Hello and welcome to the first newsletter of 2021. We hoped we would all be meeting in person by now and have the opportunity to return the finds we have been recording in lockdown. At the moment we do not have any confirmed dates for when this will take place and our initial priorities will be dealing with treasure. Your local FLO will be in touch when we can start meeting with finders again. We hope this will be sometime this summer.
If you intend to go metal detecting please read through the latest government guidance before you set off as the rules may have changed since your last trip. You must ensure you are complying with the law, including the restrictions on meeting with other people (currently rule of six).
Some larger rallies may be able to go ahead if they have the correct local authority permits and safety measures in place. It is up to you as an attendee, as well as the responsibility of the organiser, to ensure that the correct permissions are in place for a larger group meetings to happen and that the event is operating within the law and government guidance. If they are not then you maybe liable for a penalty fine. Please also note that permissions are granted by local authorities on a case by case basis, so an event that is authorised in one region may not be permitted in another. This process is outside the control of PAS so any enquiries about larger metal detecting events should be made to the relevant local authority in the first instance. Keep up to date with current guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-on-searching-for-archaeological-finds-in-england-during-covid-19
You may have heard in the news that Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery will remain closed throughout 2021 while essential electrical upgrade work takes place. Please be assured that another suitable safe accessible venue will be used as an alternative and we will keep you posted.
Did you know the Portable Antiquities Scheme had their own YouTube channel? link below:
You can find some useful videos on our YouTube channel such as a guide to searching the database. This is a useful tool if you wish to search for Roman brooches for example or a specific coin type. You can also use the search for statistics, such as how many coins have been discovered in a specific county or how many coins are recorded dating to Elizabeth I. Another video gives you an introduction to the county pages. This is where FLO’s and volunteers write blog posts relating to their county, so do have a look as we post blogs and videos about specific news and finds relating to the West Midlands here.
Have you heard the PAS Podcast yet? PAStcast is available to listen for free on a number of platforms and now has seven episodes including episodes on treasure, Roman coins and also finds from the Midlands. The podcast is hosted by Lucy Shipley (FLO for Devon) and Ben Westwood (FLO for Durham). Episode 1 tells you about how the Portable Antiquities Scheme started and Lucy and Ben describe their favourite and least favourite finds to record.
The West Midlands PAS team contributed to series two of River Hunters which is aired on the Sky History channel on Monday evenings at 9pm. Our role was to help identify individual finds and advise which objects could be historically significant. Episodes include; the Viking Invasion of York, Scotland & the Civil War, Canterbury Murder, Colchester Siege
and Knaresborough Castle. You may just spot FLO’s Teresa and Susheela in the series!
The PAS database holds a large number of folded coins, scholars have suggested there was a widespread custom of bending coins in the Medieval period. Folded coins have been discovered with organic material within them for suspension and coins have also been discovered folded over one another. Later in the Post Medieval period sometimes coins were bent into an S-shape to form a love token. They were particularly common in the reign of William III (1694-1702). They may have also been bent and carried as good luck tokens. So next time you find a bent coin in the clod please take care to leave it as you found it. It may just be that it was purposefully bent and this act all adds to the story of the object.