Amgueddfa Blog

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

Helo Gyfeillion y Gwanwyn,

Rwy am rannu ambell lun gyda chi. Cofiwch, os gofynnwch i’ch athro neu athrawes yrru lluniau o’ch planhigion i mi, gallaf eu rhannu gydag ysgolion eraill sy’n rhan o’r project! Mae gen i ddiddordeb mawr mewn lluniau sy’n dangos y newid mewn tymhorau – fel blodau’r gwanwyn yng nghanol eira’r gaeaf!

Mae rhywfaint o ddryswch wedi bod ynghylch pryd i gofnodi dyddiad blodeuo ar-lein. Gallwch fonitro taldra eich planhigion bob wythnos a gadael i mi wybod yn yr adran ‘sylwadau’ wrth i chi gofnodi’r tywydd. Ond dim ond wedi i’r planhigyn flodeuo y dylech gofnodi ‘dyddiad blodeuo’ a thaldra’r planhigyn.

Edrychwch ar y llun o Gennin Pedr yn Sain Ffagan. Cafodd y llun ei dynnu ar ddiwrnod oer, felly nid oedd y blodau wedi agor yn llawn. Ond, gallwch weld pa rai sydd wedi blodeuo trwy edrych yn ofalus. Os yw’r holl betalau i’w gweld yn glir yna mae’r planhigyn wedi blodeuo. Cyn blodeuo mae’r petalau yn cael eu gwarchod gan gasyn tynn o enw blagur.

Pan fydd y blodyn wedi aeddfedu, a’r tywydd yn ddigon cynnes, bydd y casyn yn dechrau agor. Gall hyn gymryd ychydig oriau neu rai dyddiau! Efallai y gallwch weld hyn yn digwydd, os wnewch chi wylio’r planhigion yn ofalus iawn! Pan fyddwch yn gallu gweld yr holl betalau a’r casyn wedi disgyn gallwch fesur taldra’r blodau a chofnodi hyn ar y wefan. Wedi i chi wneud hynny bydd y cylch sy'n dangos lle mae eich ysgol ar y map yn newid llyw.

Ydych chi wedi cymharu uchder y blodau yn eich dosbarth? Oes yna wahaniaeth mawr yn uchder y planhigion a pha mor aeddfed ydyn nhw, neu ydyn nhw i gyd yn debyg? Beth am y planhigion sydd wedi’u plannu yn y ddaear? Yw’r rhain yn fwy na’r rhai mewn potiau? Pam hynny tybed? Gallwch ddweud beth ydych chi’n feddwl yn yr adran ‘sylwadau’ wrth i chi gofnodi’r tywydd yr wythnos hon!

Gyrrwch eich straeon a lluniau i’r blog blodau a dilynwch Athro’r Ardd ar Twitter!

Daliwch ati Gyfeillion y Gwanwyn!

Athro’r Ardd

 

Eich sylwadau:

Ysgol Y Traeth: Yn anffodus mae ein thermomedr wedi torri yn gwyntoedd cryfion rydym yn aros am un newydd i gyrraedd.

Ysgol Beulah: Roedd llawer o law dros y penwythnos.

Arkholme CE Primary School: Some of the bulbs have spouted and some have not. We have not had much rain or much warmth either. The average temperature has been 5 degrees and the rain has been 3 ml. L and E.

Professor Plant: Wow Bulb Buddies, thank you for your update. I’m impressed to have the average temperature and rainfall for the week. Keep up the fantastic work!

Steelstown Primary School: Happy New Year, still enjoying the bulb project, lots of little sprouts are coming up now.

Carnforth North Road Primary School: Bulbs have started to grow in pots and in the ground as well.

Inverkip Primary School: The water was frozen on Friday. The bulbs have started to grow.

Carnforth North Road Primary School: Lots of Crocus are growing but not very many daffodils.

Ysgol Bro Pedr: A few buds beginning to show their heads above ground this week - happy days.

Tonyrefail Primary School: Two of our pots have got shoots coming through.

Pembroke Primary School: Approximately half crocus and a few daffodils now showing.

Nant y Moel Primary: Our bulbs have started to grow, we are getting excited.

Henllys CIW: Monday was 26 mm and shoots are starting to come up.

Carnbroe Primary School: Hi Professor Plant on Wednesday the rain was very heavy and the temperature begun to rise. Today it was very frosty and icy. Hopefully our bulbs will begin to grow soon.

Glenluce Primary School: We are building an ark in Glenluce!

Professor Plant: Gosh Glenluce Primary, that sounds exciting! Please share photos of your ark!

Glenluce Primary School: Snow day Friday, great snowball fights!

St Teresa's Primary School: We were closed on Wednesday due to snow.

Biggar Primary School: Due to snow the school was closed and no data was collected for 3 days.

St. Columbkille's Primary School: Heavy snow and school closures meant pupils were unable to get readings for some days.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Very cold week!

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!

Mae’n bleser cyhoeddi lansiad ein rhithdaith gyntaf. Dyma ni’n cydweithio gydag adran Celfyddydau a Diwylliant Google i greu taith rithwir danddaearol yn Big Pit. Mae’r daith bellach yn un o atyniadau byd cyffrous Google Expeditions.

Beth yw Google Expeditions?

I ddilyn y rhithdaith, gallwch chi lawrlwytho app Google Expeditions ar gyfer llechen neu ffôn am ddim  o Google Play neu’r App Store. Gall athrawon arwain taith o’r llechen tra bod y disgyblion yn anturio ar eu ffonau.  Drwy osod y ffôn mewn syllwr gall yr anturwyr weld golygfeydd 360° a delweddau 3D. Bydd y tywysydd yn gweld golygfeydd 360° gyda nodiadau, lleoliadau diddorol, a chwestiynau sy’n hwyluso’r gwaith o ymgorffori’r daith i’r cwricwlwm. I sicrhau eich bod yn mwynhau profiad cyflawn, gwiriwch bod gofynion eich offer yn gymwys.

Beth sydd i’w weld ar rithdaith Big Pit?

Bydd lawrlwytho’r daith rad ac am ddim yn rhoi cyfle i chi fynd ar antur drwy bwll glo Cymreig. Bydd y rhithdaith yn rhoi blas o grwydro danddaear yn Big Pit ac yn agor y drysau i bobl na allai gael mynediad fel arall. Gall dim guro’r profiad go iawn wrth gwrs, a’r ffordd orau i gael blas o’r lofa yw i ymweld â Big Pit.

Canfod y rhithdaith

I ganfod rhithdaith Big Pit chwiliwch am Big Pit ar app Google Expeditions, a lawrlwytho’r daith. Mae’r rhithdaith hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg, a dyma rithdaith Gymraeg gyntaf Google Expeditions.

Mwynhewch y daith a lleisiwch eich barn ar Twitter @BigPitMuseum.

Shwmai! 

Efallai i chi glywed taw 2018 yw Blwyddyn y Môr yng Nghymru, ac i ddathlu byddwn ni'n rhannu straeon rhyfeddol am bobl, llefydd a gwrthrychau sy'n rhan o hanes morol a morwrol Cymru.

Bob wythnos byddwn ni'n rhannu gwybodaeth am ddigwyddiadau, casgliadau ac arddangosfeydd, yn ogystal â chyfleon i bobl o bob cwr o Gymru gyfrannu at Flwyddyn y Môr.

Bydd ein saith amgueddfa genedlaethol yn cymryd rhan. Yn Amgueddfa Genedlaethol y Glannau gallwch chi ganfod straeon am drais a brad yn yr arddangosfa Môr-Ladron; bydd Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdyd yn edrych ar arfordir amrywiol Cymru yn ei horielau hanes natur; ac yn Amgueddfa Wlân Cymru gallwch chi ymweld ag ogof danddaearol wedi'i gweu!

Cadwch lygad ar ein gwefan am straeon o'r môr yn ein blog, dilynwch ni ar twitter @amgueddfaCymru, ac ar facebook/amgueddfacymru i ddysgu rhagor.