News from the Scheme

Treasure and Portable Antiquities annual statistical release 2008

Published: Friday 23rd July 2010 Author:

Annual statistics of the number of objects of treasure and portable antiquities in England and Wales in 2008 produced by the British Museum on behalf of DCMS were released on 23 July 2010 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Last release date: November 2009 (Treasure and portable Antiquities Annual Report 2007)

Period covered: January to December 2008

Geographic coverage: England, Wales and Northern Ireland for treasure and England and Wales for portable antiquities
Next release date: Statistics from 2009 will be published in the first quarter of 2011
Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs) record finds of treasure and portable antiquities on the Portable Antiquities database. The statistics gathered from the database together with further details of the objects found have previously been published annually in the Treasure and Portable Antiquities annual report.

Report structure/format
The report sets out the latest annual figures for the 12 months to December 2008. It also presents objects recorded by geographical area and by period and category of find. The report is available in rtf and pdf format.

Key messages

In 2008 806 finds of Treasure were reported.In 2008 53,346 finds were recorded on the Portable Antiquities database.In 2008 82 parties waived their right to a reward in 51 cases of Treasure, allowing them to be acquired by museums at no (or reduced) public cost.

Pre-release access
The document below contains a list of Ministers and officials who have received privileged early access to this release of Treasure and Portable Antiquities data. In line with best practice, the list has been kept to a minimum and those given access for briefing purposes had a maximum of 24 hours.

Contact for enquiries:

Department for Culture, Media and Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London SW1Y 5DH

evidence@culture.gsi.gov.uk

The responsible analyst for this release is Peter Antonaides
For enquiries on this release contact: 020 7 211 6188 For general enquiries telephone: 020 7211 6000 

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Scheme website and the Staffordshire Hoard are shortlisted for BAA 2010

Published: Monday 14th June 2010 Author:

BAA logoToday it was announced that two Scheme projects have been shortlisted in the prestigious British Archaeological Awards, which are sponsored by the Robert Kiln Trust. Over the last 18 months, the Scheme's ICT Adviser has rebuilt and relaunched a new website and database to record public discovery of archaeological objects. This was relaunched on the 24th March 2010 and was nominated for the awards in the 'best archaeological innovation' category. 

The second Scheme project to be entered into these awards was the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard, which was announced on September 24th 2009. This has been entered into the 'best archaeological discovery' category. The work on the Hoard has already been honoured at the Current Archaeology Conference 2010, with an award in the category for 'best archaeological rescue dig'.

Good luck to all nominees and hopefully the awards will gain publicity for the CBA's Festival of British Archaeology when the award winners are announced on July 19th at the British Museum.

Below follows the statement from the award's organisers. 

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The Trustees of the British Archaeological Awards are delighted to announce the short list of nominations for the six individual Awards which make up the 2010 British Archaeological Awards.

Established in 1976, the British Archaeological Awards are a showcase for the best in British archaeology and a central event in the archaeological calendar.

The winners of the six Awards will be announced at the 2010 Awards ceremony which will take place on 19 July at the British Museum, hosted by historian and broadcaster Michael Wood. The ceremony will be a major event within the Council for British Archaeology's Festival of British Archaeology, a huge UK-wide celebration of archaeology with more than 650 events attended by more than 250,000 people, which attracts huge national TV, radio, newspaper and magazine coverage.

The Chairman of the British Archaeological Awards trustees, Dr Mike Heyworth MBE, said:

"The wide-ranging nominations for the 2010 British Archaeological Awards demonstrate the high standard of work going on in archaeology across the United Kingdom. There is huge public interest in archaeology and increasing opportunities for everyone to get involved in archaeological projects in their area. We congratulate all the nominated projects and look forward to a lively ceremony in July when the winners of the Awards will be announced."


The short list of nominations for the six Awards are as follows:

Best Archaeological Project:

  • Archaeology of Inchmarnock Research Project
  • Mellor Heritage Project 2007-9
  • The Tarbat Discovery Programme

Best Community Archaeology Project:

  • "Discover the Lost Bishop's Palace" - Wisbech Castle Community Archaeology Project
  • Fin Cop - Solving a Derbyshire Mystery
  • Mellor Heritage Project 2007-9

Best Archaeological Book:

  • "Britain's Oldest Art: The Ice Age Cave Art of Creswell Crags" by Paul Bahn & Paul Pettitt
  • "Europe's Lost World: the re-discovery of Doggerland" by Vince Gaffney, Simon Fitch & David Smith
  • "The Rose and The Globe, playhouses of Shakespeare's Bankside, Southwark: Excavations 1988-1991" by Julian Bowsher & Pat Miller

Best Representation of Archaeology in the Media:

  • Tinderbox Productions for BBC Radio 4: In Pursuit of Treasure & The Voices Who Dug Up The Past
  • Time Team Series 16, Episode 5: Blood, Sweat & Beers - Risehill, North Yorks
  • The Thames Discovery Programme web site (www.thamesdiscovery.org)

Best Archaeological Innovation:

  • Integrated Archaeological Database (IADB: www.iadb.org.uk)
  • Lindow Man: a Bog Body Mystery Exhibition at the Manchester Museum (April 2008-April 2009)
  • The Portable Antiquities Scheme web site (www.finds.org.uk)

Best Archaeological Discovery:

  • Late Bronze Age Copper and Tin Ingots from Moor Sand
  • Links of Noltland excavations - discovery of Orkney Venus figurines
  • The Staffordshire Hoard
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New Minister visits PAS

Published: Monday 24th May 2010 Author:

Ed Vaizey viewing Roman coins with Anna BoothIn his first week as Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey attended a general meeting of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) on 21 May; besides PAS staff, Andrew Burnett (Deputy Director, British Museum) and Hedley Swain (Director, Programme Deliveries, MLA) were also present. Following a presentation of the new PAS database (by Dan Pett) and a recent coin find (by Sam Moorhead), the Minister addressed those present.

He said he was impressed by the new database and its mapping facilities: he particularly enjoyed seeing a map of finds in his own constituency of Wantage, Oxfordshire. The Minister said that PAS enabled people to become fascinated with the past, and also described it as a true partnership project. Looking to the future, he said it was clear the Government had tough decisions ahead, but he stood by what he said whilst he was Shadow Culture Minister, that PAS was a politician's dream, that it was streamlined, and he was aware that even the smallest
cut would have a big impact on delivery.

Therefore he promised that he would make a robust argument on behalf of the Scheme in the forthcoming
Spending Review. Afterwards the Minister was shown some recent finds that had come to light as a result of the PAS, and also had the opportunity to talk to Finds Liaison Officers and the Scheme's Finds Advisers.
 

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Staffordshire hoard purchased after successful fundraising campaign

Published: Tuesday 23rd March 2010 Author:

The Art Fund is delighted to announce that the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest archaeological Anglo-Saxon find ever unearthed, has been saved for the nation. The news comes after the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), the government's fund of last resort for heritage items at risk, pledged £1,285,000 - bringing the campaign to the £3.3m target, just over three weeks ahead of schedule.

Thanks to the support of the public, trusts and foundations, and the generous £1,285,000 NHMF grant, the awe-inspiring find has now been safely secured for Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. On 13 January 2010 The Art Fund launched the campaign to save the Staffordshire Hoard on behalf of both acquiring museums with a £300,000 grant and with generous pledges of £100,000 each from Birmingham and Stoke City Councils.

Stephen Deuchar, Director of The Art Fund, said:

"We have been absolutely bowled over by the enthusiasm and fascination the Staffordshire Hoard has sparked amongst the British public, as well as visitors from abroad. It is wonderful news that the NHMF has enabled the target of £3.3m to be reached ahead of the deadline, and I hope that this will give the West Midlands a head-start with the next stage in fundraising for the conservation, research and display of the treasure."

Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of NHMF, said:

"We're delighted to be able to announce this news today. The Staffordshire Hoard is an extraordinary heritage treasure. It is exactly the sort of thing the National Heritage Memorial Fund was set up to save, stepping in as the 'fund of last resort' when our national heritage is at risk, as a fitting memorial to those who have given their lives in the service of our nation. We're delighted, in our 30th anniversary year, to be able to make sure it stays just where it belongs, providing rare insights into one of the more mysterious periods of our history."

Eminent historian and broadcaster Dr David Starkey helped launch the campaign on 13 January, giving an illuminating speech on the value of the Hoard and coining the term "gangland bling" to describe its dazzling beauty and links to bloody warfare.
Today David Starkey commented:

"This is wonderful news for historians worldwide - the Staffordshire Hoard provides us with vital clues to our ancient past, and now we can set about decoding them. We're delighted that The Art Fund, the NHMF, all other funding bodies and the generous public have helped us save these breathtaking treasures for posterity. It's now vital that we think ahead towards a future conservation of the Hoard, and displays that will match the excitement of the find."

Cllr Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure Sport and Culture for Birmingham City Council said: 

"It is great achievement to secure the hoard for the West Midlands Region. Not only have we managed to raise the necessary £3.3 million to return the hoard to its rightful home a month ahead of schedule but a staggering £900,000 of this has been raised by personal donations. I have been overwhelmed by the public response and can't thank enough everyone who has given and supported our campaign in helping us bringing the Hoard home."

Councillor Hazel Lyth, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said:

"This grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund is the cherry on the cake of an extraordinary fundraising campaign which has highlighted how proud and determined the local community have been to keep the Staffordshire Hoard in the region. But this is great news for the whole country; we can now begin to unlock the secrets held within this amazing collection."

Since the launch of the campaign, over £900,000 has been raised through public donations. Over 100,000 people have visited the Staffordshire Hoard displays in Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham and the British Museum. Donations from members of the public have ranged from £1 to £100,000, and have come in from as far afield as the USA and Japan. In addition to public support, the campaign has received substantial donations from trusts and foundations.

However, The Art Fund emphasised today that there is still more work to be done. A further £1.7m must be found so that the Hoard can be properly conserved, studied and displayed. Plans for the future conservation and interpretation of the Hoard include the creation of a "Mercian Trail" which would highlight the fascinating history of Mercia, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom which covered the West Midlands area. The Hoard was found in July 2009 in a field near Lichfield, which already contains two other Anglo-Saxon treasures: the illuminated St Chad Gospels, and a stone angel. Watling Street, the famous Roman road now known as the A5, runs close by to where the Hoard lay buried for thousands of years.

Experts believe that the 1,500 pieces of Anglo-Saxon gold contain many secrets about the "Dark Ages", and there has already been much debate about the exact date at which it was buried. The Hoard also shifts the focus of Anglo-Saxon history from East to West. Previously, the most important treasure from the period was the Sutton Hoo burial ship, uncovered in Suffolk in 1939. Whilst experts believed that there would be immense wealth in Mercia, they had never found sufficient concrete evidence, until now. It could take decades to unlock all the secrets.

The further £1.7m will also facilitate the future loan of items from the Hoard to key historic venues such as Tamworth Castle and Lichfield Cathedral - both important Mercian sites.

The Staffordshire Hoard contains over 1,500 finely crafted objects, mostly gold and some inlaid with precious stones. It was unearthed in July 2009 by a metal detectorist in a field near Lichfield, and was declared Treasure on 24 September 2009. The two West Midlands museums jointly bid to acquire the Hoard on 25 November and were given until 17 April 2010 to secure it.

Exhibitions of the Hoard in Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham and the British Museum have drawn visitors from near and far. One enthusiast from South Carolina travelled 3,000 miles to see the displays at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, whilst a 101 year-old antiques fan from Barlaston was recorded as the oldest person to visit the same exhibition. The Art Fund also received a touching letter from one nine-year-old girl from Devon, who pledged £10 from her own piggy bank to help "save the treasure", and organised a special visit for her to see the Hoard displays.

The campaign has also attracted the support of various celebrities along the way, including Dame Judi Dench, Tony Robinson, Frank Skinner, Bill Wyman, Dr Tristram Hunt, and Michael Palin. The leaders of all three political parties have endorsed the campaign, alongside Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Minister for Culture and Tourism.

All donations received after Wednesday will be directed to the £1.7m campaign for conservation and research. The public can continue to donate to the wider campaign via www.artfund.org/hoard.

Pledges can also be made by telephone on 0844 415 4004. Cheques can be sent to The Art Fund, Freepost LON 17186, PO BOX 2003, Kirkcaldy, KY2 6BR.


 

The Staffordshire Hoard

The treasure was discovered in a field in the West Midlands in July last year by metal detectorist Terry Herbert The find was reported to Duncan Slarke, Finds Liaison Officer of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), who contacted Roger Bland, Head of the PAS and Kevin Leahy, National Finds Adviser. Birmingham Archaeology carried out the excavation, funded by English Heritage, and this was completed within a month. The Hoard was sent to the Coroner of South Staffordshire and declared treasure on 24 September 2009. On 25 November 2009 the Treasure Valuation Committee reached its valuation of £3.3 million, and the museums interested in acquiring the Hoard were asked to confirm their intentions. The TVC then generated an 'invoice' to the museums, giving four months from this date for the money to be raised. This gave the 17 April deadline. The Hoard comprises over 1,500 items made of gold, silver and precious stones, and dates back to the 7th Century. Mostly military in nature, it is by far the largest find of Anglo-Saxon gold ever recorded, with over 5kg of gold and 1.3kg of silver. The Hoard promises to transform our understanding of the lives of the Anglo-Saxon people, and the role the region of Mercia played in history

Plans for the future of the Hoard

Having successfully raised the £3.3m needed to acquire the Hoard the campaign now turns to raising a further £1.7m to ensure that vital conservation and research work can take place on the 1,500 items that make up the Hoard - and above all, ensure it is appropriately displayed and interpreted for all to enjoy across the 'Mercian Trail' venues.

Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery are working with Lichfield, Tamworth and Staffordshire Councils to create a 'Mercian Trail' across the Midlands region - that will bring the story of the hoard to life through displays and other media.

The Trail will develop the historical themes associated with the Hoard and promote understanding of the history and archaeology of the Mercian area. In doing this it will support the key regional priorities around learning and education, and stimulate the local economy.

Breakdown of funding

The £3.3 million was raised as follows:

  • £1,285,000 from the NHMF
  • £900,000 from public donations
  • £600,000 from trusts and foundations
  • £300,000 from The Art Fund
  • £100,000 from Birmingham City Council
  • £100,000 from the City of Stoke-on-Trent Council 
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First Prosecution under the Treasure Act

Published: Monday 1st March 2010 Author:

It has been widely reported that Kate Harding from Ludlow has been the first person prosecuted under the Treasure Act 1996. This note provides clarification on a number of points that have either been omitted from the media reports, or have been incorrectly reported.

  • It has been reported that Harding failed to report a silver coin. In fact the find was a piedfort of Charles IV of France. Piedforts look similar to coins, but experts agree they were not used as currency; therefore they are classed as artefacts and thus single finds of piedforts qualify as Treasure provided they are made of at least 10% of gold or silver. Two single finds of silver piedforts from Surrey and Staffordshire have been declared Treasure and acquired by the British Museum in 2007 (Portable Antiquities & Treasure Report 2007, cat. 285) and 2008 (2008 T388).
  • It has been reported that Harding found the coin as she worked in the garden with her mother at their home in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire. She originally told the Finds Liaison Officer that she found it in 2008 in her garden in Ludlow, Shropshire.
  • It has been reported that the authorities have been heavy handed on Harding. Harding was repeatedly informed of her legal obligations to report the silver piedfort under the Treasure Act 1996, but failed to do so, so the case was brought to the attention of the local Coroner.
  • The Police investigated the case at the request of the Coroner and passed the file to the Crown Prosecution Service, which took the decision to prosecute. Harding told the Police she had lost the find, but produced it during sentencing.
  • Harding pleaded guilty on 17 February 2010 to failing to report an item which she believed or had reasonable grounds for believing is Treasure (Section 8 of the Treasure Act 1996).
  • In due course there will be a Coroner's Inquest to determine the exact circumstances of discovery and whether or not the object is Treasure.

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Art and Artefacts exhibition

Published: Friday 9th May 2008 Author:

Art and Artefacts - Saturday 3rd May until Sunday 1st June

Alan Cracknell, local Winchester artist, produces detailed, intricate and intensely coloured paintings inspired by his interest in the natural world, history and archaeology. Reminiscent of medieval manuscript illumination, the paintings often incorporate text, names of ancient lanes or fields, or precious objects excavated from the earth.

This exhibition combines his latest work with a display of objects brought into Winchester Museums by members of the public for identification and recording under the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Many of these items, from across Hampshire, have never been exhibited in public before.

Alan said:

I am delighted to have this opportunity to exhibit in City Space and to display my paintings together with the drawings I produce for the PAS alongside the objects featured in the exhibition.

Since 1999 the Portable Antiquities Scheme has been helping us understand Hampshire's past better by recording over 14,500 objects found by members of the public. Its representative in the county, Finds Liaison Officer Rob Webley, said:

I'm excited that people can get to see up close some of the amazing artefacts I'm lucky enough to record. Seeing them on our website is one thing, but don't miss this opportunity to admire the craftsmanship first hand.

As part of the scheme Alan also produces detailed drawings that record these objects in far greater clarity than a photograph ever could. These drawings, together with his paintings and the fascinating objects on display, provide visitors with a unique insight into how an artist working today is influenced by artefacts from the past.

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Carr Manor Archaeology Project Press Release

Published: Wednesday 2nd May 2007 Author: Cei Paynton

The PAS, Leeds Metropolitan University Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education, West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service, Education Leeds, Leeds Museums and Galleries and Royal Armouries are all working together in a ground-breaking school archaeology project next week!

The project, which involves students from Headingley Campus, specialists and hundreds of school children and will be is at Carr Manor Primary School on the 8th, 9th and 10th May 2007. Children will work in trenches in the school grounds with hand-held GPS and metal detectors. Re-enactors and Royal Armouries education specialists will also be on hand and there will also be a community field walking exercise involving parents of pupils at Carr Manor Primary School and Meanwood Church of England Primary School.

This project seeks to promote excellence and enjoyment through providing a very rich learning environment in which children can begin to reconstruct the past. It provides a very high quality training experience which encourages students to develop professionally and personally towards qualified teacher status.

The project is to be filmed by National Teacher's TV and has been described by Ofsted as 'outstanding'.

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Portable Antiquities Scheme finders win recognition at Dorset Archaeological Awards.

Published: Wednesday 2nd May 2007 Author: CAHT

Three amateur archaeologists and metal detector users have been placed second in the Dorset Archaeological Awards. The awards are made by the Dorset Archaeological Committee to give recognition to a wide range of projects and individuals in the county. First prize (the Cecil Colyer bowl) was awarded to Christopher Dalton for his three volume publication The Bells And Belfries Of Dorset.

The runner-up place was awarded to John and Verena Harper, together with Denise Parsons, who have been searching land at Compton Abbas for many years. Through metal detecting and surface collection they have retrieved flint, pottery, coins and metalwork dating from the Mesolithic (around 8300 BC) through virtually all periods and into to the 20th century. They have recorded their finds through the local Finds Liaison Officers (Dr Naomi Payne and Ciorstaidh Hayward Trevarthen) and have generated 146 records on Portable Antiquities Scheme database so far. They have a keen desire to discover more about their local area, to record what they unearth and to share the information with others.

Dr Bill Putnam, chair of the judging panel, outlined all the nominations for the award and explained what a difficult task the judging panel had had due to the generally high standard of the entries.

The awards were presented by HRH the Duke of Gloucester in a ceremony held at Sherborne Castle on Friday 27th May. The Duke was impressed by the range of projects represented in the eight nominations.

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Rare new acquisitions on display

Published: Wednesday 29th November 2006 Author: Peter Reavill

Shrewsbury Museums Service is delighted to be able to display for the first time some internationally important archaeological finds from Shropshire.

A pair of spoons, dating to the Iron Age (800 BC - 100 AD) were found by local metal detectorist, Mr. Trevor Brown, in mid Shropshire during 2005. They are extremely rare and only twenty-three others of this type are known in the world!

These are the first spoons of this type to be found for eighty years. The spoons are always found in pairs but no-one is sure what they were used for. It has been suggested that they have a ritual or divinatory purpose but the truth may be more prosaic. They remain evocative and enigmatic items.

The spoons were reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme and purchased for the museums via the Treasure Act, with assistance from The Friends of Shrewsbury's Museums.

Since Peter Reavill started work as Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) for Shropshire and Herefordshire, in 2003, the museum identification service and the Portable Antiquities Scheme have worked closely together. Peter runs finds identification afternoons in the museum and has recorded hundreds of Shropshire finds. He also acts as the main contact point for members of the public who find items that come under the Treasure Act.

The spoons are on display at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery until 22nd December, alongside other recent purchases, donations and loans of archaeological finds, dating from the Iron Age to the 17th century.

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Herefordshire Archaeological Symposium

Published: Monday 22nd March 2010 Author:

Presents
ARCHAEOLOGY IN PROFILE
A NINTH SYMPOSIUM ON
ARCHAEOLOGY IN HEREFORDSHIRE
At the Courtyard Theatre, Hereford
On Saturday 21st October 2006

Programme
Morning session: Chair: Andrew Ashcroft
9.30 Introduction and welcome
9.35 Tim Hoverd Archaeology in Herefordshire in 2006: an overview
10.00 Peter Dorling The Lugg Valley Project
10.45 Discussion
11.00 Break
11.30 Chris Atkinson The Garway Common Project
12.00 Julian Cotton Recent investigations at Kilpeck Castle
12.30 Discussion
12.40 Lunch break
Afternoon session: Chair: Dr. Neil Rimmington
14.00 Peter Dorling Neolithic sites in the Lugg Valley
14.45 Peter Reavill Bronze Age Finds from Herefordshire
15.20 Break
15.50 Dale Rouse Excavations on the Asda site, Hereford.
16.20 Dr. Nigel Baker Ross-on-Wye: The urban archaeology of a market town

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