Unidentified Objects (2001 guide)

Please note that this guide has not been fundamentally changed from the original print version of the Finds Recording Guide (Geake 2001), written when the database contained just 8,800 non-numismatic records.

PAS object type to be used

If you don’t know what an object (or fragment) is, use UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT. It is often tempting to have a guess at another object type, and to add ‘possibly’ in the Object Certainty field, but this is often not a good idea. Something that is incorrectly recorded under a common object type may not be found again and corrected for years, whereas the unidentified objects are gone through fairly frequently by researchers.

Terms to use in the description

The descriptions for ‘unidentified object’ should tend to be the longest and most detailed of all, because the only way we will be able to retrospectively identify an object is with as much information as possible. Similarly, really good photographs and the correct projections of all the views are essential.


Some of the time you will be able to date an unidentified object, for example by its art style. Much of the time you will have to enter UNKNOWN as the period. It is usually a difficult decision whether to bother adding an unidentified object of unknown date to the database, but if you feel that it is of some age, and you may wish to find the details in the future (e.g. if it is a fragment, and you think it may be identifiable if you could see a complete parallel) then feel free to go ahead and record it.