Annual Report 2000 - 2001

The cover of the 2000 - 2001 reportDownload copy of entire report in pdf format

The main achievements of the fourth year of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (1 October 2000 to 30 September 2001) can be summarised as follows.

Extent of the Scheme

During the period of this report the number of Finds Liaison Officers has remained at eleven full-time posts and one half-time post, which cover about half of England and all ofWales. In addition the central unit consists of a Co-ordinator and an Outreach Officer, both based at the British Museum. Six posts were funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund for one year from 1 April 2001. The other eight
  posts were funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Recognition of success

At the British Archaeological Awards (November 2000) the Scheme was awarded the Spear and Jackson Silver Trowel for the Best Initiative in Archaeology, and also received the Virgin Holidays Award for the best presented archaeological project. In addition, the contribution of finders who have reported finds to the Scheme was also recognised: Phil Shepherd from Wales and Steve Bolger from Hampshire received first and second prize (respectively) in the finder’s award category.

Objects recorded

A further 37,518 archaeological objects have been recorded with the Scheme, most of which would otherwise have gone unrecorded, adding significantly to our understanding of the material culture and archaeology of England and Wales. Some of these finds are illustrated in this report.

New sites discovered

Several important new archaeological sites have been discovered during the last year as a result of the finds recorded by the Finds Liaison Officers. These include an important Anglo–Saxon cemetery in Hampshire and a post-medieval kiln site in Dorset (see pages 65–71). Finders: The Finds Liaison Officers have recorded objects discovered by over 1,764 finders, and maintain regular contact with 105 metal detecting clubs.

Findspot information

The Finds Liaison Officers are meeting with increased success in obtaining precise findspot information from finders, with 68 per cent of finds now being recorded to the nearest 100 square metres or better (the equivalent figure last year was 60 per cent). 73 per cent of the objects recorded by the Scheme have been discovered by metal-detector users. Over 89 per cent of finds are recovered from cultivated land, where they are susceptible to plough damage and both artificial and natural corrosion processes.
 

Non metal-detected finds:

The numbers of objects being recorded from members of the public other than those found with a metal-detector has increased from 21 per cent to 27 per cent of the total. There has been a significant increase in the amount of pottery recorded from 6,832 items in 1999–2000 to 9,771 items in 2000–2001; this represents an increase of 43 per cent on last year.

Sites and Monuments Records 

A large amount of data being gathered by the Finds Liaison Officers has been passed on to Sites and Monuments Records (SMRs), the key record holders for information about the historic environment. Since the last annual report, Andrew Sargent of English Heritage has written a report on the transfer of the central Portable Antiquities database to SMRs and his recommendations will be implemented during the coming year. Discussions have also been held on how to protect sensitive archaeological sites.

Outreach 

All involved in the Scheme have significantly raised public awareness of the importance of recording finds for our archaeological heritage, and reached new audiences for museums and the heritage sector:

  1. 128 talks have been given about the Scheme (52 to metal-detecting clubs and 76 to other bodies).
  2. 102 finds identification days and exhibitions have been organised.
  3. 67 articles in the media have been published or broadcast.

Website

The Portable Antiquities website (www.finds.org.uk) has continued to expand with the number of ‘page requests’ increasing to around 66,800 a month, representing an increase of 72 per cent on the
previous year. The website currently allows access to 18,858 objects recorded under the Scheme and 2,092 images. This number will be increased to 43,539 with about 5,000 images during 2002. The website has also been re-designed, allowing for improved access to data and better navigation around the site.

Publications

Three major publications about the Scheme appeared in the last year:

  1. The second Treasure Annual Report (for 1998–99) was launched in January 2001.
  2. The Summer 2001 issue of the Finding our Past newsletter was published by Resource: the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
  3. The third issue of Portable Antiquities: Wales, was published in June 2001,
    also with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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