Tuesday 13 March 2018

Andrew on Access to Archaeology

I'm Andrew and I volunteered for the Access to Archaeology programme in June 2017.  I had previously met Charina and Calli, the Historic Environment Record Officers, whilst working in their office mapping footpaths across Gower, aiding the Old Trackways part of the Gower Landscape Project, so I knew of their patience, kindness and tolerance previously.  I had no previous experience of archaeology apart from rambles during my childhood over the round barrows and war defences on Mynydd Margam, and searches for the Bodvoc Stone; and later on family holidays in France finding menhir, walking through the Carnac stones and in Greece discovering beehive tombs and Byzantine chapels.

As a retiree getting to grips with the software was a slow-ish process but with assistance from both Charina or Calli plus the (constant!) use of a printed guide, I soon found that converting the contents of paper reports into digital format soon became a pleasurable task. It was reassuring to know that my input was being quality-assured by the HER Officers.

I am pleased to have assisted in the conversion of the paper archaeology reports into digital format. Seeing the digital versions of the reports online using Archwilio is amazing, as so much archaeological knowledge from Wales' history is instantly available.  The Access to Archaeology project has opened up access to archaeological sites in Wales from any period of history for everyone.
I also learnt from the environment of the HER Office, from a layperson's view, a little of how modern archaeology works, and of the structure and planning that go into looking after the heritage of this part of Wales.

I feel very lucky to live in Wales and be able to access the work of the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust and to have the resources of Archwilio and Coflein so freely available online.  In my view the Access to Archaeology project has been an immense success. 

Thanks to everyone at the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust for making my stay so pleasant and memorable.

Thursday 16 March 2017

Mynediad at archaeoleg a fy nghloddiad archaeolegol gyntaf!/Access to interesting data and my first ever archaeological dig!

Pwy oedd yn gwybod y gallai cofnodi data fod mor ddiddorol. Don i ddim yn gwybod beth yn union i'w ddisgwyl. Wi’n meddwl ron i’n disgwyl teipio mewn llawer o rifau mewn i lawer o flychau bach er mwyn i rywun gasglu’r data yn rhywle. Ar ôl sesiwn gynefino defnyddiol ac yn llawn gwybodaeth dysgais fod hi’n llawer mwy diddorol na hynny.  Mae’r staff yn rhoi rhif benodol i fi ffeindio adroddiad archeolegol  yn yr archifau, wi’n ei ddarllen trwyddo, dod o hyd i'r ardal ar map digidol CAH, ysgrifennu crynodeb o'r wybodaeth berthnasol, ychwanegu manylion o ddarganfyddiadau, cyfeirnodau grid, cysylltiadau i ddigwyddiadau eraill, llyfryddiaeth/au  a llawer mwy. Roedd yn hawdd i ddysgu'r proses hefyd, oherwydd aeth Calli a Charina drwyddo gam wrth gam gyda fi, gan ddechrau gyda chofnodion haws ac wedyn adeiladu i fyny’n raddol i rai mwy cymhleth. Mwynheiais shwt gymaint gofynnais i barhau ar ôl i fi orffen y grŵp cyntaf o sesiynau ac wi'n dal yma bron i chwe mis yn ddiweddarach. 

Does dim cymwysterau mewn hanes neu archeoleg gen i ond dwi eiseos wedi ymddiddori yn y ddau ac hefyd ron i eisiau gwella fy sgiliau TG. Dwi wedi dysgu shwt gymaint am yr hanes a’r archaeoleg De Cymru a gall yn awr yn ychwanegu fy sgiliau TG newydd ar fy CV. Dwi'n gwirfoddoli ar gyfer fy nghloddiad archeolegol cyntaf erioed ar ddiwedd y mis hwn ac yn edrych ymlaen yn fawr at hynny!


Who knew data entry could be so interesting. I really didn’t know exactly what to expect, I think I expected to be typing in lots of numbers into lots of little boxes so someone could collate the data somewhere. I had a very helpful and informative induction session and discovered that it was going to be far more interesting than that.  I’m given a number for an archaeological report to find in the archives, I read it through, find the area on the HER digital map, write a summary of the relevant information, add details of finds, grid locations, links to other events, bibliography/ies and much more. It was easy to learn the process too, because Calli and Charina took me through it step by step, beginning with easier entries and gradually building up to more complex ones. I enjoyed it so much I asked to continue after my first group of sessions finished and I’m still here almost six months later. All of the GGAT staff are really welcoming, friendly and helpful; one of the best places I’ve ever worked. 

I have no qualifications in history or archaeology but have always been interested in both and I wanted to improve my IT skills.  I’ve learned so much about the history and archaeology of South Wales and can now add my updated IT skills on my CV. I’m volunteering for my first ever archaeological dig at the end of this month and really looking forward to that!