Amgueddfa Blog: Casgliadau ac Ymchwil

Beth mae 'Cymru a'r Môr' yn ei olygu i mi?

Yn syml iawn, mae'n rhan fawr o bwy ydw i!

Ar ochr fy nhad, rwy'n nai, ŵyr, gor-nai, gor-ŵyr a gor-or-ŵyr i forwyr o bentref Aberporth yng Ngheredigion. Chwaraeodd pob un ei ran yn y cyfraniad anferth, anghymesur bron a wnaed gan forwyr Cymru at lynges fasnachol Prydain dros ddwy ganrif o 1750 i 1950.

Cododd pob un bron yn Gapten (Master Mariner) a dros y canrifoedd dyma nhw'n capteinio llongau o bob maint - o'r cychod bychain fyddai'n cario glo mân a chalchfaen i'r pentref yn y 19eg Ganrif, i'r cludydd mwyaf dan y lluman coch ddiwedd y 1960au.

Mae un o’m cyndeidiau yn gorwedd yn ddwfn dan ddyfroedd oer Newfoundland, lle bu farw wedi i'w long daro mynydd ia. Claddwyd un yn y fynwent Brydeinig yn Chacarita, Buenos Aires lle bu farw tra'n capteinio tramp yn cludo glo o Gaerdydd i bweru rheilffyrdd a lladd-dai yr Ariannin. Roedd yn rhaid i un arall ddelio â llofruddiaeth ar ei long wedi i ddadl rhwng y criw am ddyled gamblo fynd dros ben llestri.

Ond nid hanes anturiaethau morwyr yn unig yw hon.

Ar ddechrau'r 20fed ganrif, gyda hyd at hanner dynion y pentref wedi mynd i'r môr roedd cymuned Aberporth a nifer o bentrefi tebyg yn gymuned fatriarchaidd. Cymuned lle magai menywod cryf eu teuluoedd eu hunain tra'n hiraethu am eu hanwyliaid am gyfnodau maith. Mae'n anodd amgyffred y boen a'r gofid a brofwyd ar nosweithiau stormus dirifedi â milltiroedd maith rhyngddynt â'u cariadon.

Ond roedd manteision i fod yn wraig i gapten hefyd! Os oedd llong y gŵr yn cyrraedd porthladd Prydeinig, neu borthladd cyfagos ar y cyfandir, byddai'r wraig yn aml yn teithio i'w gyfarfod. Yn ogystal â chwmni cariadus, byddai cyfle hefyd i weld ffasiwn ddiweddaraf Caerdydd, Newcastle a Glasgow - neu Antwerp a Hamburg hyd yn oed! Byddai gwraig capten llong yn aml yn ennyn yr un parch ar y tir mawr ag y byddai ei gŵr ar y môr. Feiddiai neb alw fy hen fam-gu yn ddim ond Mrs. Capten Jenkins!

Er gwaethaf y llinach hwn, drwy siawns gyrfa cefais fy magu filltiroedd o'r môr ym Meirionydd. Dim ond dros wyliau ysgol fydden ni'n cael cyfle i ymweld ag Aberporth a mwynhau pysgota mecryll a gosod cewyll cimwch. Meirionydd yw cartref teuluol fy mam, ac mae ei theulu wedi bod yn ffermio yng ngogledd yr hen sir honno ers oes Elisabeth I o leiaf.

Bychan fyddai dylanwad y môr ar eu bywydau bob dydd meddech chi. Ond ganol y 1880au bu'n rhaid iddynt adael eu cartref, Tŷ Ucha' ym mhentref Llanwddyn, pan godwyd argae ar afon Efyrnwy i ddarparu dŵr ar gyfer Lerpwl oedd ar anterth ei llwyddiant fel un o borthladdoedd blaenaf Prydain. Ymestynna dylanwad y môr ymhell tu hwnt i'r arfordir, felly cofiwch bod y digwyddiad eleni yn perthyn i Gymru gyfan, ac nid ein cymunedau glan môr yn unig.

 

Rydyn ni'n barod ar gyfer tymor wyna arall yn Sain Ffagan ac rydyn ni'n gwybod eich bod chi'n edrych ymlaen at y #sgrinwyna.  Felly, rydyn ni wedi casglu atebion i rai o'r cwestiynau mwyaf cyffredin a gododd dros y tair blynedd diwethaf. Cofiwch y canlynol pan fydd pethau'n poethi yn y sied wyna:

Oes unrhyw un yn gofalu am y defaid?

Mae tîm bychan a diwyd yn gofalu am y sgrinwyna. Pan fydd pethau'n prysuro bydd staff profiadol wrth law ddydd a nos.  

Yw'r defaid mewn poen? 

Ydyn - mae nhw'n rhoi genedigaeth, a gall esgor fod yn broses hir a phoenus! 

Rydw i wedi bod yn gwylio dafad mewn trafferthion - pam nad oes neb yn mynd i'w helpu hi?

Mae defaid yn anifeiliaid nerfus sydd ddim yn ymlacio o gwmpas pobl. Eu greddf yw rhedeg i ffwrdd (fel y gwelwch chi pan fydd aelodau'r tîm yn mynd i mewn). Mae rhedeg o gwmpas y sied yn rhoi straen ar y defaid ac yn arafu'r enedigaeth. Mae'r bugeiliaid yn gwylio'n dawel o bell ac yn ymyrryd cyn lleied â phosibl. Mae sied dawel, ddigynnwrf yn golygu genedigaeth gynt i bawb.

Ond mae hi wedi bod mewn trafferthion ers oes a does neb wedi'i helpu hi!

Yn ogystal â'r sied ar y camera, mae siediau meithrin ar gyfer y defaid a'r wyn. Bydd y tîm yn asesu anghenion y praidd i gyd ac yn blaenoriaethu'r defaid gwannaf. Bydd oen sâl sydd angen cael ei fwydo drwy diwb yn cael blaenoriaeth dros ddafad sy'n esgor. Cofiwch, efallai bod aelod staff yn gwylio gerllaw ond ddim ar y sgrin.

Pam ydych chi'n gadael iddo barhau mor hir?

Rhaid gadael y broses esgor tan bod ceg y groth wedi lledu digon i'r oen gael ei eni. Gall hyn bara 30 munud, neu sawl awr. Yn aml, y rhai sy'n gwneud y mwyaf o ffys yw'r defaid blwydd sy'n rhoi genedigaeth am y tro cyntaf. Y defaid yma sy'n gorfod gweithio galetaf i agor ceg y groth. Genedigaeth caesarian fyddai'r dewis olaf un, ac nid yw'r rhagolygon ar gyfer y ddafad yn dda iawn. Mae esgoriad hir yn ddewis llawer gwell bob tro - sori ferched!

Mae dafad yn y sied yn sgrechian mewn poen...

Mae defaid fel arfer yn hollol dawel wrth roi genedigaeth (yn wahanol i amser bwydo!). Bydd anifeiliaid gwyllt yn rhoi genedigaeth mor dawel â phosib er mwyn osgoi denu sylw ysglyfaethwyr ar foment mor fregus. Pan fydd dafad gyda'i llygaid led y pen, yn taflu ei phen yn ôl ac yn dangos ei gweflau, mae'n arwydd o gryfder y cyfangiadau. Mae hyn yn beth da ac yn golygu ei bod hi yn ymroi ac y bydd hi'n rhoi genedigaeth yn fuan.

Rydw i newydd weld y bugail yn rhoi pigiad i'r ddafad - pigiad o beth?

Gall pigiad calsiwm gyflymu'r broses os yw dafad wedi bod yn esgor am amser hir ond nad yw ceg y groth yn agor yn rhwydd.

Pam fyddan nhw weithiau'n siglo'r oen gerfydd ei draed?

Mae'n hanfodol bod yr oen yn dechrau anadlu ar ei ben ei hun yn syth wedi cael ei eni. Weithiau mae'r gwddf a'r trwyn yn llawn hylif. Weithiau bydd y bugail yn gwthio gwelltyn i drwyn yr oen i'w helpu i beswch neu disian. Os na fydd hyn yn gweithio byddan nhw weithiau'n siglo'r oen gerfydd ei goesau ôl. Mae'n olygfa ddramatig, ond dyma'r dull gorau o glirio'r hylif. Mae grym allgyrchol yn helpu'r oen i beswch yr hylif allan.

Beth mae nhw'n ei wneud wrth roi eu dwylo y tu fewn i'r ddafad?

Darllenwch y blog yma o 2016 am esboniad llawn o beth sy'n digwydd.

....... quite literally in some cases!

Last week saw us head up to Berwick-upon-Tweed to sample for species of marine bristle worms, the shovelhead worms (Annelida: Magelonidae). The aim was to collect enough of these burrowing animals from under the muddy sand at low tide that we could contribute to our collections and additionally place some in our laboratory tank for live observations.

After closely examining one species of shovelhead worm at the museum (Magelona alleni) for the majority of the first seven months of my professional training year (PTY) from Cardiff University, and successfully finding out some exciting new behavioural traits (in press), I find myself wanting to expand not only my own knowledge, but becoming eager to contribute more to our overall understanding of these fascinating and somewhat enigmatic creatures. The more science we uncover, the more well known these species, who perhaps do not receive the same attention as some of the bigger vertebrates, become. I see this as a crucial factor to raise awareness for a preservation of the natural world in our future.

With this mantra circling around my head, my enthusiasm was bursting as we drove to the beach on our first day of sampling. Low tide was just before 8am, meaning leaving our cottage, full gear in tow, at around 6.30am. No problems, I thought. I’m ready for that chilly Northern January air. Bring. It. on. Assembled with so many layers that we lost count, we clambered out of the car ready to get onto the beach, undeterred by the eerie super moon and snow battering our windscreen as we drove to our destination that morning. We were looking for two species of Magelona in particular, Magelona johnstoni and Magelona mirabilis, known to occur in abundance in this location, where George Johnston first describer of the the latter species lived and collected worms (you can learn more about the fascinating life of George Johnston and what he accomplished at these sites: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Johnston_(naturalist), http://www.raysociety.org.uk/userfiles/File/Johnston%20essay.pdf).

Our first dig looked promising, revealing many of the now familiar milky white, almost stringy, teeny tiny strands of magelonids. As we gently prised them out of the sand and put them into test tubes, by using seawater to gently wash the surrounding sand away in our hands, it occurred to me my hands were starting to go a little bit numb in the icy water. I thought I obviously wasn’t quite as seasoned at this as Kate, my museum mentor. Luckily we had hand warmers at the ready to dive our hands into after each dig. However, as we dug more and more both of us felt our hands turn to popsicles, and let me tell you, anyone who has ever tried to get a worm that is only a few millimeters in length into a test tube does not want popsicle hands. Over the next few hours our feet slowly turned into matching ice cubes, until we had to call it a day. Luckily for us, we had the same scenario to play out all over again the next morning.

 What I haven’t mentioned yet is that despite the somewhat crisp weather, we saw some of the most breathtaking sunrises, with only the odd oystercatcher and redshank to accompany us. Along with this, we were further rewarded by the pure amount of magelonids present in such small spaces, meaning our collection was plentiful and we could take the animals back to our make-shift laboratory at our accommodation for identification, which is when you really start to see what the fuss is about with these worms. The stringy white appearance you see from afar turns into an elegant, ethereal-like animal under the microscope, with complex morphological features. Perhaps, most notably, long, flowing palps that arise near to the animal’s mouth. The number we collected means observations in the laboratory can now be started for new research. George Johnston’s description of the abundance of the animals here sure hasn’t changed much in well over 100 years. Ultimately, the moral of the story is that sometimes, the more changeling the environment, the more recompense. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll be worm hunting in the Artic!

Catch up with some other tails of a PTY student

Swansea has a whole host of treasures just lying within its midst, from the Red Lady of Paviland to the 4200 year old flint dagger that formed the basis for Saving Treasures; Telling Stories first Community Archaeology project, ‘The Lost Treasures of Swansea Bay’. With the rip roaring tides, miles of beaches and hidden caves waiting to be discovered, you’d expect the sea (for which the city is named) to occasionally stir up something significant; but what about an unassuming Welsh livestock farm? Doesn’t sound like the setting for a major archaeological discovery, does it? Suprisingly, that’s exactly where local man, Geoff Archer, picked up one half of a Middle Bronze Age copper-alloy palstave axe mould dating somewhere between 1400-1200 BC.

It was over two decades ago when Geoff first picked up a metal detector, having first taken it up as a hobby after he got married. But it wasn’t until he retired last year that he was able to really get out into the field, and armed with a pair of wellies and a brand spanking new detector, he decided to venture to one of his old jaunts – a farm not far from his home.

“Over the last few nights I’d been thinking about going to the farm and something was telling me to go to the right hand side of it, just to walk the fields,” he explains, “so that’s what I did.” After traipsing around in the mud for a few hours, Geoff stumbled upon a patch of uneven terrace he couldn’t help but investigate.

Unearthing History

“I got to the lumpy, bumpy parts, had a couple of signals – nothing much.” But then Geoff had another signal, “a cracking signal” and realised it was time to dig around in the dirt to find out what it was. Figuring it would just be another case of random odds and sods, or a coke bottle lid (they find an abundance of litter!) he was surprised to hear a clunk.

“I hit this bloomin’ great big stone, so I dug around it, lifted up a clod of earth” and underneath yet another stone he noticed something interesting inside the muddy cave, something not made of rock. “What the heck’s that?” he thought, picking up the oddity with care. 

“I pulled it out and on the back end of the mould there’s, like, ribs.” This prompted Geoff to recall a discovery he made about 15 years ago, when he wasn’t so rehearsed in Bronze Age metalwork.

“Going back, must be about 15 years ago, I found an item - I didn’t know what it was. I wasn’t experienced enough then. So this item, I took it home and I put it in the garage, as most detectorists do!” He had a feeling it was important but wasn’t sure why.

After a few years of picking the item up off his work bench and trying to decipher its meaning, Geoff decided to take it up to the kitchen and do some research. “So I started buying books to research Roman, believe it or not, alright? So, I bought this book and I was looking through it. I got to the part for the Stone Age, read that. Then I got to the Bronze Age, and I turned a couple of pages and there was the item I’d found! Bronze Age Axe Head. My jaw just dropped, right? And the Bronze Age Axe Head had ribs on the outside.”

Devastatingly, Geoff has misplaced the axe head, which he is now, more than ever, desperate to locate – and even more upsetting still, it’s the same type of axe as the mould he discovered 15 years later would have been built to make. “It’s what they call a loop, I think it’s got two loops on this one, each side, where they used to put, if you can imagine, the Bronze Age axe head. It’s flat, but this part at the back, its round and they put it over the wood and then they loop it, they tie it onto the wood to secure it.”

Monumental findings

When Geoff uncovered the mould, he immediately realised its importance thanks to his previous finding – but he still wasn’t entirely certain of what it was he’d discovered. “On the inside of the mould, there’s like a round piece, like in the middle part. I honestly thought at that time that it was a bit off a tractor, because it was so… the engineering of it, the precision engineering of it! But in the back of my mind I was thinking it can’t be off a tractor because it’s got these ribs at the back from this Bronze Age axe that I found.”

After digging out some modelling clay and experimenting, he came to the realisation that what he’d found was an axe head mould. Geoff phoned up one of his buddies at Swansea Metal Detectorist Club for a second opinion and after a positive diagnosis by them both, he took it along to a club meeting.

“As it so happened, it was our ‘Find of the Month’ meeting!” Geoff explains. “So I won find of the month for the artefact and Steve, our Finds Liaison Officer, said ‘you’d better show this to someone in Cardiff because they are going to be interested.’ So, photographs were sent to Cardiff [National Museum of Wales] and they wanted to see it. I went with Steve to Cardiff and the mould’s been there ever since!”

Mark Lodwick, the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) Cymru Co-Ordinator at The National Museum of Wales in Cardiff confirmed Geoff’s identification and has recorded the item so it can be used in further research and study.

Under the Treasure Act, the mould isn’t classed as ‘treasure’, so why is it so special? “It’s the only one that’s been found in South West Wales,” Geoff enthuses, “and it’s the second one that’s been found in Wales. The other one was found in a hoard of axes in Bangor in the 1950’s, so this is the first one that’s been found since then!”

Preserving the past

Geoff is in utter disbelief that he was the one to stumble across the important artefact, which has been conserved at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, but, eventually he’d like it to end up back home at Swansea Museum.

Having reported the axe mould to the museum, Geoff sees this as an important part of his role as a treasure hunter. Letting other people view the item, he says, “gives other people a chance to understand about their locality, of what’s been going on.”

“I think it opens up a new chapter in [Swansea’s history]. There’s a bit of history regarding the Bronze Age but to find something like an axe making product in Swansea, which has never been found before - it opens up a new chapter of where these people were living and how far were they living on the fields of that farm,” explains Geoff. “That’s my quest now I suppose, is to try and find out – keep walking the fields and I might find the other half, I don’t know.”

With hopes of the axe mould ending up in Swansea Museum, Geoff is keen that people will be interested in viewing his remarkable find. “The more publicity it gets the better!” he says. “The more people who know about this the better as far as I am concerned, because it’s the first one to be found in South West Wales and the second one to ever be found in Wales – so don’t tell me that’s not important.”

To discover more about Swansea’s Bronze Age history and see some fascinating Neolithic archaeological artefacts visit Swansea Museum, entry is free!

Words: Alice Pattillo

Dangosodd ddarganfyddiad y deinosor Cymreig, Dracoraptor, bod deinosoriaid yn byw yn ne Cymru 200 miliwn o flynyddoedd yn ôl. Petaech chi'n teithio 'nôl i'r cyfnod hwnnw, fe fyddech chi hefyd wedi gweld ambell i famal bychan, tebyg i lygoden goch, yn cuddio yn y tyfiant. Rhain yw rhai o'r mamaliaid cynharaf yn y byd.

 

Gellir darganfod esgyrn a dannedd y creaduriaid bach blewog yma mewn ogofau a mewn craciau mewn cerrig - efallai am fod rhain yn cynnig lloches, neu le i aeafgysgu. Darganfyddwyd y ffosilau cyntaf ohonynt mewn chwarel yn ne Cymru rhyw saith deg mlynedd yn ôl. Mae Palaeontologwyr wedi bod yn dadansoddi'r ffosilau, er mwyn creu darlun fwy cyflawn o sut greaduriaid oedden nhw. Enw un o'r mamaliaid cynnar yma yw 'Morganucodon', sy'n golygu 'Dant Morgannwg'.

 

Mewn prosiect ymchwil newydd wedi'i gefnogi gan Y Cyngor Ymchwil Amgylcheddol, defnyddiodd wyddonwyr o Brifysgol Bryste belydr-X pwerus i sganio'r esgyrn bychain, i greu darlun digidol o'r creaduriaid. Cymharwyd y darluniau digidol yma gyda mamaliaid modern, er mwyn ail-greu strwythr cyhyrau'r anifail. Ychwanegwyd rheiny i'r darlun digidol. Wedi hynny, defnyddiwyd rhaglen arbennig i asesu sut y byddai'r esgyrn a'r cyhyrau'n symud. Astudiwyd dannedd y creaduriaid mewn manylder - roedd rhai mamamliaid cynnar yn meddu ar ddannedd ddigon cryf i grensio pryfaid gyda casys adennydd, ac eraill ond yn medru bwyta pryfaid meddal.

 

Mae model hyfryd o Morganucodon, wedi'i greu can Bob Nicholls, y palaeoartist, i'w ganfod yn ein orielau hanes natur yn Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd. Mae'n edrych fel creadur bywiog iawn a'i enw yw Morgie!