Amgueddfa Blog

As palaeontology curators, we have the privilege of working with the Museum’s vast fossil collections.  From trilobites to tree ferns, ammonites to mammoths, corals to dinosaurs, they are individually fascinating and beautiful.  Collectively, they are the evidence that allows us to chronicle life on Earth going back over 500 million years.  When faced with such prehistoric riches on a daily basis, it is easy to take fossils for granted.  In reality, each and every fossil in the Museum is one of the lucky ones.  Most of the countless animals and plants that have ever lived on this planet did not become fossils.  Many things can happen to prevent something becoming a fossil – it can be eaten, torn apart by scavengers, rotted away or cooked by the Earth’s hot core.  Fossilization is a rare event, which requires the chance coming together of a series of circumstances and conditions.  When you realise this, you cannot look at a fossil without feeling wonder and awe that it exists at all.

In the Palaeontology section of the Natural Sciences Department we decided to develop an activity which would allow people to explore how and when fossilization happens.  With the support of a Geological Society grant, we produced a board game called ‘Fossilization Frenzy’, which we launched at our ‘Biology and Geology Rock!’ event, held to celebrate Earth Science Week and National Biology Week in October 2016.  The game invites people to choose one of four animals that lived in the Jurassic seas, around 200 million years ago, and the aim is to see if their animal can become fossilized and end up on display in the Museum. 

Visit our Learning resource page to download the Fossilization Frenzy game

Given the unlikelihood of fossilization, there are many trials and tribulations along the way, and the chances of winning are not as high as with most board games.  There were also valuable lessons to be learnt in choosing your animal wisely – if you choose the insubstantial jellyfish, then the odds are going to be stacked against you.  We found that the game generated a healthy level of competition between classmates and family members of all ages, and many participants played several times until they succeeded in making it into that coveted fossil display case. 

Following the enthusiastic response to the game from family groups at the ‘Biology and Geology Rock!’ event, we delivered it to school groups at the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival in May 2017, as part of the Palaeontological Association’s outreach programme.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that ‘Fossilization Frenzy!’ was as well received by teenagers on Secondary Schools Day as it was by younger children on Primary Schools Day.  There were many more enthusiastic players across the weekend when the festival was open to the public, including several adults unaccompanied by children.  Clearly the desire to become immortalised in stone crosses age and generational boundaries!  The game has since been successfully delivered to primary school groups and general public at the Yorkshire Fossil Festival in Scarborough (September 2017).  It was also trialled by our Learning team at the Association of Science Educators Conference, and the Welsh language version was used as part of our outreach work on the Jurassic Earth Timescale Project in North Wales (October 2017).

After receiving several requests for the board game from teachers we have now available for download as a pdf file.  The game is available in Welsh language, English language and bilingual versions.  Follow this link to find out more about the learning aims of the game and to access the downloadable pdfs.

Play Fossilization Frenzy now

Lucy McCobb, Caroline Buttler, Trevor Bailey and Cindy Howells

A selection of emotive, thought-provoking images from the period of the First World War has been added to the National Museum Wales Commercial Picture Library and Museum Wales Prints service.

In 2014, National Museum Cardiff held an exhibition, The Great War: Britain’s Efforts and Ideals, which displayed a complete series of 66 lithographs of artistic propaganda prints commissioned by the Bureau of Propaganda (later renamed the Ministry of Information) in 1917. 

The aim of the series was to encourage a war-weary public and to raise support for the war effort. The lithographs were published under the two titles ‘Efforts’ and ‘Ideals’ and contain work contributed by 18 artists including Frank Brangwyn, Muirhead Bone, George Clausen and A. S. Hartrick.

Under the ‘Efforts’ section, nine of the artists were commissioned to produce six works under a heading, including Making Guns, Women’s Work and Wounded. Within the ‘Ideals’ portfolio, the 12 artists illustrated the ambitions and aims of the war. The artists were given subjects to work within and each of the images had to pass censorship regulations.  

Each image shows people going about their daily lives during the war. Like so many others, they were ordinary people living in extraordinary times, selflessly sacrificing for others and all of us today.

To read more about this collection, please open the following link by Rhodri Viney, Digital Content Assistant at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales:

Blog by Rhodri Viney

To reflect upon the centenary of the end of the First World War, National Museum Cardiff is holding an exhibition entitled Poppies for Remembrance. This exhibition will explore how the poppy became the symbol for remembrance, provide an opportunity for contemplation and reflection on loss and recovery, as well as look at the science of poppy biodiversity, the many species of poppies worldwide and the threats to their existence.  The exhibition will run from 21 July 2018 to 3 March 2019. Details below:

Poppies for Remembrance Exhibition

 

Commercial Picture Library

Museum Wales Prints

Bydd Amgueddfa Cymru yn dyfarnu tystysgrifau Gwyddonwyr Gwych i ysgolion o ar draws y DU, i gydnabod eu cyfraniad i'r Ymchwiliad Bylbiau’r Gwanwyn i Ysgolion.

Llongyfarchiadau anferth i bob un o’r ysgolion!

Diolch i bob un o’r 4,830 disgybl a helpodd eleni! Diolch am weithio mor galed yn plannu, arsylwi a chofnodi, rydych yn wir yn Wyddonwyr Gwych! Bydd pob un ohonoch yn derbyn tystysgrif a phensel Gwyddonydd Gwych.

Diolch yn fawr i Ymddiriedolaeth Edina am eu nawdd ac am helpu i wireddu’r prosiect.

Ysgolion fydd yn derbyn tystysgrifau:

Bydd pob un yn derbyn tystysgrifau a phensiliau Gwyddonwyr Gwych.

Cydnabyddiaeth arbennig:

I dderbyn tystysgrifau, pensiliau a hadau.

Clod uchel:

I dderbyn tystysgrifau, pensiliau ac amrywiaeth o hadau.

Yn ail:

I dderbyn tystysgrifau, pensiliau, amrywiaeth hadau a taleb rhodd.

Enillwyr 2018:

I dderbyn tystysgrifau, pensiliau, hadau a gwobr i'r dosbarth!

 

Hi everyone! Uri here, your cultured dog with a blog. You may have read all about my adventures at National Museum Cardiff. Recently I've accompanied my PA (or Mum, as she likes to be called) to another great museum in the Amgueddfa Cymru family: St Fagans National Museum of History.

This is a special museum with lots of outside spaces, buildings, and even a farm. There were actual sheep there - in a museum! There are lots of interesting sniffs and smells - great for doggy visitors - but I tried hard to stay in work mode.

Mum was a bit surprised on our recent visit when I guided her through the big automatic doors and into a huge, shiny white hall. This was a new and unfamiliar space. Mum explained that St Fagans has undergone lots of changes recently. She has been visiting since a child and has enjoyed watched the museum grow and develop over the years. 

One of the great things about the development is the new programme of activities that we have been able to take part in. We made a ring out of antlers in the new Gweithdy building (well, Mum made the ring while I snoozed under her chair); went behind-the-scenes to see some historic quilts collected especially for humans to handle; and even worked with an artist to make our own version of the Eisteddfod chair.

It’s a big place but I’m slowly getting my bearings and look forward to more  visits to St Fagans soon! 

Hello everyone, my name’s Eirini and I am a student intern in the Archaeology and Numismatics department at NMW, Cardiff. This post is the second in my series of blogs on the numismatics collection at the Museum. Last time I took a look at the collection of Ancient Greek coins and this week I am back to examine the Roman coin collection.

While the Ancient Greeks never set foot in Wales, the Romans invaded in AD 48 so there have been a great deal of Roman coins found and reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Here are a few of my favourites from the collections.

Hoard of silver denarii found in Wick, Vale of Glamorgan (c. AD 165)

The 2 oldest coins date back to the Republic and are both coins of Mark Anthony while the rest date to the Empire. The front side of all of the Empire coins have portraits of an emperor, ranging from Nero (AD 54-68) to Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180).

The most interesting aspect of this coin hoard is the variety of reverse designs on them! There are many coins dating to the reigns of Vespasian (AD 69-79) and Trajan (AD 98-117). These coins predominately feature deities and personifications on their reverse sides. Some examples of the deities featured include Jupiter, Hercules and Mars. One design that sticks out to me is the personification of peace (Pax) holding an olive branch, sceptre and cornucopia (a horn that symbolises abundance). Other personifications include Pietas (duty) and Felicitas (good fortune).

There is an extensive variety of other reverse types on the coins including representations of the emperor and his family, types of military conquest and victories, legionary types, geographical imagery, architecture, animals and propaganda.

I like how varied the imagery is on these Roman coins as later coins found in Sully (c. AD 320), Bridgend (c. AD 310) and Llanbethery (c. AD 350) as well as our modern coins tend to have the same, repeated imagery on their reverse.

Sully Hoard of copper-alloy coins (c. AD 320)

This hoard is one of the largest hoards of Roman coins found in Wales. An incredible 5913 coins were discovered in two locations, 3 metres apart in the South Wales coastal village of Sully.

The latest coins from this collection all have the same reverse design regardless of where they were minted, from London to Rome –they represent an early single currency with a standardised design not found in the earlier hoards.

However, the designs on these coins are more crude and less detailed than the earlier Roman finds.