Amgueddfa Blog: Learning

Hi, Eirini here – I am a student intern in the Archaeology and Numismatics department at NMW, Cardiff. I’ve been taking a look at the museum’s extensive coin collection and will be creating a series of blogs on each of them.

Today I am looking at ancient coins from my home country of Greece. The collection of Greek coinage dates back to over 2000 years ago, but the designs are in great condition. They are all made of silver or gold and we can see the development of currency through them – beginning with rough coins that look like ingots to detailed chunky coins featuring Emperors faces, some from Macedonia and Byzantium as well as famous leaders like Alexander the Great.

I’ve picked my two favourite coins from the collection:

Alexander the Great, Macedonian Drachma

4 Drachum from Pella, Macedonia (dating to 315BC) features Alexander wearing a lion skin, the symbol of Greek hero Hercules, on the front with Alexander’s name inscribed on the back next to an image of Zeus. This design was mimicked by Emperors following Alexander’s death.

I like that this coin is in such good condition. We can see the details of Alexander’s face – it’s impressive considering the tools they had! You can read the inscription clearly despite how old it is.

Byzantine Empress Theodora, Constantinople Nomisma

 A gold tetarteron dating from the reign of Theodora (AD 1055-1056) featuring a portrait of Theodora holding a sceptre and orb, on the other side is a depiction of Jesus Christ. The same iconography of Jesus was used on other Byzantine emperors’ coins, but with their own portraits in place of Theodora’s.

I like how this coin is also in great condition, however, the artwork is much simpler on Byzantine coins with less intricate detailing.

Next week, I will be looking at some Roman coins - a common metal detectorist find in Wales. Greek coins, unfortunately, aren't found in Wales as Greece never invaded the British Isles! Remember to always report any findings to the Portable Antiquities Scheme to allow us to keep learning from the past.

Wrexham Museum is currently hosting their Buried in the Borderlands community archaeology project, a project based around a hoard of Medieval silver and gold coins and a stunning sapphire and gold ring discovered by metal detectorists in Bronington.

Thomas and Leon are students working hard on the Bronington Hoard project at Wrexham Museum, learning about the value of the coins and archaeology. Read more about them here.

The duo have been keeping us updated of their work experience progress. Leon has been working on an information booklet about the hoard while Tom has been focused on making a craft session for the children who come to the museum.

“I’ve been looking into some ways to make coins out of clay or foam board and some paint. I’ve also been looking at ways to be able to print the patterns on the coins onto the craft coins,” explains Tom. All their effort has been paying off, as the boys are getting involved with events this Easter holiday time.

“We’ve recently decided what we’ll be doing in our craft session during the Easter holidays. We’ll be making coins! We’ll be introducing families to the hoard and get them to make their favourite coin out of clay. The clay and metallic paint we’ve ordered arrived this week! We look forward to seeing some of you at our ‘Make & Take’ craft session at the museum on Tuesday, April 3rd, 10.30am – 12.30pm.”

Leon explains that they are also excited to hosting a visit from History Matters, a 15th century re-enactment group who are visiting Wrexham Musuem on May 30th. “They’ll be showing us and our visitors all about everyday life when the hoard was buried,” explains Leon. “We’re looking forward to learning about what people and ate. It’d be great to see you there! You might even spot us in period dress.”

Meanwhile, Leon has been working on an information booklet for visitors for when the hoard actually goes on display at the museum in March. “It’s more difficult than I first thought!” he admits, “trying to write enough information and make it interesting without being too dull or boring. I’m getting great help from the museum staff though. My booklet will be translated, designed and printed so I’m looking forward to getting all the information written to share with you.”

Click here for a full list of events being held at Wrexham Museum

The Buried in the Borderlands Project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund via the Saving Treasures; Telling Stories Project.

Hello bulb buddies,

What an interesting time to be studying and observing the weather! Most of you will have had snow and high winds this last week. I understand that many schools were closed, and that conditions in the school grounds may have meant you weren’t able to collect weather data on days that you were in school.

It’s likely that you’ve heard people talking about weather warnings a lot over the last week. Weather warnings are released by the MET Office (the UK’s official weather service) and are colour coded (green, yellow, amber and red) to indicate how extreme the weather will be in different areas.

Green: weather is not expected to be extreme.

Yellow: possibility of extreme weather so you should be aware of it.

Amber (orange): strong chance of the weather effecting you in some way, so be prepared.

Red: extreme weather expected, plan ahead and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.

The Met Office also use symbols to indicate what type of weather to expect. For example, the symbols to the right show (in order) a red warning for rain, green for wind, green for snow, amber for ice and green for fog. This means there will be heavy rain and that you should prepare for ice. Why not have a look at the Met Office website and see what the weather forecast is for where you live?

Amber and red warnings for wind, snow and ice were given for many parts of the UK last week as storm Emma and the ‘Beast from the East’ collided. The Met Office warn us about bad weather so that we can prepare for it. This is because extreme weather (such as strong winds and ice) can cause difficulties and make it hard to travel. Roads and train lines can close, flights can be cancelled, and walking conditions can be dangerous.

What was the weather like where you live? If you weren’t able to collect weather records you can enter ‘no record’ on the online form, but please let me know in the comment section what the weather was like! You can also let me know how your plants are doing and whether they have flowered!

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant

 

Comments about the weather:

Ysgol Beulah: Roedd eira yn pot ni :)!!!!!!!!!.

Ysgol Carreg Emlyn: Mae hi wedi bwrw eira yma heddiw.

Ferryside V.C.P School: mae wythnos hyn wedi bod yn bwrw lot

Broad Haven Primary School: Snow Hail sleet sun rain gales . We have seen them all.

St Robert's R.C Primary School: We had a cold week this week.

Peterston super Ely Primary School: Lots of snow on Friday

Steelstown Primary School: Once again northern Ireland has been hit by a cold patch but Derry has once again missed out on heavy snowfall roll on spring.

Severn Primary: Some other places got some snow and it was really cold on Thursday when we went out for Games because of the wind. Hope we get snow!

St Paul's CE Primary School: WINDY AND COLD SNOW SHOWERS

Canonbie Primary School: We had snow again this week and lots of rain. Little signs of life springing through but no flowering bulbs yet.

Canonbie Primary School: This week has been a bit mixed weather wise. We had freezing conditions and snow on Tuesday but milder conditions by Friday. Typical British weather.

Carnbroe Primary School: Hi Professor Plant, we were off all week except for Thursday and Friday. The weather this week has been cold and icy.

Peterston super Ely Primary School: Snow days on Thursday and Friday

Onthank Primary School: No record of result due to snow days.

Auchenlodment Primary School: The Beast from the East hit this week! There was lots of snow and we were off school, yippee!

St John's Primary School: School was closed on Thursday due to weather conditions.

Fleet Wood Lane Primary School: School closed because of snow on Weds – Fri.

Carnforth North Road Primary School: The weather this week has been very cold and windy. The children have had to wrap up warm to gather the data.

Portpatrick Primary School: Very cold first thing - frozen ground, but no snow.

Inverkip Primary School: Hi professor plant Monday we had ALOT of rain but every other day it didn't rain at all. The temperature was warm then it dropped down but steadied up at the end of the week.

Steelstown Primary: We are starting to get some warm weather and some of our bulbs are growing.

Arkholme CE Primary School: It was very cold and on some days it was frosty.

St Andrew's RC Primary School: The rain gauge was broken by the frost, we have ordered a new one. This is why we have no rainfall for Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

 

Comments about your plants:

Ysgol Beulah: Roedd y tywydd yn oer iawn felly dydy'r blodau ddim wedi blaguro eto.

Ysgol Y Traeth: Mae sawl un o'r blodau wedi dechrau tyfu a rhai wedi dechrau agor yn araf. Mae 14 crocws wedi tyfu a 27 daffodil wedi tyfu.

Carnbroe Primary School: Hi Professor Plant, our bulbs still have not bloomed yet. The weather this week has been changeable. It has been wet, really really cold and icy and although the sun is out it's been cold.

Ysgol Bro Pedr: Many bulbs making an appearance now - a very cold week

Peterston super Ely Primary School: Meghan's crocus has finally flowered! Hopefully when we return from our half term holiday a few more will have flowered too.

Peterston super Ely Primary School: The children are very excited this week as one of our crocus bulbs has finally flowered!

Darran Park Primary: The temperature is still very cold. Our daffodils haven't grown but our crocus have a little bit.

Inverkip Primary School: Mon - Wed school holidays so no data collected. The bulbs are growing well in the pots but not in the ground yet. None have started to flower.

Pembroke Primary School: Looks like I planted two crocus and 1 daffodil. When I saw mine I was surprised.

Pembroke Primary School: This was the first in our class. T has now left the school. The pot wasn't full to the top with compost so this may have resulted in it flowering early.

Auchenlodment Primary School: Got colder this week with very little rainfall. Most of the bulbs have begun to sprout!

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Beautiful deep purple flower.

Ysgol Bro Pedr: The first crocus opened over our half term.

Bacup Thorn Primary School: Monday and Tuesday were teacher training days at Thorn. We are back and ready to measure! The children noticed some of our bulbs are making a slight appearance!!

As we are sure you are aware, there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes at the National Museum of Wales, including research, conservation and work experience. This week is Student Volunteering Week and in honor of this, we have taken the time to find out a little bit more about one of our interns, Eirini...


Profile

Name: Eirini Anagnostou

Job title/ Role: Intern

Department: History and Archaeology, National Museum Cardiff


Where you are you from?

Greece

What are you studying?

I am a student of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, studying Archaeology and History of Art

Why did you choose to study Archaeology and History of Art?

I've been interested in Art since high school, particularly Contemporary but also Renaissance and Byzantine art and I am also interested in cultural history and civilisations.

What are you doing here?

Erasmus+ placement programme, working as an intern updating the Portable Antiquities Scheme Cymru database – I’ve worked here for 2 months so far!

What are your main duties?

Using the Photoshop programme and processing images of artefacts found by mainly metal detectorists to go on the PAS database.

Next week I will be doing some photography, and working on developing stories on a collection of Ancient Greek coins. I am also hoping to have input into the development of an exhibition concept.

Why did you come to Cardiff?

I visited Cardiff three years ago and I liked the city. I chose the National Museum because it is one of the biggest museums in the UK. I think it’s a good experience for my personal development and future aspirations.

Are you enjoying your time in Cardiff?

Yes, Cardiff is a lovely city with friendly people. There are many things to do and a beautiful castle!

What have you enjoyed the most about working at NMW?

The working environment here is very friendly and helpful. I’ve learnt a lot and I’ve had the opportunity to see the galleries – I was amazed at the extensive collection of Impressionist paintings!

Have you seen anything that’s not currently on display that particularly interested you?

I’ve never seen so many artefacts before – I’ve never seen bones and prehistoric artefacts like those collected in the museum’s stores, and I enjoyed having the opportunity to see them.

What do you hope to learn from this experience?

I hope to learn how a museum works because I’d like to do a Masters in Museum Studies and possibly become a curator. I am still deciding where to study for my Masters degree. I also am enjoying experiencing living abroad and I hope to continue travelling for a couple more years.

To see more content related to the Portable Antiquites Scheme and the Saving Treasures; Telling Stories Project, a project currently working with PAS and local metal detectorists and communities to record all archaeological findings, click here.

We're getting ready for another lambing season here at St Fagans and we know that lots of you will be looking forward to #lambcam. So we've put together the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that have come up over the last three years.  Here's the stuff you need to know when things start to hot up in the lambing shed:

Is anybody there looking after the sheep?

Lambcam is brought to you by a small but dedicated team. Once things get going there are experienced staff on hand during the day and through the night.  

Are the sheep in pain? 

Yes - they're giving birth, and labour can be a long and painful process! 

I've been watching a sheep struggling to give birth - why doesn't someone go in and help her?

Sheep are nervous animals - they don't find the presence of humans relaxing.  Their natural instinct is to run away (as you'll see every time the team go in). Sprinting round the shed stresses them out and slows down the lambing. The shepherds observe quietly from a distance and intervene as little as possible. A calm, quiet shed means shorter labours for everyone.

But she's been struggling for ages and no-one's been to see her!

As well as the area you can see on camera, we have separate nursery sheds for the ewes and their lambs. The team will always assess the needs of the whole flock and prioritise the most vulnerable. A very sick newborn lamb that needs tube feeding may be taking precedence over a ewe in labour. Remember that there may be a staff member just out of shot watching on.

Why are you letting it go on so long?

The ewe needs to labour until her cervix is dilated enough for the lambs to pass through. This can take anything from 30 minutes to several hours. The ones that are making the most fuss are often our yearlings giving birth for the first time. Ironically these are the girls that need to do the most work to open their cervixes. Caesarean births for sheep would only ever be an absolute last resort and have very poor outcomes for the ewe. A long labour is always a much better option - sorry ladies!

There's a sheep in the shed screaming in pain…

Sheep are mostly completely silent when giving birth (but you should hear the racket at feeding time!) In the wild, being quiet while in labour reduces the chances of being attacked by a predator at such a vulnerable moment. When you see a ewe with her eyes wide, head thrown back and top lip curled, it's evidence of the strength of her contractions. That's a good thing - it means she's getting down to business and there'll be a birth happening soon.

I've just seen the shepherd give the sheep an injection - what was that?

A shot of calcium can help get things moving if a ewe has been in active labour for a long time but is not making much progress with dilating her cervix.

Why do they swing the lambs by their legs sometimes?

It's vital that lambs start to breathe on their own as soon as they are born. They sometimes have noses and throats full of fluid. You may see the shepherds sticking a bit of straw up the lamb's nostril to get it to cough or sneeze. If this doesn't work they will sometimes swing the lamb by its back legs. It looks dramatic - but is the most effective way to clear the airway. Centrifugal force helps the lamb to cough out any obstructions.

What are they doing when they put their hands inside the sheep?

Check out this blog post from 2016 for a full guide to lamb presentation aka 'What's going on there?'