Cymraeg

Looking across Swansea Bay on a chilly spring morning and seeing that the tide was out came with a sigh of relief as this meant we didn’t have to wait an hour or so to get started with our beachcomb.

I joined Swansea Museum on The Mumbles side of the Bay to take part in one of their community projects that aims to engage local communities with their pasts. On this occasion the museum teamed up with the Llanrhidian Women’s Institute and the Gurnos Men’s Community First group to take part in a beachcomb led by archaeologist Paul Huckfield, from the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust.

All wrapped up in extra layers we were ready to begin our trek across the swamp-like beach, luckily most of us received the wellies memo and they were definitely needed.

Beachcombing on Swansea bay with Llanrhidian Women's Institute and the Gurnos Men's Community First group.
Beachcombing on Swansea bay with Llanrhidian Women's Institute and the Gurnos Men's Community First group.

Paul wanted to create a sense of what the landscape would have been like during the Bronze Age and took us to areas on the beach where some of the landscape remained fairly similar and unchanged.

We’re standing on the actual ground surface as it would have been in the Bronze Age. You can see the peat levels just here show what would have been around in the Bronze Age; you can see that this is black in colour from the trees and bits of foliage. So you’re actually standing in the past at around 4,000 years ago.”

Travelling through time across the bay allowed us to think of what life would have been like 4,000 years ago, what is now a beach would have been a woodland and shrubbery area surrounded with fresh water pools.

Paul talks about some of the reason why the landscape changed and during what periods. You can watch the clip HERE:

Bringing us through time to the 19th and 20th century we were then led to some of the remaining shipwrecks found on Swansea Bay. On the Mumbles side of the bay alone we could spot around 14 shipwrecks and vessels. Vessel remains are still on the bay and these would have been used to protect the area from submarine attacks during the Second World War.

Paul said: “The whole beach is covered in metal uprights and wire to stop enemy gliders coming onto the beach.”

Another shipwreck was part of an oyster fleet. We learnt that the bay was a natural resource for oysters and they were a major food source, some dating back to Roman times, however this source was destroyed during the industrial period.

After having a look around the beach and learning how it has changed through time with different inhabitants we were then given clear bags and told to try and find our own items.

We found a variety of items during the beachcomb from ceramics, beer bottles from London, fossils and different types of slate and stone. The items found today along with others from previous beachcombs with Swansea Museum will be kept and made into a mosaic for public viewing in the future.

Beachcombing on Swansea bay with Llanrhidian Women's Institute and the Gurnos Men's Community First group.
Beachcombing on Swansea bay with Llanrhidian Women's Institute and the Gurnos Men's Community First group.
Beachcombing on Swansea bay with Llanrhidian Women's Institute and the Gurnos Men's Community First group.
Beachcombing on Swansea bay with Llanrhidian Women's Institute and the Gurnos Men's Community First group.

 

Swansea Museum are currently working on a project called ‘The Lost Treasures of Swansea Bay’, which is funded by the help of the ‘Saving Treasures; Telling Stories’ project and you can read about the last walk I attended with them HERE. Saving Treasures is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund which is acquiring archaeological objects for local and national collections and providing training for heritage professionals and volunteers.

By Rebecca Ling

I took part in a two week work placement at The National Museum Cardiff to work on a project called Saving Treasures; Telling Stories. I wasn’t too sure what to expect as a journalism student or how working at a museum could help enhance my journalistic skills, but I was ready to explore new ways of researching and writing stories and was pleasantly surprised with just how hands-on the placement was.

Saving Treasures; Telling Stories made me realise how I can help bring history to life through researching around archaeological finds and discovering that every item has a past and story to tell.

Two girls are working on a computer. They are writing a press release.
Our student journalists working on writing press releases during their time working on Saving Treasures; Telling Stories.

The first day was an introduction to the department and a chance for us to find out more about the project itself as well as the role of The Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales to find out how that fits into the Saving Treasures; Telling Stories Project. I was fortunate enough to have a look around, almost a behind the scenes tour, to see some of the interesting finds that weren’t currently on display. I also got to get a close up view as to what was going on the conservation laboratory as I watched the conservators in action!

So where does journalism come into it all?

During my two weeks I conducted phone interviews with curators, archaeologists and metal detectorists before having to transcribe these and write up blogs and articles. We also had the opportunity to film on location at Pontypool Museum and talk to someone whose recent treasure find is now going to be displayed at the museum for the first time. I wrote press releases covering upcoming events and even was invited to attend an oral history interview training course to learn different interview techniques and skills.  

From camera work to interviewing there was never a dull moment and I found myself busy each day.

Our student journalist Rebecca is reporting at Pontypool Museum on their Torfaen Treasure Day.

Interviewing a metal detectorist at Pontypool Museum about their Torfaen Treasure Day.

The placement has inspired me to be more creative with my journalistic skills and to think outside the box, I didn’t know from my first day how I would be able to bring archaeology to life and create current and relevant stories in the public interest.

Overall this experience has made me aware that archaeology evokes important questions that hadn’t crossed my mind before. Items and stories I have worked on during my time at Saving Treasures; Telling Stories make me wonder- Where did this come from? What importance does that piece of history hold? But more interestingly it makes you imagine what life was like during that time period, it's almost as if you are time travelling.

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.