If you have read any of the recent blog posts about the Saving Treasures; Telling Stories Project, or the Lost Treasures of Swansea Bay Project and its various exciting activities, you will know that Saving Treasures works with metal detector groups and local museums in Wales to widen access to, and understanding of, the material heritage of Wales.
What is material heritage?
Material heritage is the physical remains of the past, the objects left behind by past societies. Often, these are brought to light by members of the public, mainly metal detectorists, who report their significant finds to their local Finds Liaison Officer in order that they can be recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database.
Taken together, these objects – especially when they are made available to the public in museum collections – help to build up a picture of how we used to live and who we used to be.
Why is it important?
The Saving Treasures; Telling Stories Project recognises that interaction with the history of your local area through the objects past communities left behind can be a powerful and enriching experience.
For those who are interested in the past, having access to the actual things that long-dead people used, wore and handled can bring us into contact with them much more directly than a history book ever could.
Every object has a story to tell
The discovery of a lost mourning ring or a hoard of Bronze Age axes tells us something about the people who used such objects and raises questions about how they came to be in the ground. Were they lost, discarded, or put there deliberately? And if so, why?
Thinking about these questions allows us to empathise with our forebears, understand something of their hopes, fears and concerns, and walk a little way in their shoes.