PAS 15 – Finds from Wiltshire

This year marks 15 years of the Portable Antiquities Scheme as a national scheme. Throughout the year we’ll be celebrating finds from each county – a find a day for the whole year! Here are the finds we’ve chosen from Wiltshire:

Image of seven archaeological finds from Wiltshire.
A selection of finds from the county of Wiltshire.

Palaeolithic handaxe (WILT-EEFB94): A flint handaxe from the Lower Palaeolithic period, c.500000-150000BC.

Post-medieval seal matrix (WILT-669DA9): A gold seal matrix. The fob is in shape of a snake biting its tail whilst the matrix is inscribed with a flower and the words “a moi”.

Roman coin (OXON-5853F7): A Roman Republican silver denarius dated 63BC. Issued by L. Furius Brocchus, mint of Rome.

Early Medieval brooch (WILT-7ED52): A copper alloy Saxon saucer brooch.

Iron Age brooch (WILT-97BC77): A copper alloy Birdlip brooch.

Bronze Age mould (WILT-FFC218): A copper alloy Middle Bronze Age palstave mould.

PAS 15 – Finds from the West Midlands

This year marks 15 years of the Portable Antiquities Scheme as a national scheme. Throughout the year we’ll be celebrating finds from each county – a find a day for the whole year! Here are the finds we’ve chosen from the West Midlands:

Image of seven archaeological finds from the West Midlands.
A selection of finds from the West Midlands.

Roman figurine (WAW-C54295): A Romano-British horse-and-rider statuette.

Post-medieval mount (WMID-F13B24): A lead alloy heraldic mount of a wyvern or dracontile.

Early Medieval pendant (WMID-4241F2): A gold pendant with two Style II animal heads depicted on it.

Medieval seal matrix (WMID-99B743): A copper alloy seal matrix depicting a crowned Mary on the throne with Christ on her knee.

Post-medieval dental plate (YORYM-DEF0E2): A gold dental plate.

Medieval pendant (BM-1F56EE): A gold pendant crudely engraved with the head of Jesus.

Bronze Age spearhead (WMID-9975DA): A copper alloy pegged spearhead.

PAS 15 – Finds from Warwickshire

This year marks 15 years of the Portable Antiquities Scheme as a national scheme. Throughout the year we’ll be celebrating finds from each county – a find a day for the whole year! Here are the finds we’ve chosen from Warwickshire:

Image of seven archaeological finds from Warwickshire.
A selection of finds from the county of Warwickshire.

Medieval arrowhead (WMID-95AB3B): A copper alloy arrowhead.

Early Medieval penny (WAW-001516): A silver penny of Harold I, minted in Lincoln, by the moneyer Beorhtric.

Post-medieval seal matrix (WAW-299C28): A gold fob seal of an owl with the initials AD inscribed in the matrix part.

Bronze Age ring (WAW-97DE52): A gold penannular ring.

Roman mount (WMID-1BE588): A copper alloy mount depicting the head of a Satyr.

Neolithic arrowhead (WAW-42E601): A flint leaf-shaped arrowhead.

Iron Age harness fitting (WAW-CA0CC0): A copper alloy bridle strap junction.

PAS 15 – Finds from Tyne & Wear

This year marks 15 years of the Portable Antiquities Scheme as a national scheme. Throughout the year we’ll be celebrating finds from each county – a find a day for the whole year! Here are the finds we’ve chosen from Tyne & Wear:

Image of seven archaeological finds from the Tyne & Wear area.
A selection of finds from Tyne & Wear.

Post-medieval cannon ball (NCL-A1C882): A lead cannon ball, probably from the English Civil War c.1644.

Roman brooch (NCL-0CAA44): A copper alloy pelta-shaped plate brooch with coloured enamel infills.

Post-medieval token (NCL-E8BDD5): A lead or lead alloy trade token dated AD1500-1800 with anchor and rope on front. 

Roman coin hoard (DUR-507D5B): A Roman coin hoard containing coins of Mark Antony, Vitellius, Vespasian, Flavian and Domitian.

Medieval spindle whorl (DUR-223445): A decorated lead spindle whorl, dated AD1200-1500.

Unidentified object (NCL-833E75): A copper alloy object, probably Post-medieval but function unknown.

PAS 15 – Remembrance Week Finds

This year marks 15 years of the Portable Antiquities Scheme as a national scheme. We are sharing a find a day for the whole year. This year also marks 100 years since the end of the First World War so this week we are highlighting finds related to the First World War and Remembrance:

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

Image of seven archaeological finds relating to Remembrance.
A selection of finds on the topic of Remembrance.

Tobacco tin (SUR-961965): An aluminium tobacco or matchbox holder which has been re-purposed from something like a mess tin. It has been engraved with a foliage on one side and the US and UK flags on the other. The spine has the word “Ypres” engraved on it, perhaps to commemorate the owner’s service there.

Decorative band (SUR-4C80E2): An inscribed copper-alloy band made from the driving band of an artillery shell. It reads: E.J.C.James 179203 MTASC (Motor Transport Army Service Corps). Perhaps the shell exploded close to Private James and he kept the fragment as a lucky souvenir.

Medal (SUR-423377): A long service and good conduct medal awarded to Private Alfred Anderson of the 1st Battalion, Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. Alfred was sent to France when the First World War broke out. He was captured and sent to Langensaltza POW camp in Germany where he remained for the rest of the war. He remained in the Army until 1926, hence the long service medal.

Medal (SUR-EBD73D): First World War British War Medal awarded to Lorna Marjorie Cambrier Faunce of the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD). Lorna served abroad twice during the First World War. She survived the War, passing away in 1969.

Medal (LIN-F6306C): Victory Medal of the First World War, awarded to Sgt Charles William Baggaley of the Lincolnshire Regiment.

Medal (WMID-794AC4): Victory medal awarded to Private Frederick Ford of the 58th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force. Frederick enlisted in the AIF in 1915 and served in France, but was injured several times. In March 2018 he was hit by a bomb injuringhis right arm and both legs. He died the following day and was buried in Bauolleul Cemetery in France. Frederick had been married for just 3 months at the time of his death.

Finger ring (DUR-D26B53): Silver finger ring made from a George V half crown. Date 1910-1936. It is an example of ‘trench art’ where commemorative items were fashioned from other objects. Coins turned into rings were particularly popular in First World War.

PAS 15 – Halloween Finds

This year marks 15 years of the Portable Antiquities Scheme as a national scheme. Throughout the year we’ll be celebrating finds from each county – a find a day for the whole year! Here are the finds we’ve chosen on the theme of Halloween:

Image of seven archaeological finds related to Halloween.
A selection of finds on the theme of Halloween.

Post-medieval seal matrix (DENO-D3E954): A silver memento mori seal matrix depicting a skeleton.

Post-medieval pipe tamper (DENO-0C6CC4): A copper alloy pipe tamper inthe shape of a devil.

Fossil oyster shell (SWYOR-96E960): A fossilised oyster shell known as a Devil’s Toenail.

Post-medieval token (LON-F2C9F6): A copper alloy farthing trade token dating to 1657, picturing a skull.

Post-medieval knife handle (LVPL-BD94F3): A copper alloy knife handle with the inscription ‘Make you bleed’.

Post-medieval bottle (LIN-49FC12): A glass bottle and contents that may form a “witch bottle” (a countermagical object).

Post-medieval shoe (LANCUM-76D192): A leather child’s shoe found within a wall, probably placed there to ward off evil spirits.

Spooky Stashes

It’s Halloween so it’s time to delve into the Database to see what spooky finds dwell within. This year we thought we’d focus on ‘spooky stashes’. These are items that have been deliberately hidden away, often to ward off evil forces. This practice was prevalent in the 16th and 17th centuries, with items typically being incorporated into the structure of houses – usually in a floor or wall. Here are 5 examples of concealed caches from the PAS database (click on the links to see the full database record):

HESH-549817

This odd collection of items was found hidden in the floor socket of a partition wall of a house in Shropshire. The shape of the clay pipe bowl dates the assemblage to the 17th century.

BM-A5C5A1

This sun dial, dated to 1652, was found buried in the rammed earth floor of a thatched house in Suffolk.

DEV-867707

This shoe and assorted items, including pebbles and clay pipe stems, was found concealed in the cob-wall above a doorway in a house in Topsham, Devon. The practice of concealing shoes within the structure of a house was widespread in the 16th and 17th centuries when it was believed they could ward off evil spirits and bad luck.

LANCUM-76D192

In the case of this shoe, found within the wall of a 17th century Lancashire house, the concealment probably relates to a Lancashire folk tradition where a child’s shoe was hidden to prevent the child being swapped for a fairy child.

NARC-151A67

Fabric mask found hidden in a wall.

Perhaps the strangest item on the database, this velvet ‘visard’ mask was found concealed within the wall of a 16th century stone building in Northamptonshire. It is thought that the original use was either to shield a gentlewoman’s face from the sun at a time when a tan was highly unfashionable in high society, or to ward off would-be attackers should a lady be out and about alone. The mask’s concealment in a wall is more unusual – whilst the practice of hiding things was quite commonplace, this is the only known example of a mask being used in this way. In hiding it away, the original owner has ensured its preservation as these masks rarely survive otherwise.

PAS 15 – Finds from Sussex

This year marks 15 years of the Portable Antiquities Scheme as a national scheme. Throughout the year we’ll be celebrating finds from each county – a find a day for the whole year! Here are the finds we’ve chosen from Sussex:

Image of seven archaeological finds found in Sussex.
A selection of finds from the county of Sussex.

Palaeolithic handaxe (SUSS-AF6EC6): A flint Acheulian handaxe of the ficron type.

Post-medieval bell (SUSS-7131C0): A copper alloy crotal or animal bell made by the Wells foundry at Aldbourne in Wiltshire.

Bronze Age sword hilt (SUSS-761CD0): A copper alloy sword hilt of the late Haltstatt type.

Early Medieval brooch (SUSS-EE599E): A gilded copper alloy button brooch depicting a human face.

Modern button (SUSS-6044A2): A copper alloy 19th century button made by R E Hayward of Longacre, London, for East Sussex Gaol.

Iron Age harness fitting (SUSS-F35BF5): A copper alloy strap union inlaid with enamel.

Roman mount (SUSS-262875): A copper alloy Roman vessel mount in the shape of a bird.

PAS 15 – Finds from Surrey

This year marks 15 years of the Portable Antiquities Scheme as a national scheme. Throughout the year we’ll be celebrating finds from each county – a find a day for the whole year! Here are the finds we’ve chosen from Surrey:

Image of seven archaeological finds from Surrey.
A selection of finds from the county of Surrey. (Copyright: Portable Antiquities Scheme, Licence: CC-BY).

Roman coin (SUR-D40227): A silver denarius issued by Elagabalus dated AD218-222.

Medieval purse bar (SUR-5C7A0E): A copper alloy purse bar inscribed with ‘Christ’ and ‘St. Mary’.

Modern medal (SUR-5ADA50): A Distinguished Conduct Medal from the First World War.

Early Medieval mount (SUR-7B05A8): A copper alloy stirrup strap mount.

Early Medieval brooch (SUR-E2A8E7): A copper alloy and enamel cloisonne disc brooch, the first of its kind recorded in Surrey.

Modern button (SUR-F7AEB3):  An 18th century military button of the Queen’s Own 7th Light Dragoons.

Early Medieval spear (SUR-0EC561): An iron spearhead dating to AD550-650.

PAS 15 – Finds from Suffolk

This year marks 15 years of the Portable Antiquities Scheme as a national scheme. Throughout the year we’ll be celebrating finds from each county – a find a day for the whole year! Here are the finds we’ve chosen from Suffolk:

Image of seven archaeological finds from Suffolk.
A selection of finds from the county of Suffolk.

Palaeolithic point (SF-0BE51F): A Neanderthal flint blade point projectile.

Post-medieval spoon terminal (SF-0B2F53): A silver gilt spoon terminal from the 15th century depicting a Wildman with a club.

Early Medieval strap end (SF-3E1E14): A copper alloy strap end with zoomorphic terminal.

Post-medieval clog clasp (IOW-9AA4DE): A copper alloy clog clasp with floral decoration.  

Iron Age harness fitting (ESS-2EE2B8):  A copper alloy harness fitting.

Roman figurine (SF-99E3E4): A copper alloy figurine of an armoured rider on a horse.

Bronze Age point (SF6517): A bone point taken from the hind leg of a cow or bull.