English

Standing on what felt like the top of the world and slowly regaining our breaths back, they were soon taken away again when looking at the awe inspiring landscape of Whiteford Sands in Swansea Bay.

Swansea Museum is working on a project called ‘The Lost Treasures of Swansea Bay’, which is funded by the help of the ‘Saving Treasures; Telling Stories’ project. Saving Treasures is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund which is acquiring archaeological objects for local and national collections, providing training for heritage professionals and volunteers and engaging local communities with their pasts.

Last week the museum teamed up with young people from Swansea YMCA, The National Trust and The Glamorgan Gwent Archaeology Trust to hike around Whiteford Sands in the Gower area of Swansea Bay. This walk was intended to give us an understanding of the changing landscape of Swansea Bay since the Bronze Age.

The Landscape

Corinne Benbow is a National Trust Ranger and she led the first half of the walk up a very steep hill in order to get the best viewpoints overlooking the beach and woodland areas.

Corinne explained that what we could see was quite unspoiled, she said: “You’re looking at quite an ancient landscape and it wouldn’t have changed that much since the Bronze Age.”

Pointing over towards the coastline, Corinne spoke about how the landscape has slightly changed over the years.

This piece of land is actually brand new and doesn’t belong to anyone as it has only appeared over the last twenty-five years; that’s because of the sand being washed in and building up. The new dunes get washed away and are then re-built back up; so it’s always shifting, but is basically the same as it’s been for thousands of years.”

Hidden Secrets

After a lunch break and water painting session of the landscape, we continued our walks through the woods, over the sand dunes and onto the pebbly beach. It was here where Paul Huckfield, an archaeologist from the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeology Trust, revealed some hidden treasures found on the beach.

Paul said: “We are currently stood on a prehistoric ground surface which was originally a forest. This dates back to the late Mesolithic, early Neolithic age at around 5000-4000 BC. As you can see the remains of the trees around you are still here.”

At a first glance you would assume the trees were drift wood washed ashore, but they were in fact, alder trees almost 7000 years old. Paul explained how the landscape which is currently a sandy beach area would have actually been a woodland area similar to the one we walked through. 

Why were they a secret?

Nobody knew these 7000 year old trees even existed until they were found between 2010- 2012 when the beach lost some of its sand and the trees came to light.

The Saving Treasures; Telling Stories Project is a partnership project between Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales (The FED) and the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales (PAS Cymru) promoting the portable archaeological heritage of Wales through acquiring finds made by the public. The project secured Heritage Lottery Grant funding in October 2014 through the Collecting Cultures programme and runs for five years.

It will help Swansea Museum to acquire and safeguard items of portable heritage with special significance to Swansea Bay for the people of Swansea. It will also enable the museum to work with local communities to engage with and explore these treasures and to find out more about Swansea Bay

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales and The Saving Treasures; Telling Stories Project have teamed up with the University of South Wales and students on the journalism course.

Working in the Archaeology and Communications departments, using their media and journalistic knowledge, the students will be bringing to life significant archaeological discoveries and telling the stories behind the items and the people who found them. There will be a series of two week work placements from a variety of students.

Here’s what our most recent students had to say about their time working on Saving Treasures; Telling Stories:

Our experience working on Saving Treasures; Telling Stories Project

Coming from a journalism background we were anticipating our placement with the Saving Treasures; Telling Stories project and had a lot of questions of what to expect.

What is Archaeology?

What do Archaeologists do?

And what is the Saving Treasures Project?

On our first day Rhianydd, Mark, Adam and the rest of the team were more than welcoming which is always reassuring when on a work placement. They spent the day showing us some mesmerising objects found during archaeological excavations or by metal detectorists and then teaching us everything we needed to know (which wasn’t easy as there are a lot to remember!) It was fascinating for us to begin to understand objects dating back thousands of years ago and their significance to our lives at present.

Here is where the fun started.

What we did

The rest of our first week we travelled around South Wales to places such as Swansea and Brecon to start recording our interviews about some of the most recently discovered objects.

It was a gloomy and rainy Tuesday but nevertheless we travelled to Brecon to meet with Nigel Blackamore and the team at Brecknock Museum (they even gave us biscuits!) who let us spend the day interviewing in their library.

We interviewed a local metal detectorist as well as a married couple who, over forty years ago, found a dagger in Swansea Bay and have kept it ever since for good luck and as a symbol of their relationship. An earlier blog about the Swansea Bay dagger can be found here.

We also spoke to Nigel about the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the future of museums; as a journalist it’s all about telling stories and getting important information to the public.

Roqib also had the chance of fulfilling a lifetime dream of holding a metal detector. (He was really excited).

Putting our journalism skills to work

On the Wednesday we went to Swansea Museum to meet with Emma Williams and Phil Treseder about Swansea’s involvement with the Saving Treasures Project and what their aims are for the future of Swansea Museum. We also interviewed collector Geoff Archer, who recently found a very rare Bronze Age mould for making axe heads.

To spend the week interviewing people who are so passionate about preserving the archaeology and heritage of South Wales for future generations, in whatever form they can, was an honour and a privilege and certainly put our journalistic interview techniques to the test.

Over the following week we were able to edit the interviews and write our articles with the overlooking expertise of Catrin Taylor and the Communications department; again linking in our journalism skills to help tell the stories of the people and objects.

A thank you from us

We’ve had a wonderful and insightful two weeks and we’ve met some incredible people during this time. The support we’ve received to create the best possible content has been outstanding and we now know what archaeology is, what an archaeologist does and what the Saving Treasures Project is!

We can’t wait to continue to work closely with the Saving Treasures, Telling Stories project and follow its success until 2019. Thank you to everyone who we have met and worked with!

@A_Dickinson_

@MonsurMedia

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!

Cyfle i ennill penwythnos i ddau yn Nhŷ Newydd!
 
Rydyn ni wedi bod yn helpu Llenyddiaeth Cymru i greu hwb twristiaeth newydd yng Nghymru. Fel rhan o deithiau llenyddol newydd, bydd ymwelwyr yn cael eu hannog i ddod i weld gwrthrychau perthnasol yn ein casgliadau. Mae’n portreadau o Dylan Thomas wastad yn boblogaidd!

Fel rhan o’r prosiect, mae Llenyddiaeth Cymru eisiau dysgu am y mathau o wyliau byr a theithiau rydych yn mynd arnynt - a beth sy'n bwysig i chi pan fyddwch yn cael gwyliau yn y DU. I gael cyfle i ennill penwythnos hunanddarpar arbennig i ddau berson am ddwy noson yn Nhŷ Newydd, cwblhewch holiadur byr.

Pob lwc!

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.