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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Amlwch Age Well Society, Pembrokeshire Shipwrecks and Ynyslas Rocket Range

Helen Rowe, Royal Commission People’s Collection Officer, conducting a talk to the Age Well Society, Amlwch.

Last week we were pleased to be invited to join Amlwch Age Well History Society as part of our People’s Collection Wales outreach. The society has taken part in many interesting projects in the past and has made a valuable contribution to recording the town’s heritage. Samantha Jones, Community Archaeologist for the Royal Commission, has been helping the Age Well group with the project in Amlwch (a town with a rich mining heritage and vast copper-works) through the umbrella project Metal Links. Helen Rowe, Peoples Collection Wales Officer, travelled to Amlwch to give a talk on the various ways the People’s Collection Wales website can be used to publicise, share and disseminate the fantastic research collated by thriving local history groups such as Amlwch.  Sarahjayne and I were able to shadow this talk, and it was really good to watch the members engaging with the website. It was a success all round, with the members showing a genuine interest and enthusiasm towards the site and uploading their material.

Kimberly Briscoe and Sarahjayne Clements checking phone signal at Granston Church, Pembrokeshire.
Boats at Porthgain, Pembrokeshire.

The rest of the week was just as busy: on Monday we furthered our work with the Royal Commission/Cadw Shipwrecks Project by attending a promising meeting with Pembrokeshire Archives, who seem keen to be involved in researching shipwrecks on the Pembrokeshire coast and are keen to be able to offer their facilities to the local Welsh Baccalaureate students. After such a successful meeting we then undertook a recce of the areas of significance to the Charles Holmes shipwreck along the Aberbach and Abermawr coast. This was in the hope of locating a strong-enough phone signal for the use of a potential augmented reality app, intended for interpretation for coastal walkers. Despite our efforts, phone signals seem limited in this area for such internet- based applications; however it was still good to spend the afternoon investigating the coastline and there are certainly a variety of ways that technology can be used to make interpretation accessible to the public, and we are keen to explore them!
Wartime Observation Post, Ynyslas Dunes, Ceredigion.
The infamous Rocket  Range Test Track Base, Ynyslas, Ceredigion.
On Thursday I took a trip to Ynyslas National Nature Reserve with Medwyn Parry, the Royal Commission’s military specialist, to learn more about the military use of the Rocket Range, in preparation for my forthcoming project there. It was great to see the varied uses and understand the complexity of military strategy at Ynyslas. In the afternoon Sarahjayne and I visited Ysbyty Cynfyn Church (a site linked closely with the Metal Links project) to improve our skills in graveyard recording.

Kimberly Briscoe and Sarahjayne Clements, Community Archaeologists, recording gravestones at the churchyard at Ysbyty Cynfyn.
Finally, to end a week of travelling the length and breadth of Wales, I was able to attend two conferences. On Friday we attended the IFA Community Archaeology Day School in Machynlleth. It was a positive experience to see the variety and scale of community archaeology projects across Wales, and I heard some ‘amateur’ community archaeologists presenting their work and some of their fantastic achievements. It certainly provided some great ideas and interesting viewpoints to consider for our forthcoming projects!

On Saturday I was then able to accompany Toby Driver and Keith Haylock as they disseminated their new research on Grogwynion Hillfort (along with the use of the pXRF gun in archaeological investigations) to the Hillfort Study Group at Oxford University.

By:  Kimberly Briscoe

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