Cardiff A-Z: N is for the National Museum, Cardiff

Katie Hamer continues her A-Z exploration of the highlights of Cardiff with an excursion of discovery to the National Museum, Cardiff. Here’s what she discovered.

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I decided to go on a journey to explore the Evolution of Wales through the millennia, and where better to do this than at the National Museum, Cardiff?

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Right at the heart of Cardiff’s beating civic centre, I experienced a permanent exhibition of fascinating artefacts, which took me from pre-pre-historic times right up to the present day. I found it breathtaking to discover just how much Wales has evolved. Although today the country has a relatively wet but stable climate, its history reveals an entirely different story.

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My journey started 4.6 billion years before the Common Era. I ventured past giant screens where molten lava boiled and flowed, before cooling to form solid rock. I heard explanations for how meteors from space formed minerals here on Earth. I stood amazed in front of displays, which revealed that Wales at one point had a tropical climate with coral reefs around its shores. It appears that the country has had a very tumultuous time in the past, and we cannot take for granted that our current stable climate will last. Indeed, we take it for granted at our own peril.

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By visiting this vast exhibition I gained a great understanding of how modern day Wales came to be. I saw fossils of shells and plants, minerals such as gold, iron ore and coal. I discovered that the black gold, which led to the nineteenth century population explosion of the city, originated from fossilized peat deposits. I also witnessed dragonflies as big as buzzards, came face to face with dinosaur skeletons and even a life-sized Woolly Mammoth with cub, if that’s the correct word!

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I discovered that the Wales we know and love today didn’t actually begin to take shape until after the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago. At this point the glaciers retreated, and flora and fauna flourished. But it wasn’t for another 4,000 years that farmland for grazing herds of sheep and cattle were claimed from the woodlands, which resulted in the first permanent settlements being established. Farming communities, where families lived in wooden huts became the norm, then led to the extinction of the hunter-gatherer way of life.

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Following on from that, Wales experienced a Bronze Age, an Iron Age and eventually a Coal Age. We’re now heavily invested in the Technology Age without which I wouldn’t be sharing this article with you now.

So, where next for our small corner of the planet?

I’m sure whatever occurs the National Museum Cardiff will keep us updated.

You can find out more about the National Museum and its various exhibits here:

Museum Wales website

Twitter: @AmgueddfaCymru

Facebook: Amgueddfa Cymru Facebook Page

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy looking at my gallery. Catch up with you again soon!

 

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