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 – 1st September 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
After much consideration, York Museums Trust have made the very difficult decision to keep the Yorkshire Museum closed until April 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the Trust’s financial position and we still face severe deficits in the challenging months ahead. After looking at many different scenarios for reopening, it was clear that the expected level of income from all options would not cover the cost of opening the museum in a Covid-19 secure way without dramatically reducing the visitor experience.
The continued closure of the Yorkshire Museum and Hull and East Riding Museum means that PAS Finds Days will remain cancelled at least until April 2021. The need to ensure the health and safety of our staff and finders alike through measures such as social distancing also means that FLO visits to metal detecting clubs will be unable to resume during this time. I also remain unable to meet with people to take in new finds for recording or return those already deposited.
South and West Yorkshire Update
The South and West Yorkshire FLO is hosted by the West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service which has now started to reopen to visitors 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. I (Amy) hope to be able to start offering finders appointments from late September.
I am also working with my partner museums to plan for future PAS Finds Surgeries, and we will provide further updates as soon as possible. Though many museums are now open, they may not yet be ready to run events or host external partners.
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.
We are continuing to explore ways of reaching out to finders and record their finds in a safe and sustainable manner throughout this period. We have produced a series of new protocols and risk assessments which we hope will help with this.
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