News from the Scheme

David Williams

Published: 4 days, 10 hours ago Author:

David Williams excavates the Watlington Hoard

We heard yesterday that our friend and colleague David Williams, FLO for Surrey and East Berkshire, passed away at the weekend.

David had worked for the PAS since 2003. He was a loyal colleague, always ready to respond to a call for help from his fellow FLOs, whether it be attending a rally miles away from his own home or excavating an in situ find. The most recent example of this is the Watlington hoard of Viking coins, ingots and jewellery, acquired earlier this year by the Ashmolean museum. Day to day, David was an unwavering support to his FLO colleagues, always ready to share his invaluable knowledge with others.

David was passionate about forging good relationships with both finders and landowners. At rallies he was often to be seen walking the fields, chatting to finders and encouraging them to record their finds. He had many loyal finders and David always had time for them, not just to record their finds but as good friends.

David was an involved member and great supporter of the Finds Research Group and contributed a number of datasheets, most notably those on 'Stirrup Terminals' and 'Anglo-Scandinavian Horse Harness Fittings'. Probably his best-known publication amongst finds specialists is the regularly-thumbed CBA Research Report 'Late Saxon Stirrup-Strap Mounts'. David was also a talented illustrator and all his publications are self-illustrated.

David leaves a large hole in PAS and we will miss him very much.

20th Anniversary Marks Record Year for Treasure Found by the Public

Published: 1 week, 5 days ago Author:

At the launch of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and Treasure annual reports at the British Museum, John Glen MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, announced that the number of new Treasure discoveries by members of the public had hit a record level, with 1,120 finds in 2016. This is the highest annual figure since the Treasure Act came into law exactly 20 years ago. In addition, there were a further 81,914 archaeological finds recorded through the Portable Antiquities Scheme across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The vast majority of Treasure finds (96%) and PAS finds (88%) were discovered by metal-detector users.

Also announced was an updated Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales, which provides guidance on best archaeological practice for finders.

The Treasure Act (1996) marks its twentieth anniversary this year, having come into law in 1997. The Act was created in order to make it easier for national or local museums to acquire important finds for public benefit. Of the 14,000 Treasure finds over the past 20 years, 40% are now in museum collections which can be enjoyed by local communities and the wider public. These include some of the most well-known archaeological objects in the country, such as the Staffordshire Hoard, a spectacular hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver war gear which has been displayed across the UK and in the USA, and the Frome Hoard, the largest collection of Roman coins in one vessel ever found in Britain.

Over the past 20 years, Treasure and PAS finds have significantly added to our knowledge of the past. For instance, they have offered us a greater insight into ancient trade networks between England and Continental Europe during the Bronze Age, and have also provided the means for us to fundamentally reassess the nature of early medieval trade. Over 1.3 million (1,312,332) PAS finds have been recorded, from prehistoric stone implements to post-medieval buckles, and all are available online for free at finds.org.uk/database. To date over 600 research projects, including 126 PhDs, have made major use of PAS data.

Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, said "The PAS is a unique partnership between the British Museum and our national and local partners. Its main aim is to advance knowledge, but the Scheme reaches out to people across the country, and helps bring the past alive. The British Museum is passionate about the PAS and what it achieves, for archaeology and local people."

John Glen MP, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism "Twenty years after the Treasure Act came into force, it is fantastic that Treasure discoveries have reached a record high. Thanks to the PAS, every year thousands of found objects are recorded so we can learn more about our past. I am pleased that a large number of the finds have also been added to museum collections and are on public display."

Michael Lewis, Head of Portable Antiquities & Treasure at the British Museum, said "Metal-detecting can make an immense contribution to archaeological knowledge, if practiced responsibly and the vast majority of people are keen that their hobby has a positive impact. The new Code of Practice for Responsible Metal-Detecting in England and Wales outlines exactly what is expected if people want to help archaeologists better understand our shared past."

Finds on display at the launch

Two Late Bronze Age Hoards from Driffield, East Yorkshire which date to circa 950-850 BC. One hoard contains 158 axes and ingots and is the largest hoard of its kind discovered in Yorkshire. Another consists of 27 axes and ingots. The two hoards were discovered close to one another by Dave Haldenby and were excavated by Kevin Leahy (PAS Finds Adviser). It was first thought such hoards were collated to be re-used by metalworkers but now archaeologists think they might have been buried for ritual purposes. It is hoped that both hoards will be acquired by Hull and East Riding Museum, East Yorkshire.

Roman coin hoard from Piddletrenthide, Dorset, of 2,114 base silver radiates found in a pottery vessel. The coins date to 253-296 AD, of which the latest issues include the earliest products of the newly established Roman mint of London. The hoard was found by detectorist and author Brian Read, and block-lifted by Mike Trevarthen (a local archaeologist). It was unpacked and studied by conservators and archaeologists at the British Museum. This find was a rare opportunity to carry out a full archaeological excavation to try to discover more about why these coins were buried.

Anglo-Saxon grave assemblage from Winfarthing, Norfolk which was found by Thomas Lucking while metal-detecting, and excavated archaeologically. This grave proved to be the burial of a high-status lady buried between about 650-675 AD. It includes a necklace made up of two gold beads, two pendants made from identical Merovingian coins and a gold cross pendant inlaid with delicate filigree wire. Most remarkable was another large pendant worn lower down on the woman's chest. Made of gold, it has hundreds of tiny garnets inlaid into it in cloisonné patterns, including sinuous interlacing beasts and geometrical shapes. Comparable to gold and garnet jewellery from Sutton Hoo and the Staffordshire Hoard, it marks its wearer out as having been of the highest status in life, and through wearing a cross, among the earliest Anglo-Saxon converts to Christianity. Norfolk Museums Services are raising money to acquire this nationally-significant find for its collection at Norwich Castle Museum.

Notes to Editors

The PAS is a partnership project, managed by the British Museum working with at least 119 national and local partners to deliver the Scheme's aims. It is funded through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport grant to the British Museum with local partner contributions. All the Finds Liaison Officers working for the PAS are employed locally, but work as a national team.

Thousands of archaeological objects are discovered every year, many by members of the public, particularly by people while metal-detecting. If recorded, these finds have great potential to transform archaeological knowledge, helping archaeologists understand when, where and how people lived in the past. PAS (www.finds.org.uk) offers the only proactive mechanism for recording such finds, which are made publicly available on its online database.

The PAS has also benefited from Internships funded by the Headley Trust, providing opportunities for people to develop a career in archaeology. Also, the Graham and Joanna Barker Fund, which has enabled extra support for the PAS in areas where resources are low. The PAS welcomes anyone interested in supporting its work locally to contact the British Museum.

As part of the HLF funded project PASt Explorers: finds recording in the local community, the PAS is working with volunteers across the country to record archaeological finds made by the public and to get people involved in archaeology. In 2016, 202 volunteers, including 102 metal-detectorists who record their own finds on the PAS database, have contributed to the work of the Scheme.

Many organizations have also supported the acquisition of Treasure finds, including Art Fund, the Headley Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund. Without these, as well as public donations, many important archaeological finds would not be in public collections.

The Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales has been endorsed by: Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum of Wales / PAS Cymru , the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers, the British Museum / Portable Antiquities Scheme, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, the Council for British Archaeology, the Country Land & Business Association, the Institute for Archaeology (University College London), Historic England, the National Farmers' Union, the Royal Commission on the Historical & Ancient Monuments of Wales, and the Society of Museum Archaeologists.

PASt Explorers Conference 2017: Telling Tales

Published: Wednesday 9th August 2017 Author:


One database; thousands of stories.

Objects have the potential to excite and inspire us. They are a direct link to our past. Over 1.2 million objects have been recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database. Within these objects are hundreds, possibly thousands, of stories from our past.

The PASt Explorers Project Conference 2017 will celebrate and share some of these stories, from tales of discovery to the ways in which PAS data is being used to unlock our shared history.

Stories will be told through PAS volunteers.


We are pleased to announce that booking is now open!The conference this year is being hosted at National Museum Cardiff on Saturday 18thNovember and will feature object stories told through PAS volunteers.

Admission is free, but booking is essential. Tea and coffee will be provided.

Please visithttp://bit.ly/2vj0iZUto book.

Portable Antiquities Scheme Conference 2017: 20 Years of Treasure

Published: Thursday 13th July 2017 Author:

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the commencement of the Treasure Act 1996 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In this time over 11,000 Treasure finds have been reported under the Act, presenting local museums with an opportunity to acquire important objects from all periods of British history. Treasure objects not acquired by museums have a permanent record on the Portable Antiquities Scheme online database.

This conference will consider Treasure now, and look at what has been learnt in the past 20 years. There will be particular focus on discovery, acquisition and interpretation with relevant case-studies. The conference will also look forward, considering the potential of Treasure in the years to come.

Speakers include:

  • Ian Richardson, Treasure Registrar, Portable Antiquities Scheme

  • Anna Booth, Finds Liaison Officer, Portable Antiquities Scheme

  • Penny Bull, Senior Programmes Manager, Art Fund

  • Andrew Woods, Curator of Numismatics, York Museums Trust

  • Natalie Buy, Curator of Archaeology, York Museums Trust

  • Tim Pestell, Curator of Archaeology, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

  • Mike Heyworth, Director, Council for British Archaeology

Full programme to follow.

Tickets are free but booking is essential. To book your place, please go to:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/portable-antiquities-scheme-conference-2017-20-years-of-treasure-tickets-35401941159

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Frome Hoard declared the nation’s favourite Treasure find

Published: Tuesday 23rd May 2017 Author:

The Frome Hoard has been declared the nation's favourite Treasure find following a vote by readers of the Telegraph. The poll was undertaken to mark the 20th anniversary of the Treasure Act law that was implemented in 1997. A list of the top 20 finds was developed by a panel and was then put to the vote:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wellbeing/mood-and-mind/treasure-20-vote-favourite/

The Frome Hoard of over 52,000 coins is now housed in the Museum of Somerset. The Roman hoard was discovered in 2010 by metal detectorist Dave Crisp. All Treasure finds on the list are available to see at local museums across the country.

The British Museum has a central role in administering finds reported under the Treasure Act.

On 24th September 1997 the common law of treasure trove, in place in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for more than 500 years, was replaced by the Treasure Act 1996. This marked a change for the fortune of artefacts found in these countries, allowing thousands of important finds to be acquired by public collections for all to enjoy.

The Frome Hoard

In 2010 Dave Crisp found the hoard dating to the 3rd century AD while metal-detecting near Frome, and reported the find to his local Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Initially Mr Crisp found 21 coins, but when he came across a pot filled with more he knew he needed archaeological help to excavate them. It is the largest Roman coin hoard to have been found in a single container with 52,503 coins. The excavation, led by Alan Graham, lifted the coins in layers which has enabled us to determine that the hoard was buried in a single act.

The coins comes from a time of political turmoil in the Roman Empire in the 3rd century AD. The hoard was possibly hidden due to a time of instability in Britain when Carausius, a military commander of the Roman Empire, revolted and declared himself ruler of an independent Britain and Gaul. Carausius held power for seven years before being assassinated by his finance minister Allectus who then seized power and ruled over Britain and Gaul. However, there is increasingly strong evidence that the hoard represented a ritual offering to the gods, made by an ancient water course near a spring.

The coins span 40 years from around AD 250 to 290 and the great majority are of the denomination known as 'radiates', made of debased silver or bronze. Over 25 rulers are represented in the hoard, including several from a breakaway 'Gallic' Empire. One of the most important aspects of the hoard is that it contains a large number of coins of Carausius, who ruled Britain independently from AD 286 to AD 293 and was the first Roman emperor to strike coins in Britain. The hoard contains over 850 of his coins, making it the largest group of his coins to survive from a hoard. Amongst these coins are five rare examples of his silver denarii, the only coins of their type being struck anywhere in the Roman Empire at the time.

The entire hoard includes coins minted by 23 emperors and three emperors' wives. Other rulers featured include Valerian (AD 253-60) who died in captivity in Persia, Aurelian (AD 270-5) who quashed Zenobia's revolt at Palmyra, and Diocletian (AD 284-305) who carried out major reforms of the Empire, securing its future for another century or so.

Michael Lewis, Head of Portable Antiquities & Treasure, the British Museum, said, 'It is fantastic news that the public have voted for their favourite Treasure find and that the winner is the Frome Hoard. The hoard itself is so important because the coins in it were deposited in a container over time, not in a single event, and this transformed archaeologists thinking about why some Roman coin hoards were buried. The hoard was acquired by Somerset Museums and ensured that this important find can be displayed for local people to learn about and enjoy. The finder of the Frome Hoard, Dave Crisp acted impeccably at the time of its discovery. Realising the find was important he stopped digging and called his local Finds Liaison Officer for archaeological help which ensured the find was properly excavated, and the immediate context of the hoard properly understood. Although the Frome Hoard was the winner of the public vote, all the finds in the top 20 are to be celebrated in their own right. It is truly remarkable that these finds, most found by everyday people, are transforming our understanding of Britain's past, and all 20 are in museums across England and Wales for the public to see and experience'.

Notes to editors

For more information, news and events celebrating Treasure 20 throughout 2017 see the webpage:

https://finds.org.uk/treasure/advice/treasure20

Follow updates and join in the conversations on Treasure 20 via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #Treasure20 and follow the Museum @britishmuseum

For more Treasure20 content, follow the British Museum blog at http://blog.britishmuseum.org/

Deciding the top 20

The Telegraph newspaper launched the campaign to begin the celebrations of the initiation of the Treasure act by inviting readers to choose their favourite Treasure find of the last 20 years, from a short list of 20 compiled by a panel of expert judges, consisting of:

Michael Lewis - Head of Portable Antiquities and Treasure at the British Museum

Mary-Ann Ochota - Anthropologist, author and broadcaster

Steve Trow - Director of Research for Historic England

Mike Heyworth - Chairman of the Council for British Archaeology

Edward Besly - Numismatist and Assistant Keeper at National Museum Wales

Tim Pestell - Curator of Archaeology collections at Norwich Castle Museum

Keith Miller - Journalist for the Daily Telegraph

The judges discussed the virtues of a host of Treasure finds, but after much debate eventually selected the final twenty, based on the following criteria:

1.The find should advance archaeological knowledge, whether that be of a particular period of time or for the locality in which it was found.

2.The find should have been recovered in a way that is an example of best practice. See the Code of Practice for responsible detecting https://finds.org.uk/getinvolved/guides/codeofpractice for more information.

3.The find should add value to the national collection, whether that be of a national or local museum.

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Piano Hoard declared Treasure

Published: Thursday 20th April 2017 Author:

An inquest was resumed today by H.M. Senior Coroner, Mr. John Ellery at Shrewsbury Coroner's Court, in relation to a substantial find of potential Treasure discovered within a piano in South West Shropshire. The inquest was originally opened on 12/1/17 and was adjourned on 16/3/17 pending a final decision on 20th April 2017.

The coroner has decided that the coin hoard qualifies as Treasure as:

1.It is substantially made of gold or silver;

2.It was deliberately concealed by the owner with a view to later recovery;

3.The owner, or his or her present heirs or successors, remain unknown.

The coroner had adjourned the inquest twice in order to allow the public to come forward with information regarding the hoards original owners and their heirs or successors. He is very grateful to the media for the publicity they gave the story and for all the members of the public who have come forward with information or potential claims (around 50 in total)

However after thorough investigation of the claims the coroner is convinced there is sufficient evidence to declare the find Treasure.

The Hoard

The hoard is the largest gold sovereign hoard ever found, consisting of 913 gold sovereigns and half sovereigns dating from 1847 to 1915. The coins date from the reigns of Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V. The hoard totals in excess of 6kg of gold bullion. The coins were found under the keyboard of the piano carefully stitched into seven cloth bound packets and a single leather drawstring purse. The oldest coin within the group was made in 1847 and the youngest in 1915. This suggests that the coins were deliberately hidden after this date.

The Piano

The coins were deliberately hidden within an upright piano made by Broadwood & Sons of London and sold to a music establishment in Essex in 1906. The enterprise which purchased the piano has been traced to two gentleman music teachers / piano tuners Messrs. Beavan & Mothersole of 27, West Road, Saffron Walden Essex. The history of the piano after that time is uncertain. But in 1983 it was purchased by a local family in Saffron Walden area - the new owners, Mr and Mrs Hemming bought the piano for their children to learn to play and it has been in their family until very recently. The Hemmings moved to Shropshire in the late 90's and recently they responded to a request from Bishops Castle Community College for a donation of musical instruments. They donated the piano to the school to enable children to learn and enjoy making music.

The Find

The hoard was discovered beneath the keyboard of a piano whilst it was being overhauled and tuned by piano technician and tuner Martin Backhouse. A number of the packages were opened by the tuner who informed the College. On realising the significance of the find the college contacted the coroner's service and were instructed to call Peter Reavill the British Museum's Finds Liaison Officer for the region. The hoard was brought to Peter in its original packaging for analysis.

Peter and staff from the Portable Antiquities Scheme have identified and catalogued the extensive hoard. Within their investigation they found that one of the packages of coins had been packed using re cycled cardboard. The cardboard is from an advertising board for Shredded Wheat and helps date the packaging and hiding of the coins within the piano to a period post 1926 - most probably between 1926-1946.

What happens next?

The coroner has declared the find 'Treasure'. Ownership of the find now lies with the Crown. An independent Treasure Valuation Committee will be convened at the British Museum and a market value placed on the hoard. Museums then have an opportunity to acquire some or all of the find. Saffron Walden Museum have expressed an interest in acquiring some of the hoard given the local context.

The finder (Martin Backhouse) and the owner (Bishops Castle Community College) will share a reward if any of the coins are acquired by museums.

For images or B-roll footage please contact Hannah Boulton 020 7323 8522 or hboulton@britishmuseum.org.

To speak to those involved in the case please contact Nicola Elvin on 07756 436846 or nelvin@britishmuseum.org

The story of the piano hoard can be seen at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MGdOFnSTOU&feature=youtu.be

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Inquest into Piano Hoard deferred; appeal for more information

Published: Thursday 16th March 2017 Author:

An inquest was resumed today by H.M. Senior Coroner, Mr. John Ellery at Shrewsbury Coroner's Court, in relation to a substantial find of potential Treasure recently discovered within a piano in South West Shropshire. The inquest was originally opened on 12/1/17 and adjourned awaiting further investigation.

The find was swiftly reported by the current owners of the piano and was deposited at Ludlow Museum Resource Centre / Shropshire Museums before Christmas. The coroner commends all parties who have to date provided him with valuable information and co-operation in this case.

The hoard is less than 300 years old and to qualify as Treasure under the terms defined by the Treasure Act (1996) it must be:

1.Substantially made of gold or silver;

2.Deliberately concealed by the owner with a view to later recovery;

3.The owner, or his or her present heirs or successors, must be unknown.

On the 12/1/17 Mr. Ellery asked the public for information regarding the hoards original owners and their heirs or successors. He is very grateful to the media for the publicity they gave the story and for all the members of the public who have come forward with information or with potential claims.

Today, Mr Ellery heard about the nature of the find. The hoard is formed of gold sovereigns and half sovereigns dating from the reigns of Victoria, Edward VII and George V. The oldest coin within the group was made in 1847 and the youngest in 1915. This suggests that the coins were deliberately hidden after this date.

He also heard that the history of the piano had been securely traced after 1983. He is still seeking information about the ownership of the piano between 1906 and 1983. We know that the piano was originally sold to Messrs Beavan and Mothersole of Saffron Walden, Essex in 1906 and was acquired through private sale again in Saffron Walden in 1983.

The Coroner has therefore deferred the conclusion of the inquest to allow for more time for anyone to come forward with information about the piano from the North Essex / Saffron Walden area.

The inquest will resume and conclude on 20th April 2017.

Anyone with information about the previous owners of the piano, their heirs or successors, or the extent of the hoard, should provide this in writing to Mr. Ellery at the Coroner's Office for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin at the Shirehall, Abbey Foregate Shrewsbury SY2 6ND.

The Coroner will require evidence about:

  • the extent of the find (i.e. what it comprises);
  • how, when, where and why the find was concealed;
  • evidence upon which they can be sure of the ownership by any potential claimant.

All other enquiries regarding the case should be made in the first instance to Peter Reavill, Finds Liaison Officer for Shropshire and Herefordshire, British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme. c/o Ludlow Museum Resource Centre, 7-9 Parkway, Ludlow Shropshire SY8 2PG Tel: 01743 25 4748 Email: peter.reavill@shrophire.gov.uk

Press enquiries in the first instance should be made to Hannah Boulton - Head of Press and Marketing, Communications. The British Museum T (UK +44) 020 7323 8522 hboulton@britishmuseum.org

There is no penalty for mistaken claims made in good faith but any false claims may be reported to the police for consideration of any offences disclosed

-----------------------------------------------------

Notes for editiors:

The coins were deliberately hidden within an upright piano made by Broadwood & Sons of London and sold to a music establishment in Essex in 1906. The enterprise which purchased the piano has been traced to two gentleman music teachers / piano tuners Messrs. Beavan & Mothersole of 27, West Road, Saffron Walden Essex

The recent history of the piano has been traced to around 1983 where it was purchased by a local family in Saffron Walden area.

The cache of gold items were reported to Peter Reavill, Finds Liaison Officer for the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme based with Shropshire Museums. The objects will qualify as 'Treasure' under the terms of the Treasure Act (1996) and thus be the property of the Crown, if the coroner finds that they have been hidden with the intent of future recovery. However, if the original owner, or his or her heirs, are able to establish their title to the find, this will override the Crown's claim. The coroner has therefore suspended the inquest until mid-April 2016 in order to allow possible claimants to come forward.

Full information about the size, nature and historic value of the cache will be revealed at the subsequent inquest in April and has been deliberately withheld to allow the coroner to make all necessary enquiries.

0M3leS_o2a-w9e2oyiyxvDuRvEhvkPQN3gabSvg1

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Rare flowers discovered in Roman hoard

Published: Wednesday 8th February 2017 Author: Richard Henry

This remarkable find was made by metal detectorists in the Vale of Pewsey in 2014 who reported the find to Richard Henry, the Wiltshire Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme. The bronze vessels had been removed from the ground by the detectorists, but crucially, they had not attempted to clean the bowls and the delicate remains of the packing material were preserved in place.

Finds Liaison Officer Richard Henry has led the exciting quest to discover more about the find. He brought in a team to excavate the site of the discovery, led by David Roberts of Historic England and with the Assistant County Archaeologist, members of the Wiltshire Archaeology Field Group and the finders. Richard then brought in more experts, including Dr Ruth Pelling of Historic England and Dr Michael Grant who identified the plant remains and pollen. Peter Marshall, also of Historic England, coordinated the radiocarbon dating of the flowers and undertook analysis of the results. The project has been led by the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme and supported by Historic England, Southampton University, the Association for Roman Archaeology and Wiltshire Museum.

Museum Director, David Dawson, said "Richard Henry has led this remarkable partnership project, drawing specialists from across the country to piece together the fascinating story of the burial of Roman bronze cauldrons that took place on a summer's day 1,500 years ago. We are thrilled to be able to display this important material".

Richard Henry said "Such discoveries should be left in situ to allow full archaeological study of the find and its context. The finders did not clean or disturb the vessels which has allowed us to undertake detailed further research. If the vessels had been cleaned none of this research would have been possible"

Ruth Pelling commented that "It has been an absolute pleasure to examine this unique assemblage. By combining the plant macro and pollen evidence we have been able to identify the time of year the vessels were buried, the packing material used, the nature of the surrounding vegetation and the likely date of burial."

The finders generously donated the plant remains to the Wiltshire Museum to allow the detailed research to take place. The bronze vessels do not meet the criteria of the Treasure Act 1996 and have been retained by the finders. A selection of flowers are on display at the Wiltshire Museum, Devizes from 8 February.

https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/720549

A resized image of Pewsey vessel hoard illustration by Nick Griffiths annotated by Mike Pitts

The Pewsey Vessel hoard (WILT-0F898C) illustration by Nick Griffiths and annotated by Mike Pitts

The black kanpweed flowers

A resized image of Roman vessel hoard - the organic material

https://finds.org.uk/database/images/image/id/600469

Ruth Pelling willbe talking about research on the flowers along with other recent Wiltshire discoveries at the Salisbury Museum on the 8thof March. The talk is titled "Unexpected treasures: Archaeology and botany".

Ruth Pelling and Stacey Adams will be talking about their research on the flowers along with other recent Wiltshire discoveries at the Archaeology in Wiltshire Conference on 1 April in Devizes. Their talk is titled "Bake Off and Brewing in Roman and Early Saxon Wiltshire: recent archaeobotanical finds'.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme
• Thousands of archaeological objects are discovered every year, many by members of the public, particularly by people while metal-detecting. If recorded, these finds have great potential to transform archaeological knowledge, helping archaeologists understand when, where and how people lived in the past.
• The Portable Antiquities Schemewww.finds.org.ukoffers the only proactive mechanism for recording such finds, which are made publicly available on its online database. This data is an important educational and research resource that can be used by anyone interested in learning more.
• The Portable Antiquities Scheme is managed by the British Museum, and funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport through a grant, the British Museum and local partners. Its work is guided by the Portable Antiquities Advisory Group, whose membership includes leading archaeological, landowner and metal-detecting organisations.

The Wiltshire Museum
• Wiltshire Museum is home to the best Bronze Age archaeology collection in Britain, The collections are Designated by Government as being of National Significance
• Wiltshire Museum is an independent charity, with some revenue funding from Wiltshire Council and Devizes Town Council.
• The Museum is run by the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society (WANHS), a registered charity founded in 1853.
• Our mission statement is 'Inspiring people to explore the archaeology, history and environment of Wiltshire'.
• For more details of the Wiltshire Archaeology Field Group, seehttp://wiltshireafg.weebly.com.

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The 'Piano Hoard'

Published: Thursday 12th January 2017 Author:

An inquest was opened today by H.M. Senior Coroner, Mr. John Ellery at Shrewsbury Coroner's Court, in relation to a substantial find of potential Treasure recently discovered within a piano in South West Shropshire. The find was swiftly reported by the new owners of the piano and was deposited at Ludlow Museum Resource Centre / Shropshire Museums before Christmas. The coroner commends all parties who have to date provided him with valuable information and co-operation in this case.

The finds are highly unusual in nature being substantially made of gold and appear to have been deliberately hidden within the last 110 years. An inquest has been opened to determine whether the hoard qualifies as Treasure under the terms defined by the Treasure Act (1996).

For a hoard less than 300 years old to be Treasure, it must be:

1.Substantially made of gold or silver

2.Deliberately concealed by the owner with a view to later recovery

3.The owner, or his or her present heirs or successors, must be unknown

The inquest will be resumed and concluded at the Shrewsbury Coroner's Court on the

16th day of March 2017.

Anyone with any information about the original owners of the piano and/or of the potential treasure, their heirs or successors, should provide this in writing to Mr. Ellery at the Coroner's Office for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin at the Shirehall, Abbey Foregate Shrewsbury SY2 6ND.

The Coroner will require evidence about:

-the nature of the find (i.e. what it comprises);
-how, when, where and why the find was concealed
-evidence upon which they can be sure of the ownership by any potential claimant.

All other enquiries regarding the case should be made in the first instance to Peter Reavill, Finds Liaison Officer for Shropshire and Herefordshire, British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme. c/o Ludlow Museum Resource Centre, 7-9 Parkway, Ludlow Shropshire SY8 2PG Tel: 01743 25 4748 Email: peter.reavill@shrophire.gov.uk

Thereis no penalty for mistaken claims made in good faith but any false claims may be reported to the police for consideration of any offences disclosed

Peter Reavill
Finds Liaison Officer for Shropshire and Herefordshire,
British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme.
12th January 2017

Notes for editors

The cache of items were deliberately hidden within an upright piano made by Broadwood & Sons of London and sold to a music establishment in Essex in 1906. The enterprise which purchased the piano has been traced to a shop or wholesaler of music / musical instruments which was owned by Messrs. Beavan & Mothersole of 27, West Road, Saffron Walden.

The recent history of the piano has been traced to around 1983 where it was purchased by a local family in Saffron Walden area.

The cache of gold items were reported to Peter Reavill, Finds Liaison Officer for the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme based with Shropshire Museums. The objects will qualify as 'Treasure' under the terms of the Treasure Act (1996) and thus be the property of the Crown, if the coroner finds that they have been hidden with the intent of future recovery. However, if the original owner, or his or her heirs, are able to establish their title to the find, this will override the Crown's claim. The coroner has therefore suspended the inquest until early March 2016 in order to allow possible claimants to come forward.

Full information about the size, nature and value of the cache will be revealed at the subsequent inquest in March and has been deliberately withheld to allow the coroner to make all necessary enquiries.

Contacts:

Peter Reavill, Finds Liaison Officer for Shropshire and Herefordshire, British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme / Birmingham Museums Trust. c/o Ludlow Museum Resource Centre, 7-9 Parkway, Ludlow Shropshire SY8 2PG 01743 25 4748 peter.reavill@shropshire.gov.uk

Ian Richardson, Treasure Registrar, British Museum, London WC1B 3DG, tel.: 020 7323 8611, e-mail: irichardson@britishmuseum.org

Michael Lewis, Head of Portable Antiquities and Treasure, British Museum, tel: 020 7323 8611; e-mail: mlewis@britishmuseum.org

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Launch of PAS and Treasure Annual Reports

Published: Monday 28th November 2016 Author:

This morning, at the launch of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and Treasure annual reports at the British Museum, Matthew Hancock, Ministerof State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, announced the recording of a further 82,272 archaeological finds made by the public in 2015). Finds discovered include a Bronze Age gold torc (CAM-E5D871; the largest ever found), a beautifully enamelled Anglo-Saxon mount (SUSS-F9E7AA)and an intriguing hoard of silver coin clippings deposited in the late 17th century (GLO-0794E0). These finds, and others, are rewriting the archaeology and history of Britain and enabling people across the county to learn more about the past of their local area.

A further 1,008 Treasure finds have been reported this year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, of which the most significant have been acquired by museums across the country; next year the British Museum with its local partners will be celebrating 20 years since the the Treasure Act came into force, and the establishment of the PAS.

The PAS has recorded over 1.2 million archaeological finds to date (since 1997). This data has been widely used by academics, students and many others by searching the PAS database (www.finds.org.uk/database). PAS data has been used in over 528 research projects, including 25 pieces of large-scale reaserch and 110 PhDs.

The PAS is a partnership project, managed by the British Museum working with at least 119 national and local partners to deliver the Scheme's aims. It is an important part of the British Museums' National Programmes activity which extends across the UK.

As part of the HLF funded project PASt Explorers, the PAS is working with volunteers across the country to record archaeological finds made by the public and get involved in archaeology. In 2015, 259 volunteers, including 100 self-recorders (metal-detectorists who record their own finds on the PAS database), have contributed to the work of the Scheme.

The PAS is now working closely with other Europe areas, including Denmark, Flanders and the Netherlands, where initatives are underway to record archaeological finds made by the public. Also there are plans for these recording schemes to work even closer together, to share information about archaeological discoveries and recording them. A North Sea Area finds recording group has been recently established to take this forward.

Tracey Crouch, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage said "It is fascinating to think that, thanks to the PAS and Treasure Act, the public are rewriting the history and archaeology of this country. That so many amazing finds are made each year is testimony ot the diverse and long history of England and Wales and it is marvelous that these finds then end up in museums across the country for all to enjoy".

Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, said "The British Museum is a world museum but it is also a museum for Britain. The PAS contributes enormously to our National Programme activity and our work across the country. It is an amazing partnership, drawing together over 100 local museums and other organisations to deliver the Scheme's aims of recording the past to advance knowledge and sharing that knowledge with all".

Both reports are available for download from the Publications tab on this website

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