Amgueddfa Cymru

Hafan

On a bright and breezy Saturday morning in September an enthusiastic group of children and adults gathered at the Mumbles in wellies and hi-vis jackets ready for a Big Beachcomb.

The Beachcomb was the first activity of Swansea Museum’s Lost Treasures of Swansea Bay project, which is being funded by the Saving Treasures; Telling Stories project based at Amgueddfa Cymru.

Led by Paul Huckfield of the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust and Mark Lodwick of the Portable Antiquities Scheme Cymru we set out with the retreating tide to see what treasures of Swansea’s past we could find.

Searching

The vast expanse of mud, sand, rocks and shallow pools did not look promising at first. But almost as soon as we had set off Paul was showing us the blackened and glistening remains of a prehistoric forest. Within another hour he had pointed out the sites of seven shipwrecks, old mooring points and other remains of Swansea’s maritime past.

On the surface of the shore we found hundreds of pieces of old pottery, metalwork, animal bones, glassware and pieces of clay pipe. A particularly evocative find was the base of a wine bottle, dating back to the 1600s.

The glass was thick, and so dark that you could only see its muddy green colour by holding it up to the sun. This was a high-status object - once, it would have held a decent vintage rather than plonk.

Collecting

When enough pieces had been collected in carefully labelled bags we laid them out on the slipway and sorted them into categories with the help of Paul and Mark – ceramics, glass and metalware, organic material.

Imagining

We speculated about who the objects had belonged to, when they were made, and how they ended up in Swansea Bay. Some, such as the bottle and some of the pots, were imported items – could they have been among the cargoes of one of the wrecked ships? Had the pipes been smoked by sailors and fishermen with wheezy chests? Were the bones the remains of their dinner?

Our treasures have now been taken back to Swansea Museum where they will be studied by the Young Archaeologists Club and used as inspiration for the Dylan Thomas Centre’s Young Writers Squad.

Look out for the next chapter in their history in a future blog.

This week we managed to combine cleaning floors with a fitness routine and aroma therapy.  Who said housework can't be Fun!


Hannah Glasse, writing in her 18th century books ‘Servant’s Directory ‘ and ‘Housekeeper’s Companion’, advised using green herbs to clean wooden floors.
We couldn't resist having a go and it just happened that the floorboards in our 18th century Kennixton farmhouse required a bit of attention.

Like us today in the conservation team, wetting floors to clean them was considered to be a bad idea in the 18th century. It would introduce damp into the house and excess water could damage furniture and precious soft furnishings and carpets. 
Hannah recommended taking green leaves of Tansy, Lemon balm, Mint and Fennel, all of which we have growing in abundance in the cottage gardens. The herbs are then strewn across the floor and rubbed in with a broom.  The oils are released and nourish the wood, while the moisture activates the dirt, which is then taken up by the leaves.


We left the floor to dry overnight before sweeping up the debris the next day. Hannah then recommends polishing the floor with a dry rubbing brush, which should bring the wood up to a fine brown colour, just like mahogany. 


The herbs would also impart a sweet smell creating a natural air freshener. An added bonus for us is that the herbs Hannah recommended are also natural pest repellents that we normally dry and use throughout the cottages to protect our woollen textiles from moth or carpet beetle attack, so hopefully the lingering aroma will also deter pests from making a home.


It worked! All that Hannah promised came true. Our wooden floors appeared darker and shinier and the smell was amazing, we’ll definitely be doing this again.
 

Helo Cyfeillion y Gwanwyn,

Rwy’n gobeithio bod pawb wedi mwynhau eu gwyliau hanner tymor!

Rwyf isio ddweud diolch mawr i bawb am eich gwaith caled ar y diwrnod plannu. Cafodd 13,829 o fylbiau ei blannu ar draws y wlad! Welais o’r llunia bod pawb wedi cael llawer o hwyl yn helpu!

Mae Cofnodion Tywydd yn cychwyn o 1 Tachwedd. Plîs wnewch yn siŵr bod eich mesurydd glaw ai’ch thermomedr wedi ei chadw mewn lle addas wrth ymyl eich bylbiau, fel medrwch gymryd eich mesurau cyntaf pnawn fory!

Mae’n syniad da i ymarfer cymryd cofnodion tywydd. Fedrwch chi wneud hyn wrth ychwanegu dŵr at y mesurydd glaw a chymryd mewn tro i gofnodi’r mesur. Wedyn, fedrwch gymharu i weld os mae pawb wedi cymryd yr un mesur.

Mae 'na adnoddau dysgu ar y wefan i helpu paratoi am gymryd cofnodion tywydd. Rwyf wedi atodi hyn rhag ofn bod rhai heb ei gweld eto. Mae’r adnodd hyn yn helpu ymateb cwestiynau pwysig fel ‘pam mae mesur tywydd yn bwysig i’n harbrawf o’r effaith mae’r hinsawdd yn cael ar ddyddiad blodeuo bylbiau gwanwyn’!

Defnyddiwch eich siart tywydd i gofnodi'r glaw a’r tymheredd pob ddiwrnod ysgol. Ar ddiwedd yr wythnos, cofnodwch mewn i’r wefan i rannu eich canfyddiadau. Fedrwch hefyd gadael sylwadau a chwestiynau i fi ymateb yn fy blog nesaf!

Dylai ysgolion sef yn cymryd rhan yn brosiectau ychwanegol yr Edina Trust rhannu ei chanlyniadau wythnosol ar wefan Moodle yr Edina Trust hefyd.

Plîs gadewch i mi wybod sut ydych yn wneud. A rhannwch luniau trwy Twitter ac e-bost.

Cadwch ymlaen a'r gwaith called Gyfeillion y Gwanwyn,

Athro’r Ardd

It’s a strange sensation, being guided across a street blindfolded. Time slows. Distance is distorted, directions skewed. You become acutely aware of changes in the surface under your feet; shadows; things unseen brushing past your arm or cheek.

Being the guide is less disorientating but can be just as strange. Knowing that you have complete responsibility for getting someone safely to their destination is unnerving. The street suddenly becomes your enemy. Cracks and kerbs, streetlamps, benches, bins become anxiety-inducing obstacles – and don’t get me started on the cars!

The training was delivered by our friends at Cardiff Institute for the Blind, who have been helping us pilot our audio description tours for blind and visually impaired visitors. We wanted to practice our guiding skills, but also to experience what it’s like to be guided without vision in an unfamiliar environment.

Our trainers, Michelle and Sian, also gave us helpful insight into the day-to-day challenges of living with a visual impairment and the array of tools and technologies that are available to help. We were given a selection of simi-specs, which simulate the symptoms of common eye conditions, and asked to do everyday tasks like read, write and count out coins from a purse.

Sian gave us a valuable account of her experience living with a visual impairment, and the role of the lovely Arnie, not just a guide dog but a lifelong companion and friend.

Everyone agreed that the training was a positive experience on many levels, and although we realise that what we experiences is not directly comparable to the experience of people with sight loss, it felt that we all came away understanding a bit more. And after guiding our colleagues across a city centre street in the rain, the prospect of guiding people around the Museum safely is far less scary!

Our audio description tours run once every other month. For more information and future dates, please call (029) 2057 3240.

Mae'r amser wedi dod i ddatgan pwy sydd wedi ennill ein cystadleuaeth 'sgrifennu creadigol...

Y gamp oedd i 'sgrifennu stori fer wedi ei hysbrydoli gan ein harddangosfa Trysorau: Anturiaethau Archaeolegol. Mi ysbrydolwyd ein hawduron gan fymi Eifftaidd hynafol, yn ogystal â'r gwpan brydferth, Crial Dolgellau. Cewch weld rhain, a mwy, tan 30 Hydref - felly brysiwch! Bachwch eich tocynnau fan hyn.

Llongyfarchiadau mawr i'r ennillwyr - cliciwch ar deitl y stori i'w lawrlwytho a dechre darllen!

Gwobr gyntaf:

The Falcon's Curse, Eleanor Thorne

Ail wobr:

The Chalice of Dolgellau, Theo Singh

Trydydd wobr:

A Mummy at Night, Amy Wintle

Diolch i bawb a anfonodd stori atom ni, neu sydd wedi galw heibio i gymryd rhan yn ein gweithgareddau celf a chrefft. 'Dyn ni wedi mwynhau eich straeon a'ch darluniau yn arw.