerful melodies filling the air? That's the sound of birds returning from their winter migrations and singing to attract mates or establish territories. Listen closely, and you might even hear the distinctive songs of robins, sparrows, and finches.

  • Buzzing Bees and Butterflies: As the flowers bloom, they attract busy bees and fluttering butterflies. These important pollinators play a crucial role in helping plants reproduce. Watch them flit from flower to flower, collecting nectar and pollen.

  • Greening of Trees: Look around, and you'll notice the leaves on trees starting to unfurl. Spring brings new growth, transforming bare branches into lush green canopies. It's a sign that life is returning to the land.

  • Warmer Weather: Bid farewell to chilly days as spring brings warmer temperatures. It's time to shed those bulky winter jackets and enjoy the gentle sunshine.

  • Baby Animals: Spring is a time of birth and renewal. Keep an eye out for baby animals like ducklings, lambs, and bunnies as they make their debut in the world. You can watch for new lambs on the LAMBCAM from 1 March: Lambcam 2024 (museum.wales)

  • Rain Showers: Don't forget your umbrella! Spring often brings showers that help nourish the earth and support new plant growth. So, embrace the rain and splash in the puddles.

  • Longer Days: Have you noticed that the days are getting longer? That's because spring marks the time when the Earth's axis tilts closer to the sun, giving us more daylight to enjoy outdoor adventures.

 

Spring is truly a magical time of year, full of wonder and new beginnings. So, grab your magnifying glass, put on your explorer hat, and venture outdoors to see how many signs of spring you can spot! One might be your bulbs, have they started to grow? Can you see what colours your flowers will be yet?

You can share your photos via email or on Twitter by tagging @Professor_Plant

If this is your favourite part of the investigation so far, maybe it will inspire your entry to the BULBCAST video competition! More details on this can be found here: Bulbcast 2024 

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant

Secret Messages of Love: Archaeological Finds of an Amorous Kind

Elena Johnston, 14 February 2024

Last year, 77 finds from across Wales, all over 300 years old, were reported as treasure. My favourite treasure cases are the ones that include jewellery, especially rings. Yes, they are beautiful little objects, but they are also very personal items each with a story to tell.

I often wonder how these prized possessions end up in buried in the ground. Perhaps lost on a countryside stroll, the owner only realising with a jolt of panic once they have returned home. An argument between lovers perhaps, resulting in a ring being thrown across fields in a fit of rage. Or the remembering of a loved one with the private placing of the ring at a shared special place.

Love, in one form or another, is the common theme here, so to celebrate Valentine’s Day let’s take a closer look at some of the rings recently declared treasure in Wales.

 

A gold posy-ring dating from the late 1600s to early 1700s (treasure case 21.26 from Esclusham Community, Wrexham). The inscription inside reads ‘Gods providence is our inheritance’.

Gold Posy-ring.

Posy rings were used to communicate secret messages of love, faith and friendship between the giver and the recipient. The wearing of hidden words against the skin offering a poignant, intimate connection.

 

 

A medieval gold fede or betrothal ring, decorated with engraved leaves and flower heads (treasure case 21.14 from Bronington Community, Wrexham).

Gold Fede or Betrothal Ring. 

The inscription on the outer surface reads ‘de bon cuer’ which means ‘of good heart’. The ring forms part of a hoard of coins and finger-rings dating to the Wars of the Roses during the later 15th century.

 

 

A gold finger ring, dated 1712, (treasure case 19.41 from Llanbradach and Pwll y Pant Community, Caerphilly).

gold finger ring.

The initials A. D. and E. P. are inscribed either side of two joined hearts, representing the names of the couple betrothed or married.

 

 

Remember to keep an eye on our social channels for new treasure declarations and please do check out our website to find out more.

https://museum.wales/treasure/ 

 

 

I’ll finish with a few FAQs about Treasure - everyone has heard of it, but what does it mean?

 

How is Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales involved in Treasure declarations? 
Curators based at Amgueddfa Cymru provide expert advice and make recommendations to Coroners on cases of reported treasure from Wales. They compare finds with the legal definition of treasure, as set out in the Treasure Act 1996 and the Treasure Act 1996: Code of Practice (3rd Revision) of 2023. We also have Portable Antiquities Scheme Finds Officers based at our museums, who work with finders, often metal-detectorists, who show their treasure and non-treasure archaeological finds, enabling them to be recorded and reported.

 

Why does a Coroner make the decision on Treasure cases? 
The role of Coroners in treasure cases arose from the Medieval duty of the Coroner as a protector of the property of the Crown belonging to the king or queen of the day. In Middle English, the word ‘coroner’ referred to an officer of the Crown, derived from the Latin corona, meaning ‘crown’.

 

What happens to ‘Treasure’? 
When treasure finds are declared treasure by Coroners, they legally become the property of the Crown. Finders and landowners are entitled to rewards, usually each receiving 50% of the independent commercial value placed on the treasure find. The Treasure Valuation Committee, an appointed group of experts representing the antiquities trade, museums and finder groups, commissions and agrees the values placed on treasure. Interested accredited museums may acquire treasure for their collections and for wider public benefit, by paying the agreed valuation sum placed on a find.  
 

Early Years Learning at National Museum Cardif in partnership with Flying Start

Megan Naish, Learning Facilitator, 7 February 2024

Amgueddfa Cymru has worked alongside Flying Start to invite families with young children to explore our collection through themed play, craft, and sensory activities as part of our Family and Early Years Learning Program.

For many families, there can be anxiety and hesitance around bringing their young children to museum spaces, and so our Saturday sessions are designed to relieve that concern by providing our younger visitors with safe, supervised spaces and interactive resources that encourage their curiosity, inquisitiveness, and learning. 

Occurring monthly, each weekend invites a different theme that relates back to an area in our museum collection, such as ‘Dino Discovery Day’, ‘Under the Sea’, ‘Minibeasts in the Garden’, and ‘Ice Age’. We use our Clore Discovery Centre as the base for our Family Saturday sessions, and families can freely drop in throughout the day and have the opportunity to explore our vast handling objects collection.

We aim to give our families a safe and welcoming environment to spend time together, make memories and to experience the museum in a unique way that supports the needs of our young visitors and their families.

It's here: Bulbcast 2024

Penny Dacey, 2 February 2024

Hi Bulb Buddies,

I'm excited to announce the launch of a new competition for those participating in the Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation. 

I've attached a helpful guide that can be your handbook for completing this challenge. 

There's also a video introduction here:  

Video entries should be about 30 seconds long and shared over Twitter or by email by 22 March.

We can't wait to see what you create!

Get casting Bulb Buddies!

Professor Plant & Baby Bulb

 

Coming Soon: Bulbcast 2024

Penny Dacey, 30 January 2024

Hi Bulb Buddies,

I wanted to give you a heads up about an exciting new competition that will be launching soon!

It's a chance for all groups participating in this year's Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation to show off their fantastic filming and storytelling skills! You'll be asked to work in groups to produce 30 second videos exploring what you've enjoyed most about the Investigation. 

I'm looking forward to sharing more information with you and seeing what you all create! 

Watch this space for further updates soon...

Best wishes,

Professor Plant