Meet the Volunteer: Meghan

A very cold day in Northumberland

Tell us about yourself

I started volunteering for the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire in October 2017, a few months after graduating with an MA Archaeology degree at Newcastle University. My undergraduate degree is also in archaeology, and both my dissertations involved looking at archaeology from the 20th century. Since graduating, my aim has been to gain more practical experience with artefacts and within museums.

What does your role involve?

The role involves identifying, photographing and recording finds brought in by the public on the PAS database. Interacting with the public is an important aspect of the role, helping to collect, organise and then return finds after recording, particularly on finds days.   

What areas of history/archaeology are you most interested in?

While studying at university more modern archaeology interested me as it gave me a chance to explore artefacts in a multidisciplinary manner. For example, for my masters dissertation I produced an archaeological typology of Tupperware and discussed the brands social history, including oral history and museum collection based research. Since starting volunteering for the PAS, however, I have developed an interest in coins, particularly medieval silver pennies. I have even started to enjoy recording Roman coins, with the help of some training, which is something I would not have considered in university. 

Why did you start working for the PAS?

I enjoy encouraging people to become involved and interested in their local archaeology and I think the PAS is a great way to do that. The database is also an excellent resource for archaeology that may not have been found or recorded previously. I am also really interested in the finds that people bring in, as an archaeologist it is an amazing opportunity to handle and record such a wide range of artefacts.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering for the PAS?

I most enjoy developing and using my archaeological knowledge to help research and identify finds brought in by the public and working with people who have a passion for archaeology. I have also enjoyed realising that I have an interest in a wide range of material culture from multiple time periods.

What is your favourite find from Derbyshire that has been recorded on the PAS database and why?

Post medieval posy ring
Post medieval posy ring (DENO-D6D3EA). Copyright: Derby Museums Trust. Licence: CC-BY

One of my favourite finds from Derbyshire is DENO-D6D3EA. It is a posy ring, which is a type of artefact I discovered recently while recording a similar ring on the database. I like that while wearing the ring it would appear as a simple band however it has an inscription on the interior meant only for the wearer of the ring.  Posy rings may be quite a common find on the database, however I like the sentiment of these rings and that they were often given as a gift.