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Wales archaeology App is a world first

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Wales archaeology App is a world firstEXPLORATION of Wales’ archaeological treasures is set to be transformed, not only for those with limited knowledge of archaeology but also seasoned archaeologists alike, with the launch of the fun and interactive Archwilio APP –a world first for Wales.

The Archwilio APP, commissioned by the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts and designed by the University of South Wales’ Centre for Excellence in Mobile Applications and Services (CEMAS), is the first time a whole country’s archaeological records have been listed in one APP. Free to download, the Archwilio APP, will be launched on Thursday 7th November by The Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths, at the National Museum Wales in Cardiff.

The APP, which has been designed from scratch in Wales, is a highly flexible new tool for anybody wishing to explore thousands of archaeological sites across Wales. The APP will enable professionals as well as members of the public to access the extensive records held for Wales from anywhere – be it a city centre, beach or mountainside.

The APP holds information on a vast range of archaeological sites from the well known to the quirky. These include details on a conservation project undertaken on a substantial ‘lost’ coastal medieval settlement near St Ishmaels in Carmarthenshire.

Another record provides details of a Roman trading settlement alongside the Menai Strait on Anglesey. The site was investigated by Gwynedd Archaeological Trust following significant finds of Roman date. Geophysical survey and excavation have revealed evidence for a substantial settlement of a rare type in Wales. There are no surface remains, but the APP would allow walkers on the Anglesey coastal footpath which runs through the site to be made aware that they were walking through a 2,000 year old settlement.

At Strata Marcella Abbey, to the north of Welshpool, the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust has been investigating the site of the Cistercian abbey of Strata Marcella. Founded in 1170 it was already partially ruined at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries n 1536 and today there is very little left o see of a once grand religious site.

Louise Austin, Head of Heritage Management, Dyfed Archaeological Trust, said, “The launch of this free APP is a world first for Wales and enables archaeological records for the whole of the country to be available on one APP.

“However, the archaeology of Wales is a truly moveable feast and that is the beauty of the new Archwilio APP. The technology enables us to update records as soon as new evidence for existing archaeological features is found or as new sites are uncovered in Wales.

“We want to make archaeology as easily accessible as possible for all. Downloading the APP will enable users to access millennia of archaeological information specific to Wales, providing a fun resource to improve education and understanding of the importance and sheer variety of Wales’ archaeology. The APP will also enable locals and visitors alike to go out and explore the unique heritage and archaeological sites across Wales.”

John Griffiths, The Minister for Culture and Sport, added, “The new Archwilio phone APP puts the heritage of Wales on the map. Available to download for free, it makes it possible for anyone with a suitable smartphone to access information on the thousands of known archaeological and historic sites in Wales. The historic environment records of Wales were already available online, but with the launch of the Archwilio APP Wales will make this wealth of information, collected by generations of investigators, available to mobile users, allowing them a glimpse of the hidden heritage all around us.

“The Archwilio app marks an important leap forwards in using technology to discover the heritage of Wales. As well as allowing users to check records, the app can be used to add information, opening up opportunities for volunteers to get directly involved in archaeological recording and investigation. The Archwilio app truly opens archaeology to everyone in Wales.”

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Coastal car parks at beauty spots remain closed

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THE RECENT changes in regulations reinforce that movement is restricted to your local area.

This has been identified by the Welsh Government as an approximation of a five mile radius from your home.

Members of two separate households from the same local area (not travelling more than five miles) can now meet outdoors, as long as they maintain social distancing.

You should aim to meet another local household as close to your home as possible. Always take care to maintain social distancing and hand hygiene.

Pembrokeshire County Council car parks at attractions and beauty spots (including public toilets) currently remain closed so you should check before travelling.

They remain closed as a clear message that travel remains restricted, and associated tourism amenities remain closed.

A critical point for all to note is that lifeguards are not currently patrolling beaches and toilets and other facilities are not open.

Full details of the car parking facilities which remain open for the local community can be found on the Council’s website:
https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/emergency-planning/service-changes

Councillor Phil Baker, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure said: “The emphasis is on careful, structured unlocking, and not to put in danger any of the recovery measures that relate to public health and not to undo the safeguarding that lockdown has delivered.

“We will continue to review and monitor this carefully and take cautious, measured steps only to provide the benefits of the eased regulations without putting our residents at risk.”

Motorists are reminded not to contravene parking restrictions – such as yellow lines – where they exist as parking enforcement is still being undertaken.

As with other service areas, car parks will be reviewed in line with current advice.

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Pembrokeshire County Council Leaders coronavirus update

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PEMBROKESHIRE County Council Leader, Councillor David Simpson, has provided a further coronavirus update for Tuesday, 2nd June, as follows:

‘I want to thank everyone for the continued support to myself, Elected Members and officers of the Authority.

‘We have all experienced many challenges over the years but this continued struggle is very testing for all. We continue collectively to work together to ensure we, in Pembrokeshire, remain safe and avoid catching Covid-19

‘It is clear that we still have to remain “local”. There is no remit for travelling outside our local community. You will have read and heard clear guidance on only travelling five miles from home.

‘As always and where you can, please exercise from your home. The more we can do to reduce the spread of the virus, the better we will all fare in the long term.

‘I want to highlight that today marks the 50 th anniversary of the collapse of the Cleddau Bridge. This was indeed a tragedy as lives were lost and it is a sad chapter in Pembrokeshire’s history.

‘As in any incident, people can, and do, rebuild and also learn lessons. After Covid-19 the new “normality” will look different from what we were used to. But we will all move forward and regain Confidence.

‘I’m sure, like you, I question how I should be tackling this issue. Should I be doing more? The answer is simple and direct – we need to ensure social distancing is maintained; wash our hands regularly and listen to the advice given by experts.

‘Remember: ‘Stay Strong and Stay Local.’

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‘Check in, Catch up and Prepare’ All school’s in Wales prepare to enter next phase

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ALL children will have the opportunity to “Check in, Catch Up, Prepare for summer and September”, the Education Minister Kirsty Williams announced today as she published details of the next phase for schools in Wales.

It is proposed that all schools will start the next phase on 29 June, with the term extended by a week, therefore ending on 27 July.

In the next academic year, beginning in September, the intention is that the autumn half-term break will be expanded to two weeks.

In each school there will be a phased approach. Year groups will be split into cohorts with staggered starts, lessons and breaks. It is expected that this will mean, at most, a third of pupils present at any one time, though schools may need time to reach this level of operation.

There will be much smaller classes, providing secure dedicated time with teachers and classmates. This time will include online and personalised classroom experience, getting children and teachers ready for a similar experience in September.

Next week, the Welsh Government will publish guidance to support schools, as well as further and higher education institutions. This will include information on managing their facilities and logistical arrangements, including buildings, resources, cleaning and transport.

The Government is also today publishing a paper from its COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group, representing the latest understanding of the virus with respect to children and education.

Further Education colleges are ensuring that appropriate measures are being taken to re-open for face-to-face learning from 15 June. They will prioritise those students requiring licence to practice assessments and vulnerable learners. This follows close working with Government and the joint trade unions.

Guidance for childcare providers will also be published in the next week, supporting them to increase the numbers of children in attendance alongside schools.

Kirsty Williams said:

“My announcement today gives schools three and a half weeks to continue preparing for the next phase.

“We will use the last weeks of the summer term to make sure pupils, staff and parents are prepared – mentally, emotionally and practically – for the new normal in September.

“29 June means there will have been one full month of test, trace and protect, which will continue to expand. I can also announce that teachers will be a priority group in our new antibody-testing programme. As we continue to keep Wales safe, this approach will be critical.

“The evolving science suggests that warm weather and sunlight gives us the best opportunity to ensure more time in school. Waiting until September would mean almost half a year without schooling. That would be to the detriment to the wellbeing, learning progress and mental health of our young people.

“This is and has been a worrying period for us all. I know that many will feel apprehensive. We have not rushed this work and this decision.

“The three and a half week period before the next phase also gives us time to keep watch on developments elsewhere and provides further check-points to review evidence and the roll-out of testing.

“This is the best practical option that meets my five principles which underpin my decision making.

“I am also convinced that it is only by returning to their own school that we will see increased attendance from our more vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

“Working together we will secure equity and excellence for pupils as they check in, catch up, and prepare for summer and September.”

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