Amgueddfa Blog

Hi everyone! Uri here, your cultured dog with a blog. You may have read all about my adventures at National Museum Cardiff. Recently I've accompanied my PA (or Mum, as she likes to be called) to another great museum in the Amgueddfa Cymru family: St Fagans National Museum of History.

This is a special museum with lots of outside spaces, buildings, and even a farm. There were actual sheep there - in a museum! There are lots of interesting sniffs and smells - great for doggy visitors - but I tried hard to stay in work mode.

Mum was a bit surprised on our recent visit when I guided her through the big automatic doors and into a huge, shiny white hall. This was a new and unfamiliar space. Mum explained that St Fagans has undergone lots of changes recently. She has been visiting since a child and has enjoyed watched the museum grow and develop over the years. 

One of the great things about the development is the new programme of activities that we have been able to take part in. We made a ring out of antlers in the new Gweithdy building (well, Mum made the ring while I snoozed under her chair); went behind-the-scenes to see some historic quilts collected especially for humans to handle; and even worked with an artist to make our own version of the Eisteddfod chair.

It’s a big place but I’m slowly getting my bearings and look forward to more  visits to St Fagans soon! 

Hello everyone, my name’s Eirini and I am a student intern in the Archaeology and Numismatics department at NMW, Cardiff. This post is the second in my series of blogs on the numismatics collection at the Museum. Last time I took a look at the collection of Ancient Greek coins and this week I am back to examine the Roman coin collection.

While the Ancient Greeks never set foot in Wales, the Romans invaded in AD 48 so there have been a great deal of Roman coins found and reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Here are a few of my favourites from the collections.

Hoard of silver denarii found in Wick, Vale of Glamorgan (c. AD 165)

The 2 oldest coins date back to the Republic and are both coins of Mark Anthony while the rest date to the Empire. The front side of all of the Empire coins have portraits of an emperor, ranging from Nero (AD 54-68) to Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180).

The most interesting aspect of this coin hoard is the variety of reverse designs on them! There are many coins dating to the reigns of Vespasian (AD 69-79) and Trajan (AD 98-117). These coins predominately feature deities and personifications on their reverse sides. Some examples of the deities featured include Jupiter, Hercules and Mars. One design that sticks out to me is the personification of peace (Pax) holding an olive branch, sceptre and cornucopia (a horn that symbolises abundance). Other personifications include Pietas (duty) and Felicitas (good fortune).

There is an extensive variety of other reverse types on the coins including representations of the emperor and his family, types of military conquest and victories, legionary types, geographical imagery, architecture, animals and propaganda.

I like how varied the imagery is on these Roman coins as later coins found in Sully (c. AD 320), Bridgend (c. AD 310) and Llanbethery (c. AD 350) as well as our modern coins tend to have the same, repeated imagery on their reverse.

Sully Hoard of copper-alloy coins (c. AD 320)

This hoard is one of the largest hoards of Roman coins found in Wales. An incredible 5913 coins were discovered in two locations, 3 metres apart in the South Wales coastal village of Sully.

The latest coins from this collection all have the same reverse design regardless of where they were minted, from London to Rome –they represent an early single currency with a standardised design not found in the earlier hoards.

However, the designs on these coins are more crude and less detailed than the earlier Roman finds.

Hello Bulb Buddies,

Thank you to all schools who have entered their flower data! Remember to make sure the dates entered are correct and that the height has been entered in millimetres! We have had a few flowers reported for April and lots of very short crocus and daffodils!

If you spot that your entries need amending, just re-enter them to the website with a comment to explain that the new entry is to replace a previous one.

I have enjoyed reading the comments that have been sent with the weather and flower data! I’ve attached some of these below.

Last year an interesting question was raised by Stanford in the Vale Primary, who asked whether they needed to enter multiple flower records if the height and flowering date were the same for each? It is still important to enter this flower data, as the number of flowers at a particular height and particular date will impact on the overall averages for the project.

To work out your schools mean flowering height for the crocus and daffodil, add all of your crocus or daffodil heights together and divide by the number of entries for that flower.

If you have one flower at 200mm and one at 350mm the mean would be 275mm. If you have one flower at 200mm and ten flowers at 350mm your mean flower height would be 336mm. This is why it is important that you enter all of your flower records.

Every flower record is important and impacts on the overall results. If your plant hasn’t grown by the end of March, please send in a flower record without a date or height and explain this in the comment section. If your plant has grown but hasn’t produced a flower by the end of March please enter the height without a date and explain this in the comments section.

Keep the questions coming Bulb Buddies! There are resources and activities on the website to help you. Once your plant has flowered, why not draw it and label the different parts of the plant? I would love to see photos of your drawings and will post any that are sent in on my next Blog!

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!

Professor Plant

Great British Mollusca Types Project: A union database for the UK

The GB types project began 2 years ago with 6 mollusc curators from National Museum Cardiff and Natural History Museum, London leading the way. The idea - to find, document and make available online as many mollusc types as possible in 7 Museums around the UK. The project funded by the John Ellerman Foundation (Regional Museums and Galleries Fund) worked with Glasgow Museums, Glasgow Hunterian, World Museum, Liverpool, Newcastle Museums, Leeds Museums, Machester Museum and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum. From October 2016, the process began of visiting the collections at each of the partner museums to locate known and potential mollusc type specimens. The specimens were loaned to National Museum Cardiff or the Natural History Museum for specialist photography, databasing and research. For the first time, data from these nine institutions will be recorded permanently on an internationally accessible online database: https://gbmolluscatypes.ac.uk/

Over 95 potential mollusc types borrowed from LeedsMuseums, mostly from the extensive collection of Sylvanus C. T. Hanley. The collections contain many type figured and cited specimens of international importance.

Over 150 types were borrowed, researched and photographed from McrMuseum, many of these molluscs were named by Melvill and Standen at the end of the 19th Century.

Mollusc types in GMRCNitshill / GlasgowMuseums include 150 year-old types of Thomas Gray and Carl Westerlund. Thanks to Richard Sutcliffe, & former curator Fred Woodward for GB types work in the 1970s-1980s

Hancock, Alder and Angas collections dominate the GNM_Hancock Mollusca collections and the fluid-preserved nudibranchs proved tricky to photograph!

The mollusc collections hunterian are rich in historic material going back to Cook’s voyages, the Duchess of Portland and Laskey. They hold the infamous holotype of Gray’s Strombus listeri and several types of Godwin-Austen.

Over 100 of Col. George Montagu’s shell types were discovered RAMMuseum. These as well as some found NHM_London were presented in the following paper.

Marrat’s Olives and Nassas dominated the mollusc type material World_Museum, easily found thanks to curator Nora McMillan who worked on the collection 1933-2000.

You can see more of the Twitter highlights following this project with the hash tag #GBMolluscaTypes or this Twitter Moment

April 1st 2018 marks the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force, and to coincide with this anniversary I’d like to share with you a remarkable story from the collection. Here at St Fagans, we have a collection of letters and telegrams sent to and from Eli Evans of Cardiff. They relate to the wartime experiences of his son, Arthur Wellesley Rees Evans, and it’s from these correspondence that I have managed to piece together their story.

Arthur Wellesley Rees Evans was born on 18 June 1898 in St Mellons, Cardiff. He lived with his parents – Eli and Laura Evans – at 204 Newport Road, Cardiff and was employed by Mr D. P. Barnett, a ship owner, based at the Baltic Buildings, Cardiff Docks.

In December 1916 Wellesley was accepted for the Officers Training Course, but was medically rejected at Whitehall due to Tuberculosis in both lungs. He was eventually accepted into the British Army and was passed fit for the Royal Flying Corps on 22 August 1917. A week later he was posted to the R.F.C. no 2 Cadet Wing in Winchester, before being transferred to no 25 Training Squadron in Thetford, Norfolk.

On 9 January 1918, Wellesley began his basic flying and fighter training at Old Sarum Training Base in Salisbury and graduated with the 103rd Squadron Royal Air Force on 5 April 1918, four days after the formation of the RAF. He was then transferred to No 1 School of Aerial Navigation and Bomb Dropping in Stonehenge, before leaving for London on 24 September to embark on his journey to France.

Wellesley arrived in Paris on 28 September 1918, and from there transferred to ‘somewhere in France’ where he joined up with the 110th Squadron RAF on 15 October. He took part in his first mission six days later on 21 October when his squadron flew to bomb Cologne, but Wellesley did not return. He and his observer, Lieutenant Thompson, had been shot down.

Eli and Laura Evans received official information from the Air Ministry that their son had been reported missing on 21 October. Eli sent letters and telegrams to the Air Ministry and the International Prisoner's Agency in Geneva requesting news of his son. To their relief, they finally received word that Wellesley was alive and well and being held as a prisoner of war in Limburg, Germany

Luckily for Wellesley his time as a prisoner of war was brief. The armistice signed on 11 November effectively brought the First World War to an end. He’d been a prisoner for less than a month. On 3 December, he left Germany for home via Switzerland and France and finally to Dover on 10 December. On 7 February 1919, Wellesley went to the Air Ministry to be demobilized, and a week later he resumed work with Mr D. P. Barnett in Cardiff Docks. A few months after his son returned from the war, Eli Evans passed away at the age of 52. Perhaps the stress and anxiety suffered by him during those weeks may have contributed to his early death.

After the war Wellesley remained in Cardiff working as a Marketing Officer for the National Coal Board. He married Gladys Gwendolyn Mitchell and they had a daughter. Arthur Wellesley Rees Evans died on the 5 January 1965 aged 66 in Cyncoed, Cardiff. He is buried alongside his wife at St Edeyrns Parish Church in Llanedeyrn, Cardiff.