Amgueddfa Blog

This year the Cardiff Naturalists’ Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary. You can read about the history of the Society, and its close links with the National Museum here and here.

 

Right from the outset the Society amassed its own Library focusing on natural history, geology, the physical sciences, and archaeology.

 

Many of the publications in the Library were received as exchanges with societies and institutions around the world. They would send out copies of their Transactions, and then receive copies of those organisations’ publications in return. Some of the institutions and societies they were exchanging with included; the Edinburgh Botanical Society; the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences; the South West Africa Scientific Society; the Polish Academy of Science; the Royal Society of Tasmania; the Sociedad Geographia de Lima; and the Kagoshima University in Japan.

 

A number of the publications in the Library were later bound by William Lewis, a bookseller and stationer based in Duke Street in Cardiff. They all have beautiful marbled covers, endpapers, and a matching marbling pattern on the edges of the text block. Each one also has a bookplate with an embossed image of the Society logo, they are incredibly beautiful examples of bookbinding.

 

Not all the items in the Library were received on exchange, a great many were also the result of donations, especially by members. A lovely example is a copy of a second edition of An illustrated manual of British birds by Howard Saunders from 1899. Many of the pages contain annotations relating to whether the previous owner had encountered that particular species in the local area, such as spotting the nest of a pair of mistle-thrushes in Penylan in 1900. Unfortunately the signature of ownership is somewhat illegible, so it’s not possible to make out their name, all that we can tell is that they lived in Richmond Road in 1900.

 

There is also a copy of Claudia and Pudens, a book by John Williams published in 1848. The book was presented to the Society by C. H. James Esq. of Merthyr, and in it is attached a letter to T. H. Thomas (a prominent member of the Society) dated 1892. The letter discusses Roman remains in Cardiff, and advises Thomas not to get drawn in to the ‘Claudia myth’, a popular theory suggesting a Claudia mentioned in the New Testament was a British princess. The author of the letter is quite scathing about the claims, calling them “a ridiculous fabrication”.

 

In 1996 a copy of Castell Coch by Robert Drane, a founding member of the Society was donated to the Library. It was published in 1857, and is now quite rare, as according to John Ward (former curator at the Cardiff Museum, and the National Museum), Drane subsequently destroyed as many copies of this book as possible! The copy donated to the Society contains annotations throughout, correcting or commenting on the contents, and a listing of all the people the author presented with copies.

 

In 1925 the Society decided to place its Library in the Museum Library, with the following stipulations;

•              To the ownership of the Society’s Library remaining with the Society

•              To all accessions to the Society’s Library being entered in the Society’s register

•              To all accessions to the Society’s Library being stamped with the Society’s stamp

•              That members of the Society may enjoy the same privileges as at present in the matter of the volumes and periodicals belonging to the Society

•              That this proposal does not refer to the “Transactions”, offprints, and other publications of the Society

 

Later in 1927 they decided to make it a permanent deposit, provided the Museum agreed to the additional stipulations;

●     That members of the Society may enjoy the same privileges as at present in the matter of the volumes and periodicals belonging to the Society, and which may be received in the future in exchange for publications of the Society

●     The Museum will bear the cost of all binding, which shall be undertaken as and when, in the opinion of the Museum Council finances permit. There shall be no differentiation, in this respect, between the Museum Library and the Society’s Library.

 

Although the Society’s Library had been in the care of the Museum Librarian since that time, the Honorary Librarian had always been a member of the Society. But, from 1964 the Honorary Librarian was both a member of the Society and a member of staff in the Museum Library.

 

List of Honorary Librarians

R.W. Atkinson          1892-1902

P. Rhys Griffiths       1902-1906

E.T.B. Reece             1907-1911

H.M. Hallett               1911-1948

H.N. Savory               1949-1962

G.T. Jefferson           1962-1964

E.H. Edwards            1964-1970

E.C. Bridgeman        1970-1976

W.J. Jones                1976-1985

J.R. Kenyon              1985-2013

Mae adran ffotograffiaeth Amgueddfa Cymru yn gofalu am ddelweddau pob un o’r saith amgueddfa wahanol. Yn achos yr adran Archaeoleg, mae hyn hefyd yn golygu tynnu ffotograffau o wrthrychau a sganio ffotograffau hanesyddol (e.e. printiau a sleidiau).

Isod mae esiampl o’r ddwy dechneg.

Caer Rufeinig Segontium, Caernarfon

Mae’r ffotograffau yma o’r 1920au yn dangos gwaith cloddio dan arweiniad Syr Mortimer Wheeler, Ceidwad Archeoleg Amgueddfa Cymru ar y pryd, a’r Cyfarwyddwr yn ddiweddarach. Cawsant eu sganio  o blatiau gwydr, a dyma flas o’r casgliad o 102 o ddelweddau:

Seler yn adeilad y pencadlys (praetorium)

Adeilad y pencadlys (praetorium) yn ystod gwaith cloddio yn y 1920au

Syr Mortimer Wheeler (chwith) yn arwain pwysigion o amgylch y safle, gan gynnwys y Fonesig Lloyd George (blaen ar y dde)

Gall y ffotograffau fod o werth i archaeolegwyr modern sy’n dehongli’r safle, ond yn bersonol rwy’n mwynhau cael cip ar gysgod y ffotograffydd a’i dripod (pwy sydd heb wneud y camgymeriad yna?) a hetiau gwych y cyfnod!

Gall ffotograffiaeth fodern fod o gymorth hefyd. Tynnwyd y ffotograffau isod yn ddiweddar o wrthrychau a ddadorchuddiwyd yn y gwaith cloddio yn y 1920au.

Costrel a gynhyrchwyd yn Swydd Rydychen, ond a ganfuwyd yn Segontium.
Caiff ei harddangos yn orielau newydd Sain Ffagan Amgueddfa Werin Cymru.

Byddai duwies rhyfel yn gwarchod unigolyn mewn cyfyngder os byddai’n cysegri allor iddi. Canfuwyd yr allor hwn yn ystafell ddiogel adeilad y pencadlys.  Arni mae’r arysgrif: I’r dduwies Minerva. Aurelius Sabinianus, actarius, a gyflawnodd ei addewid yn barod ac yn deilwng.

Cedwir y delweddau mewn archif ddigidol fel eu bod ar gael ar gyfer arddangosfeydd, cyhoeddiadau, cyflwyniadau a’r wefan.

 

Bydd rhai canfyddiadau o Segontium yn cael eu dangos yn orielau newydd Sain Ffagan Amgueddfa Werin Cymru fydd yn agor yn 2018.

Dilynwch y ddolen hon i weld rhagor o ffotograffau hanesyddol.

Dysgwch ragor am Gaer Rufeinig Segontium ar wefan Amgueddfa Cymru neu ar wefan Cadw.

Gyda chefnogaeth y People’s Postcode Lottery rydyn ni’n gweithio’n galed i roi ein casgliad ar-lein er mwyn i chi fedru chwilio’n bas data a chanfod gwybodaeth a delweddau o’r casgliadau eich hun.

People's Postcode Lottery Logo

Vibrant discussions are a usual part of the Saving Treasures project and the Amgueddfa Cymru archaeology department.

But I’m not sure we’ve ever had one about a spoon before.

In 2015, a Medieval silver spoon was brought into National Museum Wales; it was found while metal-detecting around Pembroke and can be dated to about the 15th century. The spoon has a rough engraved cross on the underside of the bowl and is in two pieces.

The handle, or stem, has been bent and twisted round, while the bowl has been folded in half and then in half again.

The question bugging us is: why?

Why deform this spoon so greatly?

The deliberate destruction and deformation of objects is not unknown in the Medieval period, though presently we can’t find any parallels for this object.

Many silver coins were, however, damaged for various reasons.

Folding a coin in half, for instance, had a ritualistic function; it was often performed as part of a vow to a saint to cure an affliction or ailment. The coin would then be taken and placed at a shrine. However, Portable Antiquities Scheme data shows that many appear to have been lost or buried in seemingly random locations.

So, we wondered, could the spoon have served a similar function?

Medieval silver spoons were often considered intimate possessions that were carried around much of the time. Dr. Mark Redknap at Amgueddfa Cymru has suggested the engraved cross may represent an ecclesiastical ownership mark. The deliberate destruction of a personal item may have held some significance to the owner, much as a prized possession would today.

Another explanation is that this represents material intended for the crucible, to be remelted and recast into another object. The breaking and recycling of objects is well-known since the Bronze Age. Viking hacksilver involved silver objects chopped and broken either for recasting purposes or as a form of currency, exchanging fragments based on weight.

Fragments of silver spoons are in fact known from hacksilver hoards from Gaulcross, Scotland, and Coleraine, Northern Ireland.

Of course, the Pembroke spoon was buried nearly a 1000 years later than the hacksilver hoards so it cannot strictly be compared. Nonetheless, it is reasonable to think the spoon was broken, folded and twisted into small, compact pieces that would fit more comfortably within a crucible.

We might not find many broken spoons because they were remelted into other objects. The weight of the spoon would comfortably produce other common Medieval objects, such as finger rings, mounts, and pendants.

We will probably never know the reason behind the destruction of this spoon. But it’s always nice to speculate.

 

Notes and Acknowledgements

The spoon was recently declared Treasure following the Treasure Act 1996 and will be acquired by Milford Haven Museum through the Saving Treasures: Telling Stories project. The full record for the object can be found here: https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/860650

My sincere thanks must go to everyone who engaged with our call for ideas on what this object represents on Twitter. In particular, I’d like to thank Sue Brunning for directing my attention to the hacksilver hoards mentioned in-text.

A wonderful new book has been created by  Picture to Share.  This dementia-friendly book is the first of this type that has been produced bilingually in both Welsh and English. 


Pictures to Share teamed up with Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, The National Library of Wales, Alzheimers Society, and the Welsh Poet Laureate to produce Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, a beautifully illustrated book to help carers communicate with people living with dementia.  Pictures to Share have produced many books on this theme but this is the first to focus upon the Welsh language, in order to help people living with dementia whose first language is Welsh.

This was an opportunity to highlight the importance of the work we do to help people living with dementia as well as highlight our collections and showcase our commercial Picture Library.  The images used within the book, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, portray many things which people in Wales can relate to, prompting discussion.

Dementia is a subject which many of our staff are passionate about, with many of the staff undertaking training to become a Dementia Friend in order to help enhance the visitor experience of people living with dementia.

After communicating with the editor Michelle Forster, we supplied the images and license to use them in order to comply with copyrights laws.  We have to issue a license to anyone who wishes to use our images. Pictures to Share invited us to Cardiff Library for their book launch in November 2016 to see the completed book, which was attended by staff from our Image Licensing, Photography and Translation departments.  We were all very impressed with the end product which is now available at our shop at National Museum Cardiff and our on-line shop.

If you would like to use our images within a publication, please contact us at Image Licensing.
You can also purchase images for your home from our on-line shop.


Thank you to Cardiff Council for permission to use images from the book launch.

Eleni, am y tro cyntaf, fe fachon ni ar y cyfle i gymryd rhan mewn pedwar gweithdy Gwyddoniaeth o dan ofal Grace Todd. Ond, yn gyntaf, fe ddewision ni wneud y daith hunan-arweiniol o gwmpas yr amgueddfa gan ddefnyddio’r llyfryn lawrlwythog.

Mae dau grwp bach Blwyddyn 7 anghenion addysgu ychwanegol lawr wedi mynychu’r amgueddfa o ddau safle Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni. Roedd y daith gychwynnol yn llwyddiant llwyr gyda chynnwys a gofynion y llyfryn yn addas iawn at oed a gallu’r plant gyda chymorth cynorthwyydd a finnau. Roedd y daith yn rhoi cyflwyniad i’r plant o beth sydd yn yr amgueddfa ond hefyd cyfle i astudio addasiadau a chynefinoedd yn ogystal ag esblygiad trwy edrych ar adran y deinosoriaid. Ymateb y plant wrth fynd i mewn i’r adeilad am y tro cyntaf oedd ‘Waw!! Mae’n awsym!’.

Roedd y broses o fwcio’r gweithdai yn hwylus iawn trwy ebost (gydag Alun) ac wedyn bant â ni gyda’r pedwar gweithdy: Darganfod!, Ditectif y Deinosoriaid, Penglogau, Dannedd ac Esgyrn, a Bwystfilod Bac. Roedd modd wrth wneud y gweithdai  yma, dynnu sawl peth astudiwyd eisoes yn yr ysgol i mewn e.e. y corff, Mathemateg (trwy wneud cymesuredd ac ati). Beth o’n i’n hoffi fwyaf oedd y ffaith bod y plant yn gallu ymdrîn ag artiffactau ac eitemau casgliadau go iawn. Yn y gweithdy terfynol, roedd y plant yn cael ymchwilio cannoedd o eitemau, eu trin, eu pwyso, eu mesur, eu disgrifio…ac wedyn, roedd pob un yn dewis un er mwyn creu arddangosfa dosbarth. Profiad mor werthfawr ac addysgiadol. Yn ogystal â’r sgiliau gwyddonol oedd Grace yn eu hyrwyddo, roedd cyfle i’r plant ddatblygu sgiliau cyfathrebu trwy drafod gyda’i gilydd a chyflwyno o flaen pawb. 

Felly, diolch Grace ac Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Cymru. 😊

(Rydyn ni hefyd wedi gwneud y gweithdy Celf gyda Catrin ac roedd hyn yn fuddiol iawn. Wedi lawrlwytho adnoddau eraill o’r wefan ar gyfer lleoliadau eraill e.e. Pwll Mawr a Sain Ffagan.)


Sut i Archebu