Articles about the Scheme in the Guardian

Guardian open platform logo

All information displayed on these pages has been retrieved for the search "portable antiquities scheme archaeology" and is returned via the Guardian Platform using their applications programming interface API.

The search returns data that is outside the Scheme's control, and we are not responsible for content on the Guardian website. We do however, hope that you find this function useful.

Rare find highlights antiquities fears

Some 1,650 years ago someone was so comprehensively fed up with the state of the Roman empire that they committed an act of treason, blasphemy and probably criminal defacing of the coinage. They cursed the emperor Valens by hammering a coin with his image into lead, then folding the lead over his face. The battered scraps of metal discovered by Tom Redmayne, an amateur metal detector, in a muddy field in Lincolnshire are a unique find. The mid-fourth century was a time of turmoil in Roman Britain. A Roman aristocrat, Valentinus, had been exiled to Britain where he was stirring up trouble. Thousands of Roman cursing charms survive, scrawled on pieces of lead with a hole punched to hang them up. Many were found thrown into the hot springs in Bath, demanding revenge on those guilty of petty theft. Nothing as audacious as cursing an emperor has ever been found before. However, Sam Moorhead, a coins expert at the British Museum and expert adviser to the Porta…

Read entire story »

Tags: UK news Article Maev Kennedy The Guardian Main section UK news and analysis

Lost or found?

One of the unsung successes of this government is the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which records archaeological objects found by members of the public and makes that information available for all on its online database. The scheme recently recorded its 300,000th find. But all that is now under threat, an unintended consequence of this year's comprehensive spending review by which the government fixes its funding for the next three years. Although the spending review proved to be much better for museums and the heritage than was feared - a tribute to the negotiating ability of James Purnell, the new secretary of state - the Portable Antiquities Scheme comes under the aegis of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, the one organisation that was singled out for cuts in the spending review, as its grant is being reduced by …

Read entire story »

Tags: Opinion Comment Museums Culture Art and design Spending review 2007 Article

Scheme to log treasures faces cuts

Russell Peach's plastic ice cream tub contained many items that made his metal detector bleep excitedly, but only one that made an archaeologist's heart skip a beat - a unique find that will rewrite one small corner of British history. "I didn't know what it was, I just had a feeling it was really old," Peach, a landscape contractor, said of the small muddy piece of metal. Peach's treasure has turned out to be a copper-alloy comb, almost 2,000 years old, with a swirly decoration known from contemporary mirrors. Similar decoration is known on bone combs, but only one similar metal comb is known in Europe, from a site in France - and Peach's is better. "He brought us in six ice cream tubs in total and the contents included buttons, modern coins, and several bits of broken tractor springs," said Angie Bolton, the finds officer who records amateur archaeology discoveries, in Warwickshire and Worcestershire. "Then I saw what just had to be an Iron Age comb, but of a…

Read entire story »

Tags: Art Art and design Heritage News Culture Article Maev Kennedy

Metal gurus

Eyes down and bulbous headphones attached to their ears, 17 figures march like purposeful ants across bleak rows of winter wheat. It is the coldest day of winter so far. A blast that forecasters like to call arctic whips in from the north. The Isle of Wight is as exposed as a rowing boat on an icy ocean. "On days like this you begin to wonder about your sanity," says one of these amateur sleuths and treasure seekers known as metal detectorists. Another swears he is sweating inside his fisherman's floatation suit. I am wearing a shirt, jumper, fleece, padded jacket and raincoat with jeans, walking boots and leather gloves and I have never been so cold in my life. Trying not to question anyone's sanity, I trudge up the hill with members of the Isle of Wight Metal Detecting Club, spades over our shoulders, sleet spitting venomously on our cheeks. Swinging my borrowed Laser Rapier metal detector across the sodden earth is a bit like vacuuming. Except that I am not indoors…

Read entire story »

Tags: Art Culture Art and design Article Patrick Barkham The Guardian G2 Comment & features

Not for sale yet - the 'cursed' 14 pieces of silver worth £100m

One of the most beautiful and infamous treasure hoards of the 20th century, 14 pieces of Roman-era silver of staggering quality, will resurface today on display in London, to the consternation of leading archaeologists who regard it as archaeological loot. Although Bonhams auction house, which will display the Sevso Hoard, insists no sale is planned, the Marquess of Northampton who bought the silver for an undisclosed sum in the 1980s recently said he "hopes" the silver will be sold, and that it has "cursed" his family. It now belongs to a trust he founded. But the Hungarian government has written to Bonhams to protest at the exhibition and reiterate its claim that the silver was found on Hungarian soil and illegally exported from the country. Lord Renfrew, retired professor of archaeology at Cambridge, an expert on illicit antiquities, said: "It looks very much as if it is being touted about again. Whether anyone can actually prove it, it is pretty sure that i…

Read entire story »

Tags: UK news Culture Art and design Article Maev Kennedy The Guardian Main section National news

Netted: agreement to control sale of antiquities on eBay

After months of negotiation, agreement was reached yesterday between the online auction site eBay, the British Museum, and the government's Museums, Libraries and Archives council, to control the booming trade in British antiquities on the site. Shoals of archaeological objects, an average of 600 a day when volunteers monitored the site, appear on the site: yesterday's offers included an elegant Roman bronze dress pin reportedly found in Bedfordshire, a small gold medieval ring, and a silver cap badge, once worn by a member of the household of the unfortunate Richard Duke of York, who would go on to become one of the princes in the Tower and a victim one of the most famous unsolved murder mysteries in British history. Most are small base-metal objects of low monetary value, found by hobbyists wielding metal detectors - but priceless archaeological information is being lost with them, including previously unrecorded Roman and prehistoric sites. All finders are e…

Read entire story »

Tags: Culture News Article Maev Kennedy

Archaeologists and amateurs agree pact

The acquisition by the British Museum of a thumbnail-sized chunk of battered inscribed gold - a very rare runic inscription, probably hacked up by Vikings centuries after it was made - marks a historic truce between archaeologists and metal detectors after decades of skirmishing. While amateur users of metal detectors have made some of the most spectacular archaeological finds of recent years, many archaeologists have regarded them as little better than hobby looters. Now, after months of negotiation, the two sides are set to announce a code of conduct. The code, which will be launched at the British Museum today, has been agreed by all the main metal detector clubs, landowners, archaeologists, museums, archaeological societies and English Heritage. "This is the end of the war between the archaeologists and the detectorists," said Roger Bland, an archaeologist seconded by the British Museum to head the Portable Antiquities scheme, which encourages voluntary reporting …

Read entire story »

Tags: UK news Culture Art and design Article Maev Kennedy The Guardian Main section National news

Truce called in war over Viking relics

Archaeologists trying to trace how the Vikings arrived in Yorkshire as feared raiders and quickly became (fairly) peaceful traders and farmers have called a truce with people they used to fear as raiders: metal detectorists. These enthusiastic amateurs have been unearthing more Viking finds than professional archaeologists in recent years but damaging the sites by digging them up. But this summer York University academics are working alongside local detectorists after deciding there is more to be gained by cooperation than trying to warn them off. Their three-year project under the rather unromantic title, the Viking and Anglo-Saxon Landscape and Economy project (Vasle), builds on the success of the government's 1997 Portable Antiquities Scheme which has led to the recording of tens of thousands of objects found by the public. Julian Richards, a professor at the department of archaeology at York, said: "Archaeologists have had great difficulty locating A…

Read entire story »

Tags: Higher education Education UK news Research Article Donald MacLeod

Foil reveals Roman magic

The Norfolk gardener was quite irritated at finding bits of rubbish mixed with the expensive topsoil he had bought: he picked out what he took to be foil from a champagne bottle and unrolled it - to reveal a lost world of Roman magic. Experts from the British Museum and Oxford University have been poring over the scrap of gold foil, no bigger than a postage stamp, which went on display for the first time yesterday, with other archaeological finds reported in the past year. "It meant nothing to me at first, I wondered if it was a scrap of decoration from a garment or a piece of furniture," said Adrian Marsden, the finds officer in Norwich whose desk it first landed on. "Then I suddenly saw the Greek letter A, and I knew what we must have." It is a lamella, a magical charm, one of five found in Britain, and of no more than a few dozen from anywhere in the Roman empire. The scrap of gold was one of 47,000 items reported by the public, most of them worthl…

Read entire story »

Tags: UK news Arts and humanities Higher education Education Culture Art and design Humanities Roman Britain Article Maev Kennedy

Viking burial ground dispels myth of longship marauders

A Viking burial ground, which has held bodies undisturbed for 1,000 years with all the trappings of the Sagas including swords, jewellery and firemaking materials, has been uncovered in Cumbria, after a chance find by a metal detector. The site - thought to contain the first formal burial of bodies discovered in England - is believed to date from the 10th century, when the Vikings had been Christianised, but were evidently still hedging their bets. Full details of the find at Cumwhitton, which has caused international excitement, will be announced this morning. The bodies of the four men and two women were buried in the east-west Christian alignment, but with all the grave goods they would need for the pagan afterlife - the women had rich brooches, ornate belt fittings, and a jet bracelet, a material prized as highly as gold. The men had their weapons and one had spurs, a bridle and what may be a drinking horn for the feasting he clearly expected to c…

Read entire story »

Tags: UK news Science Higher education Research Education Article Lee Glendinning Maev Kennedy

41 - 50 of 50 records.

Other formats: this page is available as xml json rss atom representations.