Today marked the launch of the official Treasure Annual Report 2008, listing all of the cases of Treasure reported between 1 January and 31 December 2008. Astute observers will note the vast difference in appearance and content between this and recent reports; absent are colour photographs and detailed description of select cases, and the report does not include items reported to the PAS that were not considered under the Treasure Act. Legislation does not allow for a combined Portable Antiquities &Treasure Annual Report to be officially laid before Parliament and so the 2008 incarnation of that report (which is forthcoming) will have to be launched separately. Under the circumstances, it was decided to produce the concise report launched today as an interim measure.
This short document is, however, by no means something to be overlooked. Since 2005/2006, we have endeavoured to ensure that a PAS Database record has been created for each find of reported Treasure, and those associated reference numbers have appeared alongside the Treasure case numbers in those reports. In the Treasure Report 2008, one can likewise refer to the database numbers for all of the listed cases. Similarly, with the new database, Dan Pett has created a separate field for Treasure case numbers, so it is possible to search for cases with only this information to hand.
On the www.finds.org.uk site, if one clicks on the ‘Database’ tab at the top of the page, and then clicks on ‘Search database’ tab at the left, a cascading menu allows for the choice of ‘Advanced Search’. Following that link will allow for the user to tick a box labelled ‘Treasure find:’ and to input a ‘Treasure ID number’. If one inputs, for example, the number ‘2008 T200’, a database entry for that case (an Early Medieval hooked tag) is returned.
The Finds Liaison Officers, Treasure Team, and several hard working volunteers have worked to update these records as thoroughly as possible with photographs, disposition information, and 4-figure findspot information. They have also ‘promoted’ as many of these records as possible to ensure that members of the public,and not just academics, have easy access to this information. The functionality built into the website, enabling reports to be printed, photos to be zoomed in on, and information to be sorted according to a variety of criteria, means that the presentation of the Treasure report in this format is useful and adaptable.
I’d like to congratulate my colleagues on the Treasure Team, Caroline Barton, Caroline Lyons, Hilary Orange and Janina Parol on the launch of this report; to extend hearty thanks to our volunteers Siorna McFarlane and Emma Traherne and the FLOs for their untiring work on these database records, and thank Dan Pett for designing such a comprehensive and easy-to-use interface. To my mind, the integration of the database with the Treasure records proves further the degree to which the work of the PAS is crucial to the successful administration of the Treasure Act. Today’s news, that the BM will assume authority of the PAS, seems a natural transformation that will hopefully ensure the Scheme’s continued success and even greater collaboration in the administration of Treasure cases. Lastly, congratulations to Michael Lewis, the editor of this report and the forthcoming combined report, for all his work in ensuring these documents come to fruition.