Dealing with Special Finds when the FLO Office is Closed

Merry Christmas from the SWYOR PAS team! Our office will be closed until 2nd Jan 2020, so what do you do if you find something special?


If you find potential Treasure, please email your local FLO with your name, the date of discovery, an image, and the findspot grid reference. Your email will prove that you reported the find promptly and the paperwork can be sorted in the new year.


If you find a hoard which is undisturbed, please STOP DIGGING! We know it is hard to wait, but it is best for the archaeology if it is professionally excavated. Take photographs and send them to your local FLO with the grid reference and your name. DO NOT post on social media – the fewer people know about your find, the safer it is.

Discuss your find with the landowner. If it is safe to do so, leave the hoard in the ground. Mark the findspot in a subtle way, take a GPS reading and backfill. Your FLO will advise you and try to arrange professional excavation in the new year.

If the findpsot is public and it is not safe to leave the find in the ground, you may feel that you have to lift it yourself. Go slowly, take lots of photographs, and look out for different coloured soils or other finds. Record anything you spot with measurements, drawings and photos.

If the hoard is in a container, keep it as undisturbed as possible. If possible, wrap the hoard and the surrounding soil in clingfilm, slide a metal sheet under it, and lift it in one block. That way, details from the inside of the hoard can be preserved. Keep the whole block in a cool place until your FLO can arrange help.

Some examples of good pratice

WILT-0F898C is a hoard of Roman vessels which were disturbed as little as possible and not cleaned, allowing plant remains to be recovered. These tell us the time of year that the hoard was buried.

Roman scale pan and contents. Copyright: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
A Roman scale pan from WILT-0F898C and the vegetation inside
Roman vessel hoard WILT-0F898C Copyright: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
The hoard had been disturbed as little as possible, allowing the relationship between the items to be understood.

BM-C33636 is a coin hoard which was left in the ground until it could be professionally excavated. The vessel containing the coins was wrapped in bandages and lifted in its entirety before being excavated and conserved at the British Museum. The coins were removed in layers, revealing whether they had been added in groups or in one episode.

X-ray of the Roman coin hoard
Copyright: The British Museum
BM-C33636 was x-rayed to help guide the excavation process
Roman coin hoard being excavated at the British Museum
Copyright: The British Museum
BM-C33636 undergoing excavation and conservation

Thank you!

#ResponsibleDetecting in this way makes a really positive contribution to archaeology. #BeAHeritageHero!

Have a lovely Christmas, and see you in 2020 to #RecordYourFinds. See the Artefacts and Coins page of the Yorkshire County Pages for a list of local Finds Surgeries where you can visit your FLO.