Virtual Archaeology Day Proves A Big Success

Virtual Archaeology Day Proves A Big Success

On Saturday 7 November, the 18th annual Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Archaeology Day event took place in a virtual format, hosted by the National Park’s Community Archaeologist, Tomos Jones, and Stuart Berry, Cultural Coordinator at PLANED.

The event ran a full live video stream on the Archaeology Day YouTube channel featuring a series of pre-recorded videos. The event was well attended with viewers at one point reaching up to 180, contributing to a total of over 3,000 views to the channel altogether for all the videos linked to that event.

Stuart Berry, who worked with the National Park in organising the event said “Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we made the decision for this year’s event to be digital quite early in the planning process, and with a lockdown being in effect at the time of the event, this decision now looks very wise.”

The morning session focused on a number of topics impacting on the heritage sector at present, including COVID-19, and included contributions from Kathryn Laws of the Council for British Archaeology in Wales, PLANED’s DATRIS Coordinator John Ewart, Rhowan Alleyne from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, and Historian Dr Simon Hancock, curator of Haverfordwest Museum.

During the break for lunch, viewers were able to take a ‘virtual walk’ around Foel Drygarn, an Iron Age hillfort near Crymych in north Pembrokeshire, with three large cairns dating back to the Bronze Age situated on the top of the fort. In the film, Community Archaeologist Tomos Jones provided the archaeological background to the site while Storyteller Carol Pearce imagined the potential life and experience of those who lived at the site during the Iron Age.

The afternoon session focussed on current archaeological research and projects in Pembrokeshire.  Four pre-recorded talks were presented by Senior Aerial Investigator at the Royal Commission Dr Toby Driver, Dyfed Archaeological Trust Director Ken Murphy, Seán Vicary and Steve Knight of Tinder Farm, and Professor of British Later Prehistory at University College London, Mike Parker-Pearson.

There was an opportunity at the end of each session for live Question and Answers with presenters where viewers were able to interact, comment and discuss the issues raised in more detail.

Community Archaeologist, Tomos Jones was delighted with the day’s event and commented “I was really pleased that we were able to deliver the annual Archaeology Day. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we managed to broaden the reach of the day to include persons who might have otherwise been unable to engage with the event. It is very difficult to overestimate the amount of work that went into the event this year and I would like to thank all those who contributed including colleagues at the National Park and PLANED. The feedback that has been received thus far suggests that some of the approaches adopted this year, will definitely form part of Archaeology Day in the future. In a year of negatives, that is certainly one positive.”

PLANED’s John Ewart who worked hard to create the online event was delighted with the virtual event and commented “I was really pleased with the event; it went a lot more smoothly than I was expecting.  The team all worked together to make it a successful, fun and interactive event”.

Stuart Berry added “A great deal of work has gone into making the event happen; as none of the team have done anything quite like this before meaning we have all learned a great deal. The good viewing figures and the positive feedback so far have been really encouraging – I would certainly like to think about ways that we could ‘live stream’ events even when we return to the auditorium after COVID. Working alongside Tomos, Stuart and John on the day was PLANED’s Sophie Jenkins. Sophie was also the driving force behind the Foel Drygarn virtual walk, which was created as part of her ‘Ein Cymdogaeth Werin – Preseli Heartlands’ project”.

The presentations and live stream is still available to view on the Archaeology Day Channel

There was no charge for the online event but anyone wishing to donate to the National Park Trust is encouraged to do so via their website: Please Donate Here

Anyone who attended on the day is asked to fill in an evaluation form in order to gain feedback to improve future events and activities:

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