Prioritising Recording Guidance

This guidance note is designed to help FLOs prioritise the recording of finds that advance archaeological knowledge.

General Advice

  • It is strongly recommended that FLOs make full use of volunteers and self-recorders.
  • Finders should be encouraged to show you all of their finds so that you, not the finder, can exercise discretion whether or not to record a particular find.
  • Refer to the PAS guides (e.g. Lithics Recording Protocol) for specific advice.
  • Familiarise yourself with the regional and national Research Agendas for your area.
  • Keep up to speed with current research projects that use PAS data, especially the sorts of questions researchers are asking of it.
  • Develop strong links with your local HER and your local network of heritage professionals, and make use of the Heritage Gateway; these sources of advice may prove important in terms of knowing whether a find or assemblage is important.
  • It is good practice to make a note any local recording biases (e.g. only recording crotal bells that have interesting marks, or buttons associated with local militia).
  • The final decision to record a find will be based on your local knowledge and experience, supplemented (where necessary) by the advice of colleagues. If in doubt, ask.

Recording Priorities

  • Priority will be given to finds with good findspots; at least a 6-figure NGR, though ideally greater using GPS. Exceptions may be made in certain circumstances.
  • FLOs will selectively record post-medieval objects and coins (i.e. those dating to after 1540). Exceptions can be made for items of social or historical interest.
  • Priority will be given to Treasure finds in view of the time constraints stipulated by the Act.
  • Priority will be given to new assemblages, such as those which indicate previously unknown sites, and finds which advance knowledge of known 'sites' or landscapes.
  • Priority will be given to finds that hold greater potential for advancing knowledge of material culture (e.g. typology, dating, distribution etc.).

Priority Checklist (the more ticks an object has the more likely its importance)

  • Does this find have at least a 6-figure NGR?
  • Is it of national, regional or local importance?
  • Does it help identify an area of archaeological potential?
  • Does it shed new light on a previously known site?
  • Is it an object type that is being researched, or has research potential?
  • Is it potential Treasure?
  • Is it likely to advance knowledge of material culture (such as typology)?

Advice to finders

  • It is important to explain that the decision to reject a find does not necessarily indicate that it has no archaeological value. Finders should be encouraged to maintain their collections in sufficient order so that non-recorded finds could (in theory) be recorded at a later date.