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Rydym ni wrth ein bodd bod USA Today wedi nodi bod 'Mwydod! Y Da, y drwg ac yr hyll' yn un o'r 'arddangosfeydd gorau yn Ewrop y gaeaf hwn', felly dyma weld beth yw barn ein hymwelwyr am y sioe:

Mae Mwydod! yn arddangosfa i bob aelod o'r teulu, a cewch ymweld â'r sioe am ddim yn Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd. Mae digon o gyfleoedd o wisgo lan, i archwilio a mwynhau - yn ogystal â gweld llwyth o fwydod rhyfeddol.

Mae croeso cynnes i chi ymweld â Mwydod - am ragor o wybodaeth, ewch i'n tudalen ddigwyddiadau. Fe welwn ni chi'n fuan!

Rwy’n gweithio i Ymddiriedolaeth Archaeolegol Gwynedd ym Mangor. Fel rhan o fy ngwaith, rwy’n gweithio fel Swyddog Cyswllt Ymddiriedolaeth i Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) Cymru. Mae’r gwaith yn diddorol ty hwnt, ac yma fyddai’n son ychydig am sut rwy’n gweithio.

Cydweithio

Fyswn i ddim yn gallu gwneud y swydd yma heb cyweithio gyda y bobl sy’n e-bostio, ffonio neu galw i mewn i son am artefactau. Mae’r drawsdoriad o bobl o gwmpas hanner a hanner, gyda rhwydwaith bach o defnyddwyr perianau darganfod metel wedi cymysgu gyda pobol sy’n byw yn lleol a pobl ar ei gwyliau sydd yn darganfod pethau ar hap.

Chwilfrydedd am y artefact sy’n dod a bobl i mi, a ‘Beth yw hyn?’ yw’r cwestiwn rwy’n clywed yn amlaf. Mae’r cymysgedd o artefactau hefyd yn diddorol, mae’n fwy na gyfres o bwyellau Oes Efydd, er fyswn i ddim yn cwyno am newyddion o celc o’r rhain yn dod trwy’r drws!

Ar y llaw arall, fyswn i ddim yn gallu gwneud y gwaith heb y tim yn yr Amgueddfa Genedlaethol. Ni ellir pob archaeolegydd adnabod pob artefact, ac er fy mod i wedi gweithio fel archaeolegydd am ugain mlynedd, bob hyn a hyn rhaid gofyn iddyn i’r tim yr un un cwestiwn mae bobl yn gofyn i mi. Weithiau cadarnhad sydd angen am syniad sydd gen i, ond weithiau rhaid cyfaddau fy mod i ddim wedi gweld y fath beth o blaen.

Cofnodi

Ers i mi gychwyn fel y Swyddog Cyswllt, dwi wedi dysgu cryn dipyn am y gwaith mae’r PAS yn gwneud i cofnodi artefactau ar gyfer y dyfodol. Mae fy sgilliau ffotograffeg wedi gwella o un peth, a mae darllen llyfrau arbenegol, er ei fod yn cymeryd amser, yn helpu adnabod artefactau anarferol. Trwy’r bas data enfawr PAS, gellir cymharu artefactau dros Cymru a Lloegr, a efallau gweld patrymmau yn y gwybodaeth sydd ar gael drwy gwaith trylwyr pawb sy’n cyfranu.

Be’ Nesaf?

Mae pob diwrnod cofnodi yn wahanol, a hyn sydd yn gwneud gwaith i PAS Cymru mor diddorol. Mae pob dydd yn wers archaeoleg, a cawn weld be fydd yn dod mewn i’r swyddfa yn y dyfodol.

The country craft of hedgelaying is being demonstrated at Fagans National History Museum during 2017. Hedgelaying creates a stronger, thicker barrier to keep animals within fields, and provides shelter and shade for them. This year it will be combined with opportunities to try out the craft and the museum provided its first hedge-laying training courses for the public.

Plygu Clawdd, Pen-y-cae, Brecknockshire, c1936

Creating fields and hedges

From the sixteenth century onwards, vast areas of open land were enclosed and turned into fields for agricultural use. Hedges were planted to prevent sheep and cattle from straying, and to separate grassland from crops. Such hedges also provided shelter, a source of food such as berries, and habitat for wildlife and fauna. Hedges were also cheaper than building and maintaining dry-stone walls.

 

The craft of hedge laying

Hedges are maintained by laying. Once the trees had grown to a certain height, they were cut and laid horizontally to form a stock-proof barrier. The cut is not made through the branch in order to allow the tree to re-grow. What is created is effectively a living fence. The work is done during the less busy winter months when there is less foliage and the tree will re-grow.

 

Welsh hedging styles

Methods of laying hedges vary in different parts of Wales. Styles differ according to how the branches are positioned, the use of stakes, and whether binding is used. Hedging is often accompanied by building banks and digging ditches. The hedges being laid this year at St Fagans are in the stake and pleach style from Brecknockshire (Powys).

 

Stages in laying a hedge, stake and pleach style.

Photographs taken in Sennybridge and Cray, Brecknockshire, 1972-73.

 

Llun o frigau wedi'u plygu. Pan fyddant wedi eu torri yn iawn, fe fyddant yn parhau i dyfu.

Llun o wrych yn dangos trawstiau wedi'u plethu

Llun o blygu gwrych

Llun o wrych wedi ei dacluso a'i dorri


 

 

Gareth Beech

Senior Curator: Rural Economy

Historic Properties Section

History and Archaeology Department

Rock collections in the UK are an asset worth millions of pounds. Many exploration companies drill into the Earth’s crust and extract cores for analysis – often at a cost of around £1,000 per meter of core. These provide the basic information before a commercial case for mining or extraction can be made and form part of the companies’ commercial archives.

Museums also look after collections and many hold large numbers of valuable geological samples. A common misconception is that rocks are stable, they do not decay or get eaten by pests. Which is why fossils, minerals and rocks surely must be easy to look after.

But think of minerals found in caves or mines: not just dark, but also cold and damp. Many hydrated minerals occur here, for example melanterite or halotrichite. Take them out of the mine, put them in a museum store where they are protected and well looked after – and they will dehydrate. Lose water molecules, decay, and are lost.

There are many similar examples. Depending on the mineral species they will take up or lose water molecules, recrystallize into something else, react with air pollutants or oxygen. A bewildering range of chemical processes can lead to the destruction of geological specimens. Fossils are affected, too: lovely pyritised ammonites turn to dust. Many specimens of scientific or historic importance can be lost in this way.

Museums do their best to halt the decay but are hampered in their efforts by many questions yet unanswered. What levels of indoor air pollutants are safe for geological collections and how good do our air filtration systems need to be? At what point do museum conservators need to deal with a specimen damaged by chemical reactions? How do we even monitor collections of tens of thousands of specimens for damage routinely?

These and many other related questions will be investigated in a new research project at National Museum Cardiff. A recent pilot study (manuscript in preparation) demonstrated the complexity of potentially damaging processes in a typical museum store that are thought of usually as benign. Further expertise in the form of academic and industrial partners is now sought to develop the potential for addressing elementary questions of appropriate storage of geological collections.

The knowledge generated by this project will be of wide-ranging interest to cultural institutions and industrial companies alike. Scientific specimens and commercial collections will be kept safe with the set of guidelines and standards which the project will develop. We will have the proper tools to enable us to care for our geological heritage appropriately - whether kept in museums or as commercial assets.

Find out more about Care of Collections at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales here.

 

 

Towards the end of last year, staff members from the Amgueddfa Cymru took part in a research ‘Roadshow event’ held at Swansea University.   The event gave a chance to meet academics with shared research interests and discuss potential collaborations between our two institutions, and already the event seems to have nurtured some promising links.

At the event Teresa Darbyshire, our Senior Marine Invertebrate Curator, made contact with Dr. Rich Johnston who is co-director of Swansea University's brand new Advanced Imaging of Materials Centre (AIM), a £9M EPSRC/Welsh Government funded integrated scientific imaging facility for Wales. Following this contact, the opportunity arose for myself, Teresa and Dr. Jana Horak (Head of Mineralogy & Petrology) to visit the centre and see the facilities first hand.

To say we were a little overwhelmed by the centre would be quite an understatement. The centre offers state-of-the-art advanced imaging facilities including including transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Ion beam nanofabrication, X-ray Diffraction (XRD), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS), and micro and nano X-ray computed tomography (microCT). Not to mention a full suite of optical imaging and teaching microscopes.

AIM is primarily focused towards engineering and material science, and you may be wondering why they would be keen to collaborate with the Natural Sciences department here at the Museum. Well, part of their research is looking at the structures of biomaterials to learn how naturally occurring materials are formed, and with over 3 million specimens in our Natural Science collections we offer a huge reference library of material, along with the specialist knowledge of our curatorial staff, right on their doorstep. In return, we can benefit from access to their facilities to help us investigate our collections further for our own research and outreach needs, perhaps helping us to discover new species or identify historic conservation work that may have been undertaken on our specimens.

In fact, we are already utilising their MicroCT scanner to digitise a Whelk shell in order to produce a 3D printed replica in transparent material so that we may see how hermit crabs and a species of marine worm co-habit in these shells.  As you can see below, we’ve already digitally scanned the external of the shell here at the museum, but AIM’s MicroCT Scanner will enable us capture all the internal structures as well. We'll post the results when we get the scan back.

 

 

Whilst there, we also had the chance to visit the Virtual Reality (VR) lab to see how digital models produced by microCT or our own 3D scanning facilities could be developed for outreach and learning in a virtual environment. We had the chance to "visit" a virtual museum and see digitised objects in this environment. Although a little disconcerting to start with, once we got familiar with the VR world it really did offer a unique way to visualise objects that otherwise may not be possible. In the future, this technology really could open up new ways for the public engage with our collections.