New-look Finds Recording Guides go live!

Following user research carried out earlier this year, the Finds Recording Guides section of the County Pages website has been revamped to provide easier navigation and an improved user experience.

Finds Recording Guides Home Page
Improved visuals and easier navigation.

The Finds Recording Guides are technical guides aimed at helping people record objects onto the PAS database. They contain a wealth of information on how to record, including which object type to use, what to call various object parts and how to write an effective object description. You can now browse the guides in a variety of ways and even see which ones have been most recently added!

Just one of the ways in which to browse the guides.


We currently have 19 guides available, with many more to be added in due course, so please do check in regularly to see what’s available. The online nature of the guides means that they can be updated so they will always contain the most up-to-date information on recording practices for the PAS database.


One of our recently added guides – fabulous beasts!

The Finds Recording Guides are the result of months of hard work by the PASt Explorers team, with particular mention to Rob and Helen for writing them, and to Mary for conducting the user research and doing all the back-end computer wizardry to make the guides look so fantastic.

PASt Explorers Training Programme Commences

Coinciding with national Volunteers’ Week, PASt Explorers ran the first of the Heritage Lottery Funded project’s training days at Birmingham Museums Collection Centre on Tuesday 2nd June 2015. Eleven of the Scheme’s West Midlands self-recorders and in-house volunteers attended the training session to learn how to record finds onto the PAS database with the two PASt Explorers Project Officers, Helen Geake and Rob Webley.

PASt Explorers aims to expand the training opportunities available to Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) volunteers, and the project’s training programme comprises five modules covering the basics of digital finds photography (Module 3), finds image manipulation (Module 4) and finds identification (Module 5), as well as database recording (Module 2) and a general introduction to the work of the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the Treasure Act (Module 1).

A presenter points to a screen as training attendees watch.
Participants follow the database training in Taunton, June 2015. Copyright: Portable Antiquities Scheme. Licence: CC-BY.

The Module 2 training day in Birmingham was hosted by Teresa Gilmore, Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) for Staffordshire and West Midlands. You can read more the work of the archaeological finds volunteers who work alongside her at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) on the BMAG blog here. In feedback after the event, the volunteers said that the training provided clear principles for recording finds on the PAS database, especially for object descriptions. They thought it was a well put together day with information delivered in an accessible manner, with one participant describing the event as:

A very enjoyable day and will keep me enthused for some time.

PASt Explorers also ran Module 2 the following week on Saturday 13th June 2015 at Somerset Heritage Centre in Taunton, Somerset, which was attended by 15 finders and volunteers, most of whom were new to recording archaeological finds with the PAS. This training session coincided with Adult Learners’ Week, a national celebration of lifelong learning, and was hosted by Laura Burnett, Finds Liaison Officer for Somerset. These volunteers were also asked to provide feedback after this training event and here are a couple of their comments:

Friendly presenters, open to questions and very helpful.

Well presented, informative, enjoyable.

Twenty-five of the 26 participants completed feedback forms after the two training events and below is a chart summarising their responses to a series of tick-box questions.

A chart to show the feedback from attendees of the PASt Explorers database training modules for volunteers run in June 2015.
A chart to show the feedback from attendees of the PASt Explorers database training modules for volunteers run in June 2015. Copyright: Portable Antiquities Scheme. Licence: CC-BY.

The first run of Module 1 of the PASt Explorers training programme will take place at the British Museum next month, July 2015. Thirty-five of the Scheme’s volunteers from across the country will be introduced to members of the PAS and Treasure teams and have tours behind the scenes at the PAS to learn how their contribution feeds into the wider Scheme.