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Amgueddfa Cymru

Amazonian fieldwork

Adrian Plant, 27 Mawrth 2015

I’m now in the enigmatic central Amazonian city of Manaus (of World Cup fame) situated where the white waters of the Rio Solimões converge with the inky black Rio Negro to form the Amazon proper. This is my third visit as part of a project in collaboration with my colleague José Albertino Rafael at the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA) and our PhD student Josenir Câmara. Our Project is describing the diversity of a particular group of flies in the Amazon using classical taxonomic approaches and relating it to Global evolutionary and biogeographic patterns using, for example, emerging molecular-genetic methodology. In order to do this we first have had to travel to remote areas of the Amazon, collecting flies to be brought back to the labs in Manaus and Cardiff - where the hard work really starts.

On previous visits we have surveyed remote areas on the Rio Negro close to Venezuela, way up the Solimões along the Colombian and Peruvian borders as well as downstream in Amapa State between the mouth of the great river and French Guiana. During this visit we intend to leave the Brazilian Amazon behind and explore fly diversity in some of the upper reaches of the Amazon Basin in Ecuador. We are all keyed up and excited by the imminent prospect of getting out into the forest again and trying to anticipate some of the discoveries we might make.

Of course, we cannot really know exactly what we are going to find but our past experiences suggest that much of what we discover will be completely new. That is one of the great delights of being an entomologist in the tropics as the diversity of insects is so vast and our knowledge so sparse that exciting discoveries are virtually inevitable. You would have to walk around the Amazon with your eyes and mind closed not to find something totally and often bewilderingly novel!  But for the time being we must contain our excitement as we spend our time sorting the field equipment we will take with us, pouring over maps and satellite imagery and speculating about finds we might make. I can’t wait for our flight to Quito!

Solar eclipse 2015

Jana Horak, 26 Mawrth 2015

The days before Friday 20th March, had staff in the Department of Natural Sciences watching the weather forecast with great attention.  Friday 20th March 2015 was a really special day as we had the opportunity in Cardiff, weather permitting, to see a partial eclipse of the Sun. This does not happen very often, the next one won’t be until 12th August 2026. 

On the Thursday we had a great start to the celebration by hosting an evening of talks on eclipses at the Museum. These were given by Dr Chris North, Dr Rhodri Evans, Dr Mark Hannam, astronomers and physicists from Cardiff University; and we all felt much better informed as to what we knew about the sun, why an eclipse was occurring, and what eclipses tell us about gravity. Equally important was a talk by Jenni Millard, an undergraduate student but experienced astronomer, on how to view the sun safely. Having listened intently the audience were issued with free solar eclipse viewing glasses.

Friday morning and we were in luck, a perfect sunny morning and all that worry about the weather had paid off!  By 8.00 a few people had already arrived outside the Museum, by 8.20 there were many more. At 8.22 we saw the first contact of the eclipse. For a short while the sun was almost obscured by the trees in the Gorsedd Gardens, but not for long. With colleagues from Cardiff University and the Institute of Physics we provided a range of methods to view the eclipse safely. These included a solar telescope that provided the greatest detail of the sun’s surface, pinhole viewers, ranging from boxes and tubes to simple card and paper, solar viewing boxes, colanders and eclipse glasses. Most visitors had noted the warnings about safe eye protection, only a few needed reminding that two pairs of sunglasses wouldn’t do the job!

Over the 126 minutes of the eclipse from first contact of the moon until we saw the entire sun once again, over 1000 people viewed the eclipse on the Museum steps with the viewing glasses provided. In total we estimate that over this period nearly 2000 people joined the event. At one point the queue disappeared round the corner of the Museum into Park Place almost to the University! However this was a great event with a fantastic atmosphere of participation and patient queuing.

For more astronomy linked events please see Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales What’s On pages, next one is on 18th April, and for education resources check out the Museum’s partnership Down2Earth Project web site

For more information on our Eclipse 2015 activities see our Storify Story.

Rwyf newydd gychwyn fy mhedwaredd wythnos fel Prif Guradur Adeialdau Hanesyddol yma yn Sain Ffagan, a dyma fy mlog cyntaf. Archaeoleg yw fy nghefndir, ac yn bennodol, archaeoleg arbrofol.

Mae’r math yma o ymchwil archaeolegol yn arbrofi’r syniadau sydd wedi tyfu fel canlyniad o waith cloddio archaeolegol. Yn y bôn rydym yn trio codi rhywbeth a fyddai yn gadael yr un tystiolaeth a ddarganfyddwyd, os cloddiwyd yn y dyfodol. Mae hwn yn herio ein syniadau a codi mwy o gwestiynau.

Tai Crwn o'r Oes Haearn

Dros y blynyddoedd rwyf wedi adeiladu pedwar tŷ crwn wedi seilio ar archaeoleg cartrefi Oes yr Hearn. Gan bod yr archaeoleg yma yn gallu bod yn fâs iawn (ond rhyw 30cm o drwch), mae pob elfen o ail-greuad uwchben y ddaear wedi’i seilio ar waith dyfalu – ei hun wedi seilio ar y dystioilaeth sydd wedi goroesi. Fel allech ddychmygu, mae gweithio allan strwythur adeilad sydd heb yw weld mewn 2,000 o flynyddoedd yn eitha sialens, ond un boddhaol. Felly, mae gen i bleser mawr i fod yn rhan o gyweithiau arbrofol newydd yr Amgueddfa - ailgreuad o ffermdy o Oes yr Haearn, wedi ei seilio ar dystiolaeth o Fryn Eryr yn Ynys Môn, a neuadd ganoloesol Llys llywelyn, wedi ei seilio ar dystiolaeth o Llys Rhosyr, eto yn Ynys Môn.

Mae tô y ffermdy yn cael ei doi gyda gwellt ar y funud, ag yn fuan mi fydd y tŷ yn ddiddos. Mi fydd hwn yn rhyddhâd mawr gan bod glaw trwn dros y Gaeaf wedi atal y waliau clai, 1.8m o drwch i sychu mor gyflym a gobeithio. Mae waliau o glai yn gymharol anarferol gan taw waliau gwial a dŵb neu cerrig sydd wedi eu darganfod gan amlaf. Hwn fydd yr ail-greuad cyntaf o dŷ crwn o’i fath.

Llys Rhosyr - Llys Canoloesol

Mae waliau y ddau adeilad sydd o’r Llys mor uchel a fy mrest, ac mae’r saer maen yn barod i gychwyn y fframau ffenestri. Fe ddarganfyddwyd y Llys yn Ynys Môn, ac fe’i gloddiwyd rhwng 1992 ag 1996. Mae’r waliau cerrig ond yn sefyll ryw fetr o daldra. Felly, yn yr un modd a’r ffermdy, ail-greuad wedi seilio ar dystiolaeth archaeolegol yw hwn.

Mae hanes ysgrifennedig o’r cyfnod, fel ‘Brut y Tywysogion’ yn awgrymmu fod neuadd frenhinol yma, a fu yn un o Lysoedd Llywelyn ap Iorwerth yn ystod hanner cyntaf y drydedd ganrif ar ddeg. Y peth dydyn ni ddim yn gwybod gyda sicrwydd yw pa olwg oedd ar y neuadd. Mae’r wybodaeth yma wedi ei seilio ar gymhariaethau gyda neuaddau Brenhinol eraill, ag adeialdwyd yn yr un cyfnod, fel a welid yng Nghastell Conwy a Phalas yr Esgob yn Nhŷ Ddewi.

Gan fy mod yn bwriadu ysgrifennu blogiau cyson ynglyn a’r datblygiadau diweddaraf, fe wnaf anelu hefyd I amlinellu y gwaith sydd wedi digwydd hyd yn hyn, felly fydd genych fwy o syniad ô’r adeilad hynod yma, ac ein ymgeision i ddod ar Llys yn fyw unwaith eto.

To gwellt
Rhoi to gwellt spelt ar y tai crwn Oes Haearn - bron â gorffen!
Tai crwn efo to gwellt
Gorffen y gwaith toi ar y tai crwn Oes Haearn
Adeiladu Llys Rhosyr
Gwaith adeiladu Llys Rhosyr yn parhau
Seiri maen yn gweithio ar adeilad carreg
Gwaith ar agoriad y ffenestri, sy'n defnyddio technegau saer maen traddodiadol

@DyddiadurKate - Gwneud Menyn

Mared McAleavey, 25 Mawrth 2015

Yn ei dyddiadur ddoe, nododd Kate ei bod wedi 'Corddi y boreu. Modryb Erwfedig yma yn nol ymenyn.'

Roedd gwaith y llaethdy yn amlwg yn rhan ganolog o’i bywyd, a hithau’n cael ei disgrifio fel “merch ffarmwr gwaith llaethdy” yng Nghyfrifiad 1911. Dwi eisoes wedi disgrifio’n fras y broses o gorddi yn Tyhen, ond beth oedd y camau nesaf er mwyn gwneud menyn? Dyma ddyfynnu Kate unwaith eto yn disgrifio’r prosesau mewn cyfweliad hanes llafar gyda Minwel Tibbott nôl ym 1970. 

Wedi i’r menyn ffurfio, byddai Kate yn “i godi o wyneb y llaeth” gyda llaw a’i roi mewn noe, sef “fel bywlen bren fawr.” ‘Doedd dim yn cael ei wastraffu, ac unai byddai’r llaeth enwyn yn cael ei roi i’r anifeiliaid, neu byddai’r teulu yn “iwsho hwnnw i neud siot a phethe felly te, a gneud glasdwr [sef dŵr a llaeth enwyn] i fynd allan i’w yfed adag g’neud gwair … Fydde llawer iawn yn rhoi blaw’ ceirch hefyd, jesd i sgatro fo ar wyneb y can ‘n te wrth fynd â fo allan i’r cae gwair.”

I drin y menyn, roedd angen ei olchi’n lân mewn dŵr oer, “oedd raid chi ga’l y llaeth i gyd allan ne fysa fo’m yn cadw dim.” Wedi ei olchi, roedd rhaid cael gwared ar yr hylif. Yn y cyfweliad, mae Kate yn disgrifio'r hyn rwy’n ei adnabod fel clapiwr menyn, sef teclyn siâp madarch a ddefnyddid i weithio’r menyn yn y noe i gael y dŵr allan - “sgimer fydde ni’n galw beth o’ gynno ni yn i drin o’n te.”  Byddai Kate “yn gwbod yn syth” pan fo’r menyn yn barod “fydde chi’n sprinclo halen a’no fo a’i gymysgu’ o reit dda, a wedyn i godi o a neud o’n bwysi wedyn.”  Roedd ganddi “glorian i bwyso fo’n te, ‘dyn godi o, hynny o’chi’n feddwl fysa gneud pwys ‘n te a wedyn roi o mewn cwpan fenyn … ‘dyn o’dd o’n dŵad yn grwn … Roi o wedyn ar y slab carreg ‘n te, yna fydda ni’n roi’r print arno fo … Oedd pob ffarm a’i brint i hunan … Weles i ddeilen derwen, o’ hwnnw’n neis a wyddo chi mesen a’n o fo te … Welish i fuwch genno ni hefyd ryw dro … O’dda ni’n werthu o’n lleol i siop yn y pentre y rhan fwya” ac yn cyfnewid y menyn am “neges yn y siop.”

Cyfrifiad 1911 yn disgrifio Kate fel “merch ffarmwr gwaith llaethdy” © Crown Copyright Images, The National Archives.

Cyfrifiad 1911 yn disgrifio Kate fel “merch ffarmwr gwaith llaethdy” © Crown Copyright Images, The National Archives.

Dynes yn gafael mewn teclyn pren siâp madarch ac yn clapio menyn

Mrs Rachel Davies, Castellnewydd Emlyn yn clapio menyn.

Print menyn gyda patrwm dail derwen a mês

Print menyn o’r casgliad, gyda patrwm dail derwen a mês wedi ei gerfio arno.

Print menyn gyda buwch wedi ei gerfio arno.

Print menyn o’r casgliad, gyda buwch wedi ei gerfio arno.

I Spy…Nature out and about

Katie Mortimer-Jones, 24 Mawrth 2015

Last year Staff from the Departments of Natural Sciences, and Learning, Participation and Interpretation took their I Spy…Nature themed pop-up museum out into the community. This year we have been delivering I Spy…Nature related workshops throughout March as part of the I Spy…Nature Exhibition outreach programme. Workshops at National Museum Cardiff allowed members of the public to carry out fieldwork within the museum, bringing the outside in! Visitors were able to explore the miniature world of British Slugs and Snails, go pond dipping, explore a rocky shore (utilising our brand new portable 3D Rocky shore) and go worm charming with our OPAL Community Science officer. During the middle part of March, staff ran a series of school workshops both at National Museum Cardiff and within a local primary school, where pupils could explore the seafloor, Fossils and Minerals before trying their hand at scientific illustration with a local artist.  The aim of these sessions was to inspire children to explore their natural environment and also to give them a chance to experience the work that museum scientists do. For British Science and Engineering Week, staff held an I Spy…Nature Open day in the main Hall at National Museum Cardiff, with a plethora of specimens from our collections and even a giant lobster, fly and squirrel!

 For more information on the I Spy…Nature activities see our Storify Story.