Days’ in the life of a volunteer with GGAT 2016 – Gower Landscape Project

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Hi, I’m Fiona and 2016 has been quite a journey for me with GGAT, fascinating, exciting and so fulfilling. I am now able to identify quite a good range of  finds thanks to the expert tutelage of Steve Sell (freelance finds specialist and volunteer) and when I walk on Gower I rarely admire the view, my eyes are scouring the ground to see what I can find!

It all started back in February when  following two ‘base camp’ HER training sessions on how to use aerial photography, Cynefin Tithe maps and LiDAR , plus the practicalities of laying out the field in grids etc, I embarked on my first ever field-walk at Monksland Farm, Scurlage on a bright, chilly day. I found pottery sherds and flint, mostly cores  but some worked and discarded and ‘I was there’ when a trained archaeological eye picked up an amazing  prehistoric tool , a flint scraper… it was so exciting to handle something made and used thousands of years ago!

Since then it has been nonstop with further field walks, a  great Roadshow at the Gower Show where we met many enthused visitors who would love the Trust to ‘dig a little’ in their back yard, a real dig at Cyfartha , quite thrilling as post holes emerged in our trench,  learning about map regression and using the newly acquired skills to plot ancient trackways on Gower, sorting, categorising ,weighing and recording finds and  … so much more. This month myself and two other volunteers are ‘flying solo’ visiting, recording and photographing sites on the Gower which are/ could be of interest as we  follow up some leads obtained at the roadshows. I also took a trip to the National Library as part of my own research to interrogate Tithe maps and other primary sources from the Penrice Estate.

Every time I visit the office I am being taught something new which broadens my knowledge and understanding of archaeology. I love it.Thank you Sarahjayne and Charina for sharing your expertise and enthusing me.

I always wanted to be an archaeologist but never took the leap, thanks to GGAT I am beginning to feel just a little like one. I wonder what the final weeks of 2016 will bring?

This project is supported by Gower Landscape Partnership, which is funded by Heritage Lottery fund, Natural Resources Wales, City and County of Swansea, and National Trust.

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