This year’s Open Day had the usual mix of stands manned by local heritage and conservation groups, children’s activities, and living history. We held it on the second Saturday of National Archaeology Week, rather than on the first Saturday as we have in the past, so that the popular group of medieval archers and their families from Margam, Meibion y Ddraig (Sons of the Dragon) could attend. Fortunately the day was mostly fine although there were a few sharp showers, one of which put paid to frying at the Roman cookery demonstration when raindrops started spitting in the pan!
Besides prehistoric pottery making, cave painting, and dressing up in costumes provided by Swansea Museum and Meibion y Ddraig, the children’s activities included a chance for them to try their hand at real archaeological techniques under expert supervision. A specially constructed excavation was available for them to dig up, record and interpret, and real Roman pottery, tile and bone was on hand from the Church Hill site for them to wash. Another innovation in the children’s activities was a feedback form which was designed to make them and their parents aware of the different activities on offer, and will also allow us to assess their popularity by age group. Forms were given out and collected by a volunteer in medieval costume, who was also able to point visitors in the direction of the various stands and activities.
The HER was there for visitors to consult, as were our finds experts. Also represented were members of Swansea Metal Detecting Club, the Oystermouth Historical Association, Friends of Oystermouth Castle, the Neath-Tennant Canal, Gower AONB, the Gower Society, West Glamorgan Family History Group, West Glamorgan Archive Service, and South-west Wales Industrial Archaeology Society.