Rhiannon Piggon, a Welsh-speaking History undergraduate at Swansea University, recently joined Wessex Archaeology's Community Engagement team for a week at the Welsh language Eisteddfod yr Urdd event in Denbigh. Here, Rhiannon tells us how she found her week interpreting archaeological mysteries at this popular event

Fel myfyrwraig Cymraeg ym Mhrifysgol Abertawe, cyfeiriodd fy nhiwtor at Wessex Archaeology gan eu bod yn chwilio am siaradwr Cymraeg i ymuno â nhw yn Eisteddfod yr Urdd yn Ninbych. Rwy’n fyfyrwraig Hanes yn fy ail flwyddyn a fy mhrif gymhellion i wirfoddoli oedd fy niddordeb mewn archeoleg, wedi’i ysgogi gan fy astudiaethau, a hefyd i gael mwy o amrywiaeth o brofiadau gwaith tra yn y brifysgol.

Beth Harrison, Community Engagement Co-ordinator, at Eisteddfod yr Urdd 2022 Demonstrating ancient use of animal skins at Eisteddfod yr Urdd Lowri Roberts, STEM Ambassador, at Eisteddfod yr Urdd 2022

Above: Lowri Roberts, Marine Archaeologist and STEM Ambassador, at Eisteddfod yr Urdd 2022

I ddechrau roedd peidio gwybod llawer am archeoleg yn fy ngwneud ychydig yn nerfus. Fodd bynnag, ar ôl gwrando ar weddill y tîm Cymunedol ac Ymgysylltu yn siarad am yr arteffactau a gofyn cwestiynau fy hun, buan iawn y teimlais yn ddigon hyderus i gymryd rhan. Fe wnes i ddod i arfer yn gyflym â siarad â'r plant a rhyngweithio â nhw, ennyn eu diddordeb a gwneud iddyn nhw feddwl am yr arteffactau a'r hyn y gallant nhw ei ddangos am y gorffennol. Yn ogystal â’r eitemau unigol megis esgyrn anifeiliaid o’r oes haearn, roedd gweithgaredd amgylcheddol a roddodd gyfle i’r plant ‘gloddio’ a darganfod arteffactau eu hunain.

Environmental Archaeology at Eisteddfod yr Urdd Can you guess what this is? Community engagement at Eisteddfod yr Urdd

Above: Community engagement at the GwyddonLe STEM tent at Eisteddfod yr Urdd

Mwynheais i fynd i'r Steddfod eto; fel plentyn roedd fy ysgol yn cystadlu bob blwyddyn a chofiais gymaint o hwyl a gawsom yn ymweld â'r gwahanol stondinau (rhai yn well nag eraill!) rhwng y cystadlaethau. Felly i mi, uchafbwynt y digwyddiad hwn oedd cydnabod plant a oedd wedi bod ar y stondin yn dychwelyd gyda'u rhieni a'u ffrindiau, gan ddweud wrthyn nhw am yr arteffactau yn gyffrous. Roeddwn yn gwybod bryd hynny eu bod wedi mwynhau ein stondin ac roedd hyn yn ei gwneud yn werth chweil i mi. Yr arteffact mwyaf poblogaidd (a fy ffefryn) oedd y dant mamoth enfawr a oedd yn cael ei ddangos, a oedd yn rhyfeddu'r plant, gan ddrysu mai dant sengl ydoedd!

Beth Harrison, Community Engagement Coordinator, at Eisteddfod yr Urdd 2022 Community engagement at Eisteddfod yr Urdd 2022 Esiteddfod yr Urdd 2022 mascot

Above: The Eisteddfod yr Urdd mascot, Mr. Urdd

As a Welsh speaking student at Swansea University, my tutor referred me to Wessex Archaeology as they were looking for a Welsh speaker to join them at the Eisteddfod yr Urdd in Denbigh. I’m a second year History student and my main motivations to volunteer were my interest in archaeology, sparked by my studies, and to gain a variety of work experiences while at university.

Lowri Roberts at Eisteddfod yr Urdd 2022 Wessex Archaeology Loan boxes at Eisteddfod yr Urdd 2022 Examining artefacts at Eisteddfod yr Urdd 2022

Above: Examining artefacts at Eisteddfod yr Urdd 2022

Not knowing much about archaeology made me a little nervous. However, after listening to the rest of the Community Engagement team talk about the artefacts and asking questions myself, I soon felt confident enough to get involved. I quickly got used to talking to the children and interacting with them, getting them interested and making them think about the artefacts and what they could show us about the past. As well as the individual items such as Iron Age animal bones, there was an environmental activity which gave the children an opportunity to ‘dig’ and discover artefacts themselves.  

Eisteddford yr Urdd mascot backpacks Eisteddfor yr Urdd mascot in front of Wessex Archaeology loan box Beth Harrison, Community Engagement Coordinator, with Eisteddfod yr Urdd mascot

Above: Beth Harrison, Community Engagement Coordinator, at Eisteddfod yr Urdd

I enjoyed going to the Eisteddfod again; as a child my school entered every year and I remembered how much fun we had visiting the different stands (some better than others!) in between the competitions. So for me, the highlight of this event was recognising children who had been to the stand returning with their parents and friends, excitedly telling them about the artefacts. I knew then that they’d enjoyed our stand and this made it worthwhile for me. The most popular artefact (and my personal favorite) was the huge mammoth tooth on show which amazed the children, baffled that it was a single tooth!

By Rhiannon Piggon, Swansea University History undergraduate