Amgueddfa Blog: Learning

Last Friday we attended the Torfaen Treasure Day at Pontypool Museum, where the latest treasure finds from the Trevethin and Henllys area were presented.

The treasure included a decorative gold finger-ring from the late 16th or early 17th century, as well as Bronze Age artefacts, which date back 3,000 years. The Bronze Age hoard consists of five Bronze Age artefacts, including three socketed axes and two spearheads and these will be the first Bronze Age items to be displayed at Pontypool Museum.

Adam Gwilt is about to present treasure finds. This treasure find is a hoard of Bronze Age artefacts.
Adam Gwilt, Principal Curator (Prehistory) at Amgueddfa Cymru, presenting the Trevethin Hoard.

Rt Hon. Lord Paul Murphy of Torfaen, President of the Torfaen Museum Trust, welcomed in the event warming up the audience before presentations from Adam Gwilt and Rhianydd Biebrach from Amgueddfa Cymru and local MP Mr Nick Thomas-Symonds followed.

The newly declared treasure was presented to the museum by Adam Gwilt, the Principal Curator of Prehistory in the History & Archaeology Department. Adam talked about the history of the treasure and provided background information so the audience could gain a further understanding of the items. Since the items were acquired by Pontypool Museum with grant funding from the Saving Treasures;Telling Stories Project Dr Rhianydd Biebrach, the Saving Treasures; Telling Stories Project Officer discussed the key messages and aims behind the project.

Rhianydd Biebrach, who is the project officer of the Saving Treasures Telling Stories project at the National Museum Wales, is giving a presentation about the project.
Rhianydd Biebrach, project officer for Saving Treasures Telling Stories at Amgueddfa Cymru, giving a presentation about the project.

The Saving Treasures; Telling Stories project is currently working with the University of South Wales assisting student journalists for a two-week work placement where they can use their journalistic writing and interviewing skills to help tell the stories behind items. We thought it would be a good idea to send them up to Pontypool Museum before the event to talk to the curators at the museum and the finders of the treasure.

They spoke to Gareth Wileman, a metal detectorist in the Pontypool area who found the hoard back in November 2014, and asked him how he felt about his discovery being exhibited. While we would have loved to hear from Simon Harrison, the finder of the gold finger-ring, he wasn’t available at the time so a potential phone interview looks likely for the next batch of students.

The students are still currently working on this project and will provide us with written and video content of their interview - so keep your eyes peeled on our Twitter and Facebook account for more content and videos coming your way!

The hoard is being acquired by Pontypool Museum with grant funding from the Saving Treasures;Telling Stories Project. This project, funded via the Collecting Cultures programme of the Heritage Lottery Fund, is acquiring archaeological objects discovered by members of the public for public museum collections across Wales. The project is also encouraging communities to engage with their pasts and portable archaeological heritage, by funding a programme of community archaeology projects led by staff in museums throughout Wales.

 

This is the second post on the Cymru Yfory exhibition, the first can be read here.

The range and imagination of the stands on display at this 1969 exhibition were vast, they included ideas and plans for the Cardiff of the future, for the valleys, for the Severn Estuary and for housing and schools. Some were realistic but most were fantastical and frivolous – especially exhibits illustrating clothing, furniture and domestic habits of the future. A major contributor was General Industrial Plastics Limited, manufacturers and designers of plastic products who made the magnificent inflated ceiling display, pieces of air filled furniture and the plastic carrier bag provided with the official catalogue. Cardiff College of Art, the National Coal Board, the City of Cardiff, the General Post Office and British Rail also contributed stands.  

As part of the fun atmosphere, a spoof contributor named Kumro Kemicals Corporation was created. The catalogue states they were established in 1999 (bear in mind this event took place in 1969!) and that their products were “the result of the most intensive research programme ever undertaken by any corporation in the Western Hemisphere…” As part of their contribution, Kumro produced sealed envelopes bearing the following message, DO NOT OPEN UNTIL 1999 - and the Library still holds one of these that remains unopened!

When publishing images, copyright issues need to be considered and a number of these photographs are stamped on the reverse with either Hylton Warner & Co Ltd or Giovanni Gemin [Whitchurch Road, Cardiff]. Internet searches brought up a little information on Hylton Warner but nothing current and no information at all was found concerning Giovanni Gemin. Therefore, a notice was placed on the Photo Archive News website requesting communication from anyone who might be familiar with these two photographers. After some time, we were contacted by the son of Giovanni Gemin. Award-winning author Giancarlo Gemin was kind enough to grant permission to publish the photographs and also tell us the following about his father:

He was an industrial and commercial photographer based in Cardiff from 1961. He worked regularly for BBC Wales, and was one of the official photographers at the investiture of the Prince of Wales. He was awarded the Chartered Institute of Incorporated Photographers (AIIP) and an Associate of Master Photographers (AMPA).

As well as items of ephemera such as the official catalogue, carrier bag, stickers etc. we are fortunate to hold two volumes of comments books. These are a fascinating record of visitors’ thoughts and the majority are very positive but, not everyone appreciated looking to the future instead of a classical past and to end this post, here are just a few that have made us smile:

BW, Rhwibina - Awful

RM, Rhondda - Not as good as the British Museum

MB, Cheltenham - Baffled!

MD, Durham - I prefer the face of OLD WALES proud and noble not false and plastic

CS, Cardiff - Needs dusting

SL, Cardiff - Rubbish, waste of good museum space!

TO, County Cork – TRASH

Hi Bulb Buddies,

Thank you for all of your hard work on the Spring Bulbs for Schools project.

Please check your data entries and flower records this week to ensure that they are all correct and up to date. I will analyse the results over the holidays and will announce the winners and prizes on 28th April. The certificates and prizes will be sent out by 15th May. The report will be sent out the week of 15th May.
 

Don't worry if some plants haven’t flowered, those pupils will still receive certificates. Please take your plants home and note when your flowers open. This is important as we require a flowering date for both the Daffodil and Crocus from each pupil to calculate the average flowering dates for your school.

 
All schools with complete weather and flower records will have a chance of winning a nature activity trip for their class! In previous years we have drawn winners for England, Scotland and Wales from a hat.

Runners-up and high achieving schools will receive sunflower seeds.

All schools that have entered regular weather data and flower records will receive Supper Scientist certificates and pencils.

Applications for next year are now open!

Applications are on a first come first serve basis. Please read the form carefully.

Schools in Wales                                         Schools in England and Scotland

The Edina Trust are opening their applications to schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil and Conwy. If your school is located in one of these areas and you would like to take part in the Edina Extension project please read the details here.

Thank you for all of your hard work Bulb Buddies!

 

Your Comments:

Professor Plant: I'm sorry if some of you were disappointed because your plant didn't grow or didn't produce a flower. This happens sometimes and is down to pot luck, so please don't think that you have done anything wrong. There are guidelines on the website about how to prepare your bulbs for re-planting next year. And if your school has entered complete weather records you will be receiving Sunflower seeds in May. Thank you for taking part in the project Bulb Buddies! 

Weather comments:

Rougemont Junior School: Last week, signing off Professor Plant.

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: We are very sad that this week is the last week of the competition. We really enjoyed it.

Garstang St. Thomas' CE Primary School: Have a lovely Easter Professor! Hope we have helped with your investigation.

Barmston Village Primary School: It's the last week 👍 I hope we win ⚡️⭐️🌟🌙 if we do your the best🔥

Garstang St. Thomas' CE Primary School: wet and warm like the teacher's tea.

Arkholme CE Primary School: This week was very warm. The mystery bulbs have now flowered and there are about two daffodils that have not quite come out yet. We did not get a lot of rainfall due to the nice sun.

Broad Haven Primary School: The last week for our data and we have only missed 2 INSET days and half term when we were not in school . Our mystery bulb flowered on March 27th it is a lovely red tulip Thank you agian for letting us join the project we have enjoyed it. Hope we can join again next year!!

Carnbroe Primary School: It has been mixed weather this week sometimes cold but mostly we can feel it becoming warmer. All our daffodils finally flowered. Some children were disappointed because their crocus did not flower. We are taking our plants home with us. Have a good Easter and thank you for including us in your project.

Carnbroe Primary School: We had mixed weather last week and many of our daffodils have not flowered, yet! It snowed on Tuesday and we sent Professor Bulb photographs of our daffodils and crocus in the snow. By lunchtime the sun was out and had evaporated all the snow. We decided these flowers must be really hardy to survive in the cold.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: It's been a cold windy week! We cannot believe spring is coming .The clocks go forward this week, looking forward to lighter evenings.

Broad Haven Primary School: The weather is getting better we have been to our beach to do a marine litter pick this week. We have tidied our garden ready to plant vegetables.

Flower comments:

Ysgol Glanyfferi: Sadly all of the crocuses have died but some are fighting for their lives

Ysgol Borth y Gest: On Monday two tulips plants appeared. We were all surprised!!!!!!
We have daffodils, crocus and tulips. They look beautiful.

Ysgol Deganwy: Everyone is taking their plant home today

Darran Park Primary: Another 9 have flowered the remainder have no flowers at all.

Darran Park Primary: 12 more crocuses have flowered.

Darran Park Primary: The remainder of the daffodil bulbs have flowered, we have a total 40 flowers together.

Darran Park Primary: All of our daffodil bulbs have flowered, but we are still waiting for our mystery bulbs to flower.

Tonyrefail Primary School: Unfortunately a bug eat some of my plant

Tonyrefail Primary School: Thank you for the bulbs they are good.

Usworth Colliery Primary School: All have grown but no flowers at all as of 30th March.

Rougemont Junior School: Pretty colour

Rougemont Junior School: A small daffodil, did it have too much shade?

Rougemont Junior School: A very tall daffodil, I looked after it well.

Rougemont Junior School: Daffodils are tricky to measure.

Rougemont Junior School: Beautiful!

Wormit Primary School: Very good daffodil :^) !

Arkholme CE Primary School: Our bulbs have flowered including the daffodils and the crocus; and brought them home for mother’s day as a gift. But some of the crocuses are starting to die.

Bellyeoman Primary School: Has lots of leaves but no flower yet.

Broad Haven Primary School: Our daffodils look lovely in their pots and we can see other signs of Spring around our school

Tonyrefail Primary School: My daffodil grew taller than I thought.

Ysgol Deganwy: All of the plants are fully grown.

Hi Bulb Buddies,

We’ve had lots of flower records in! Spring is truly here.

The results so far give us an average flowering date for the Crocus of 3rd March, and an average flowering date for the Daffodil of 8th March.

Last year the average flowering date for the Crocus was 10th March and the average flowering date for the Daffodil was 15th March. So the flower data entries shared so far indicate that our plants have flowered earlier this year than last year!

The graphs on the right show the results so far for temperature, rainfall and sunlight hours compared with last year. From these we can see that although the average temperatures were much lower October-January, there was a sharp increase in February with temperatures exceeding those of the previous year. We can also see that although rainfall was much lower, sunlight hours were higher for the October-January period than they were the previous year. It’s likely that a warm February and high sunlight hours resulted in our bulbs flowering slightly earlier this spring!

Thank you for all your lovely comments Bulb Buddies. I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying the project. Keep up the good work!

Professor Plant

 

Your comments:

Weather comments:

Ysgol Pentrefoelas: Mae hi wedi bob yn andros o sych. Ryden ni wedi bob allan yn chwarae bob dydd.

Carnbroe Primary School: It rained most days but it was not too cold. On Monday and Thursday the sun was out and the sky was blue, it felt like Spring. Still no signs of our bulbs flowering. Maybe next week.

Ysgol Glanyfferi: It is starting to feel like spring.

Arkholme CE Primary School: Our first crocus bulb has flowered and is looking good and healthy. We have also moved the plant pots into the sunlight so hopefully they will flower too. The daffodils from last year have grown also the weather has been improving and there has been more sunlight.

Broad Haven Primary School: The garden is looking lovely with the pots of crocus and daffodils flowering. On Thursday the temperature got up to 15.5 at lunchtime. Today (Friday) the sun has come out this afternoon. The children are very excited because their bulbs from last year which we planted in the bank are now starting to flower.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Hello, this week it has been cold and hot and it has been a really good week because we have had a delivery of two new trolleys and we even invested in a wormery which is a big hit with our foundation friends.

 

Flower comments:

Ysgol Pentrefoelas: Fy mlodyn yw y cyntaf I agor y flwyddyn hon,ond y llynedd nath o ddim agor o gwbwl.

Ysgol Pentrefoelas: blwyddyn dwytha mi ddaru y cenin pedr flodeuo ar y 21ain o Fawrth, 2016.

New Monkland Primary School: We noticed that our crocus plants started to grow slightly later than our daffodils. We were so excited to see them growing in our plant pots.

Ysgol Deganwy: All of them of grown and most people have taken them home.

New Monkland Primary School: We were so excited to see our plants starting to grow and the class enjoyed getting to see the Daffodil in their plant pots.

St Robert's R.C Primary School: I like that it’s blue not purple.

Beulah School: :):D All of our flowers have flowered except one :( :P
We have enjoyed our project :D ;)

Carbrain Primary School: We have flowers. :)

Carnbroe Primary School: My daffodil opened on the Friday and it has a small flower.

Severn Primary: I like it cos it is little and cute.

Severn Primary: Sadly a football hit my daffodil and it fell off.

Severn Primary: When I saw my flower it was so beautiful and I was happy.

Severn Primary: I like it cos the colour yellow is bright and the colour of the sun.

Severn Primary: It was a long time you af to wait a long time to open the daffodil.

Severn Primary: For some reason my flower never grew.

Severn Primary: Thank you for the spring bulb project.

Ellel St John's CE Primary School: We think that the crocuses have been water logged because when we went to measure them they were all floppy and droopy.

St. Michael's Primary School: The daffodil has not produced a flower.

Carnbroe Primary School: It rained lots this week but we checked on our flowering bulbs every day. Many of our bulbs in the pots flowered. The daffodils and crocus in the ground also flowered, hooray!

Auchenlodment Primary School: Nearly all of our crocuses have opened, we're now excitedly waiting for our daffodils to bloom.

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: When we go out it is fun and when it is raining we get soaked.

Our Lady of Peace Primary School:  It was fun planting the flowers. I like Daffodil.

St Robert's R.C Primary School: I enjoyed looking after it and watching it grow.

St Robert's R.C Primary School: I enjoyed the whole experience

St Robert's R.C Primary School: I enjoyed planting it and taking it home.

St Robert's R.C Primary School: I liked watching the stages of growth.

St Robert's R.C Primary School: I had fun taking part.

Barmston Village Primary School: My doffodil is quite small but the flower is beautiful.

Barmston Village Primary School: My daffodil is very tall compared to some of the others.

Barmston Village Primary School: My daffodil is smaller than some others but I think my sign might have been in the way of the sun getting to the plant.

Barmston Village Primary School: We've noticed the crocuses have a different flower to the ones we planted in our village last year. Your crocuses have smaller pointier leaves than ours.

Barmston Village Primary School: My daffodil is only small and my crocus didn't grow. I wonder if I didn't plant my correctly.

Ellel St John's CE Primary School: We had 15 crocus' were open on Wednesday but when we checked on Friday there were 27 crocus'.

Ellel St John's CE Primary School: 8 of our daffodils are open and the tallest of them (When we measured them on Monday) was 250mm.

Broad Haven Primary School: We are delighted we have our crocus and daffodils flowering. But it was very rainy on Thursday.

Broad Haven Primary School: We have the double- first crocus and first daffodil!! The bulbs from last year’s project are now flowering in the bank by our garden.

Broad Haven Primary School: Yes ours flowered first. A purple crocus.

Ysgol Deganwy: all of the flowers have budded.

Standing on what felt like the top of the world and slowly regaining our breaths back, they were soon taken away again when looking at the awe inspiring landscape of Whiteford Sands in Swansea Bay.

Swansea Museum is working on a project called ‘The Lost Treasures of Swansea Bay’, which is funded by the help of the ‘Saving Treasures; Telling Stories’ project. Saving Treasures is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund which is acquiring archaeological objects for local and national collections, providing training for heritage professionals and volunteers and engaging local communities with their pasts.

Last week the museum teamed up with young people from Swansea YMCA, The National Trust and The Glamorgan Gwent Archaeology Trust to hike around Whiteford Sands in the Gower area of Swansea Bay. This walk was intended to give us an understanding of the changing landscape of Swansea Bay since the Bronze Age.

The images shows a variety of people at the bottom of a hill in a woodland area; they are about to go on a long walk.

Young people from Swansea YMCA, The National Trust and The Glamorgan Gwent Archaeology Trust members are gearing up for a hike in the Whiteford sands area in Swansea.

The Landscape

Corinne Benbow is a National Trust Ranger and she led the first half of the walk up a very steep hill in order to get the best viewpoints overlooking the beach and woodland areas.

Corinne explained that what we could see was quite unspoiled, she said: “You’re looking at quite an ancient landscape and it wouldn’t have changed that much since the Bronze Age.”

Pointing over towards the coastline, Corinne spoke about how the landscape has slightly changed over the years.

This piece of land is actually brand new and doesn’t belong to anyone as it has only appeared over the last twenty-five years; that’s because of the sand being washed in and building up. The new dunes get washed away and are then re-built back up; so it’s always shifting, but is basically the same as it’s been for thousands of years.”

This is a picture fromon top of a hill. You can see the beach, the sea and a woodland area.

The view of the Bay from above

Hidden Secrets

After a lunch break and water painting session of the landscape, we continued our walks through the woods, over the sand dunes and onto the pebbly beach. It was here where Paul Huckfield, an archaeologist from the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeology Trust, revealed some hidden treasures found on the beach.

Paul said: “We are currently stood on a prehistoric ground surface which was originally a forest. This dates back to the late Mesolithic, early Neolithic age at around 5000-4000 BC. As you can see the remains of the trees around you are still here.”

At a first glance you would assume the trees were drift wood washed ashore, but they were in fact, alder trees almost 7000 years old. Paul explained how the landscape which is currently a sandy beach area would have actually been a woodland area similar to the one we walked through. 

Why were they a secret?

Nobody knew these 7000 year old trees even existed until they were found between 2010- 2012 when the beach lost some of its sand and the trees came to light.

The images shows a beach on a spring day. It is a rocky beach which dates back to the mesolithic era.

Standing on Prehistoric ground surface.

The Saving Treasures; Telling Stories Project is a partnership project between Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales (The FED) and the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales (PAS Cymru) promoting the portable archaeological heritage of Wales through acquiring finds made by the public. The project secured Heritage Lottery Grant funding in October 2014 through the Collecting Cultures programme and runs for five years.

It will help Swansea Museum to acquire and safeguard items of portable heritage with special significance to Swansea Bay for the people of Swansea. It will also enable the museum to work with local communities to engage with and explore these treasures and to find out more about Swansea Bay