Show report: Newport Ship Open Day – August 2016

We were delighted to return to the Newport Ship this month for their open day. Now in their new warehouse, this medieval ship is being painstakingly preserved and studied. Five hundred timbers had returned from freeze-drying at the York Archaeological Trust only two days before, so it was great to have a look at the progressing work.

A model of the 15th century ship
A model of the 15th century ship

We set up a range of displays for the public to help interpret medieval life including archery, weapons, armour, crafts and music. It is always great to make links between our displays and the archaeology at hand. For example, in showing medieval spinning and wool processing we could relate this to the sheep wool (potentially of Merino type [Mulville and Hunter Zooarch JISCMail 2003]) and other animal products that were found in the ship’s caulking and luting material; these included raw fibres, dyed fibres and woven material which were used in sealing the timbers and plugging leaks (Jones 2013, 4 & 10). The ship also had a silver coin inserted into a cut out in the stempost/keel join, potentially placed as a token of good fortune at the start of the ship’s construction. A largely 15th century (and thus contemporary) token or badge consists of a coin sealed inside a pewter purse (Spencer 1998; Spencer 1990, 116-117, 134-135, Figures 311-314c). One interpretation of these finds is that a belief existed that carrying a token of wealth increased your chances of attracting wealth to you.

We look forward to seeing the ship’s continued conservation and reassembly!

Showing the bows, bolts and arrows.
Crafts and crossbows being shown to visitors (and to Friends of the Newport Ship!).
A box of spindles and wool.
Displays of crafts and weapons, including the referenced purse-shaped pewter token.
Crafts and musical instruments.

Jones, T. 2013. S.O.S. News from the Friends of the Newport Ship, 21.

Spencer, B. 1998. Museum of London Medieval Finds from Excavations in London 7: Pilgrim Souvenirs and Secular Badges. London: The Stationery Office.

Spencer, B. 1990. Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum Medieval Catalogue Part 2: Pilgrim Souvenirs & Secular Badges. Wiltshire: Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum.

Show Report: Joust! at Cardiff Castle – 21st & 22nd June


A view of the Garrison camp in Cardiff Castle
A view of the Garrison camp in Cardiff Castle (to left of wall)

Wonderful turnout at one of the Garrison’s major annual events, Joust! Photos below of our various demonstrations and talks, along with the events other groups and societies taking part in the show. Thanks very much to both the members and the public who attended, we’re really pleased that everyone had such a lovely time.


Garrison on BBC Radio Ulster!

Garrison Archery Range
Garrison Archery Range

Really excited to say that the Garrison currently feature on the BBC website! The video is from an event we did in April where some of our members taught three comedians archery in Cardiff Castle as part of The Big Celtic Comedy Tour.

You can view a video featuring some of the teaching by clicking on the link below and the Garrison can be seen from about 03:20 onwards.

Cardiff Castle Garrison on The Big Celtic Comedy Tour



The radio show has been aired and is now on iPlayer. Click this link
 to listen in, we’re from approximately 12 minutes in. The programme will be up until Monday 2nd June.