Coronavirus: Important Information
Following government advice, all Portable Antiquities Scheme events and outreach work in Yorkshire are cancelled until further notice. PAS staff will no longer meet finders in person.
PAS Yorkshire Update – 3rd August 2020
The British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) is delivered though its local partners. At this time of social distancing, Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs) are exploring ways of reaching out to finders and recording their finds in a safe and sustainable manner. How and when this can be done will vary from area to area, because of the nature of the PAS and the fact that FLOs have to work within local environments. We very much appreciate the patience of finders at this time.
North and East Yorkshire Update
York Museums Trust (YMT) reopened York Art Gallery and York Castle Museum, in a reduced capacity, from 1st August 2020. The Yorkshire Museum, at which the FLO is based, will remain closed for the time being. YMT feel that this is the best course of action to ensure the health and safety of our staff, finders and the wider communities of which we are a part. Exact timescales for re-opening the Yorkshire Museum are still in progress.
South and West Yorkshire Update
The South and West Yorkshire FLO is hosted by the West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service which remains closed to the public. We are working on plans to reopen our buildings across West Yorkshire to visitors. This will happen in a phased way. The key priority is ensuring that our spaces will be safe for both public and staff, and that we have the appropriate procedures, and staffing levels in place for us to follow government guidelines. We aim to begin our reopening programme from late summer. We are also working with our partner museums to plan for future PAS Finds Surgeries, and we will provide further updates as soon as possible. Childcare responsibilities mean the South and West Yorkshire FLO will only be able to work part-time until September.
Finds Recording in Yorkshire
We remain unable to take in new finds for recording or return those already deposited. Please keep hold of any finds you would like to have recorded, individually bagged and labelled with the minimum 6-figure grid reference and date of discovery, for full recording at a later date in accordance with the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal-Detecting in England and Wales.
In accordance with the Treasure Act 1996 all finds of potential Treasure must be reported within 14 days. While we are unable to meet with finders to take in finds we are working to deal with finds of potential Treasure remotely so that we can keep the process moving as much as possible. In order to help with this, if you have an object which you believe may constitute potential Treasure, please send the following details by e-mail, and await further instruction.
- Your full name and address
- The full name, postal address and e-mail address of the landowner and occupier (in cases of tenanted land)
- A minimum 6-figure National Grid Reference (NGR) for where the find was made
- The depth at which the object was discovered
- The type of land on which it was found (i.e. cultivated or pasture)
- Date of discovery
- Weights and measurements
- Digital photographs (basic guide to finds photography available hereand here).
Your e-mail will satisfy the 14 day notification period required under the Treasure Act.
The necessary precautions and the fact that many museum staff are on furlough leave means there will be delays in the Treasure process. We thank everyone involved in the process for their understanding, patience and cooperation during this time.
On Tuesday 26th May 2020 (updated 9 July 2020) the government published updated guidance for members of the public on searching for archaeological finds in England during COVID-19. Some key messages are:
- Maintain social distance while searching for archaeological finds.
- Fulfil your legal obligations under the Treasure Act 1996.
- Ensure your discoveries can be recorded and contribute to archaeological knowledge. This could take many weeks or months.
- Ensure you have the relevant permissions; even if you previously had landowner permission you should now check again that they are happy for you to continue to search on their land.
- Avoid metal-detecting on ground that has not been recently disturbed to avoid damaging in situ archaeology.
You can read the full guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-on-searching-for-archaeological-finds-in-england-during-covid-19
Given the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic it is likely that we will have to change the way in which we work going forward. We are continuing to work with the government, DCMS and local partners about the best ways to deliver the PAS in the coming months. Future meetings will likely look different in order to allow us to follow social distancing guidelines and ensure the safety of our finders and staff. We will provide updated procedures as soon as we are able to do so.
Many thanks for your patience and cooperation.
PAS Yorkshire Team
Amy Downes & Becky Griffiths