News from the Scheme

Thornborough Henges Report

Published: 12 years ago Author:

Download the Thornborough Henges Rally report

Over at the British Archaeological Jobs Resouce site (, a document has been produced as an independent report on the recent metal detecting rally on the land around Thornborough's Henges (not on the protected area). The Henges have been at the centre of a large legal battle revolving around Tarmac's desire to quarry the area. More information on this can be found at Timewatch's website.

Described by English Heritage as the most important ancient site between Stonehenge and the Orkneys

David Connolly volunteered to help the two local FLOs (Simon Holmes and David Evans) record objects and to aid him with his understanding of the (possibly) polarised views of archaeologists and metal detectorists. This has been subjected to some critical discussion on various fora and mailing lists, and I think we have to promulgate this piece of work for others to read. This version has been rewritten by David if you notice any changes.

To summarise, 215 records were created with 46 new finders recording with the Scheme. The details of these objects will appear on our database when the FLOs have entered their details.

Events for Family Learning Week 2006

Published: 12 years ago Author:


Ceinwen Paynton & Waltham Forest (held at the Vestry Museum)
Sat 30th September real finds
Sat 7th October fun and games- PASt explorers
Sat 14th October come and get arty!
A family-friendly environment with free food!

Berkshire and Oxfordshire

Kate Sutton Finds session Sat 14th Oct Thame Museum


Caroline McDonald: YAC activity, monthly from Sept

North Lincolnshire

Kevin Leahy: academic year 2006-7,Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Archaeology, Hull University
Kevin Leahy: academic year 2006-7,Material Culture, Hull University
Kevin Leahy: academic year 2006-7,Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of the Humber, Hull University
Lisa Staves: Cross-curricular work from Sept based around Humber Banks sites

West Midlands

Caroline Johnson: Wed 11th Oct, group of adults at the education centre in Radio Stoke


Geoff Egan: student placement ongoing
Fiona Cameron from UCL - study of C17th glass-bead making waste, (continuing project)


Philippa Walton: Finds Day, 7 October, 10-12 Willingham Library

The Scheme on Radio Stoke

Published: 12 years ago Author:

West Midlands' Finds Liaison Officer, Caroline Johnson is possibly appearing on BBC Radio Stoke, every month starting 19th July. {Subject to final confirmation.}

This will be between 10am and 1pm and programmes will alternately aim at children (19th) and then adults, for example local Historians, amateur archaeologists, societies and metal detectorists.

IFA workplace bursaries

Published: 12 years ago Author:

  • Between 8 and 10 Heritage Lottery funded bursaries will be available every year for 4 years across the UK!
  • Through workplace learning bursaries, IFA aims to address identified archaeological skills gaps, and create opportunities for all sectors of the community to gain professional skills in archaeology
  • Successful candidates will be offered industry recognised workplace training built around the National Occupational Standards in Archaeological Practice
  • Achievements recorded over the course of the placement may count towards a vocational qualification in archaeological practice
  • IFA's vision is for archaeologists to be receiving pay and conditions that are comparable with other professionals
  • Top archaeological hosts across the UK will be offering placements lasting between 3-12 months.

Opportunities in the first year will include:

  • Environmental and finds work with English Heritage
  • Field survey with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
  • Teaching archaeology with the University of Winchester
  • Human Osteoarchaeology with Queen's University, Belfast
  • Digital archaeology with the Archaeology Data Service
  • Desk based assessment skills with Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust
  • Finds and HER work with Worcestershire County Council
  • Rural archaeology with North Yorkshire County Council

Placements will be widely advertised on the IFA website, in JIS, on BAJR, BEN, Britarch, the Portable Antiquities Scheme website, via the CBA, Heritage Link and higher education institutions.

For more information visit or contact

Institute for Field Archaeologists: Workplace learning bursary

Published: 12 years ago Author:

The placement is designed to last for up to six months (July-December 2006) and will provide first-hand experience in archaeological field survey. Based in Edinburgh, the successful candidate will join a team undertaking landscape survey in upland Inverness-shire, and will be expected to undertake fieldwork in all weathers. There may also be an opportunity to use the experience gained in this placement towards a vocational qualification in archaeological practice. Applicants should possess a degree or equivalent qualification and should have a good working knowledge of Scottish archaeology. IFA is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sectors of the community.

Salary: £17,588, pro rata, p.a. Closing date: 22nd June 2006

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Finds Roadshow BM Press release

Published: 8 years ago Author:

Your find will be examined and analysed by experts from the British Museum and Portable Antiquities Scheme to see what it is made of and its estimated age. There will also be a chance to see displays of other archaeological finds discovered by members of the public and to learn more about the conservation, identification and recording of finds. Previous roadshow events have uncovered important objects such as a beautiful 7th century pendant from West Shropshire. This find was very significant as this type of high status Anglo-Saxon metalwork is rare, and in Shropshire is almost without precedent. It is only through the logging of such finds that a more complete picture of the archaeological record can be established.

The roadshow will also include special events for children with an opportunity to meet favourite historical characters who will talk about the times in which they lived. A Viking Battle will take place on the forecourt of the Museum and object handling and story telling sessions will allow visitors to get a deeper insight into British archaeology and history.

NEW FIND - The Stilton Cheese Press

As an example of what can be uncovered underground, an almost complete ceramic cheese press dating to the later Roman period has recently been found in the parish of Stilton in Cambridgeshire. The vessel possesses two ridges and two rows of small circular drainage holes. To use the cheese press, curds would be poured into the mould and whey forced to drain away by the application of pressure (probably in the form of a weight). The cheese would be removed and stored in a cool place before being salted and compressed again. The press is a good example of the importance of recording all finds, it may not be made of gold or silver but it gives us a glimpse of a very human past, one populated by ordinary men and women going about their daily lives.

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Finds Roadshow

Published: 12 years ago Author:

Saturday 20 May 2006

Great Court

11.00-16:00: Finds identification & recording (have your archaeological finds identified by experts from the British Museum and Portable Antiquities Scheme).

Conservation advice & XRF machine (get advice on how to conserve your finds and have them analysed by British Museum experts – XRF kindly supplied by Oxford Instruments).

Finds displays (displays of recent finds found by metal-detector users).

Roman, Viking and Elizabethan re-enactors (meet your favourite historical characters and experience the times they lived in – if weather is fine the Viking camp will be outside in the front court).

Demonstration of the virtual Anglo-Saxon village of West Mucking (hear about the village and then go and explore it yourself in the Reading Room – see below).

13.00: Viking Battle (outside in the front court if weather is fine).

15.30: Viking Battle (outside in the front court if weather is fine).

Reading Room

10.00-16.00: Family Back Packs (find out about archaeology using our Archaeology family back pack - available from the Enquiry desk in the Reading Room).

10.00-17.00: Family Trails (find out about Anglo-Saxon objects with the Exploring Britain family trail - available from the front desk in the Reading Room).

10.00-17.30: Virtual Anglo-Saxon village of West Mucking (explore the village yourself and have a go at some archaeological field-work).

11.00-11.30 Object handling (handle real archaeological finds in the Children’s library).

12.00-12.30: Object handling (handle real archaeological finds in the Children’s library).

14.00-14.30: Story-telling (hear a story in the Children’s library).

15.00-15.30: Story-telling (hear a story in the Children’s library).


11.00-16.00: Object handling (handle real archaeological finds – Room 36).

12.30-13.00: Talk: terrible Tudors tamed (Silke Ackerman, Room 46).

13.30-14.00: Talk: Viking Treasure - the Cuerdale Hoard (Barry Ager, Room 41).

14.00-14.30: Talk: England's answer to Charlemagne? The new gold coin of Coenwulf of Mercia (Gareth Williams, Room 68).

14.30-15.00: Talk: Treasure of Celtic Europe & Roman Britain (Richard Hobbs, Room 2).

Historic agreement on a first code of practice for metal detecting

Published: 12 years ago Author:

We are delighted to announce that a Code of Practice on Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales has been agreed by all key archaeological bodies and metal detecting and landowners' organisations. This is the first time that these bodies have joined together to precisely define responsible metal detecting and provides a clear and unambiguous definition of what constitutes good practice.

The signatories are the National Council of Metal Detecting, the Federation of Independent Detectorists, the Country Land and Business Association, the National Farmers Union, the Council for British Archaeology, English Heritage, National Museums and Galleries of Wales, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, The British Museum, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the Society of Museum Archaeologists and the Royal Commission for the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. The agreement is voluntary but has the full endorsement of the signatories and all parties are committed to ensuring its members abide by the advice set out in the document.

The agreement covers three aspects of metal detecting. The first section,'Before you go metal-detecting', states you must obtain permission to search from the landowner, adhere to laws concerning protected sites, join an official metal-detecting club and follow conservation advice.'Whilst you are detecting' states that findspots should be recorded as accurately as possible, that ground disturbance should be minimal and that the Country Code should be respected. Finally it offers advice on procedures after you have been detecting. Any and all finds should be reported to the landowner and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, detectorists must abide by the provisions of the Treasure Act and must seek expert help if they find something large or an object made from unusual material and that they must call the police if they discover any human remains.

It is hoped that the Code, alongside the Treasure Act legislation will ensure that situations like that at Wanborough where the site of a Romano-Celtic temple was decimated by unscrupulous treasure hunters will not happen again. There have been many cases, particularly recently, of responsible reporting of finds which have been of invaluable use to the archaeological record, the Ringlemere Gold Cup, the Winchester Hoard and the Staffordshire Moorlands Pan are but a few examples. The continuation of good relations between archaeologists, museums and metal detectorists as embodied by the Code will build on these examples and form the model for the future.

Dr Mike Heyworth, Director - Council for British Archaeology commented:

"This Code represents a major step forward. It builds on earlier efforts to provide guidance to all users of metal detectors. It emphasises the positive contributions that responsible metal detectorists can make to the study of the past through the knowledge we can obtain from finds and their archaeological contexts. The Code also serves to emphasise the distinction between responsible metal detectorists and the minority of irresponsible individuals who use their equipment for personal gain".

Steve Critchley, Chairman - National Council for Metal-Detecting said:

 "This Code is both fair and practical. By adhering to this Code the vast majority of metal-detectorists will be able to demonstrate that they have a genuine interest in the past and wish to benefit from the knowledge they gain from their hobby. The National Council for Metal Detecting will be replacing its existing Code, a part of its Constitution, with the new one. Adherence to the Code when metal detecting is a condition of membership".

For further information please contact Hannah Boulton in the Press Office on 020 7323 8522 or

Notes to Editors:

  • The Code of Practice on Responsible Metal Detecting has been endorsed by the British Museum, the Council for British Archaeology, the Country Landowners and Business Association, English Heritage, the Federation of Independent Detectorists, the Museums, Libraries & Archives Council, the National Council for Metal Detecting, the National Farmers Union, the National Museum Wales, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales and the Society of Museum Archaeologists.
  • The Portable Antiquities Scheme is a voluntary scheme to record archaeological objects found by members of the public in England and Wales. Every year many thousands of objects are discovered, many of these by metal-detector users, but also by people whilst out walking, gardening or going about their daily work. Such discoveries offer an important source for understanding our past. The Scheme is run and administered from the British Museum. More information can be found on
  • Some of the greatest British archaeological finds are on display in Room 2 at the British Museum.

AHRC funded PhD opportunity

Published: 12 years ago Author:

The post-holder will be a postgraduate student of the Department of Classics, King's College London and will also spend part of their time on placement with the Portable Antiquities office at the British Museum.

Project description
The doctoral project will:

(1) evaluate as a research resource a significant new source of archaeological data, namely metal-detected finds recorded through the Portable Antiquities Scheme;

(2) assess the impact of metal-detected data on our understanding of the distribution, density and character of settlements, with particular reference to Roman Britain.

This project aims to develop and apply principles analogous to those for characterising other types of archaeological data in order to assess and enhance the value of metal-detected data for research purposes. The post holder will review previous research in the use of metal-detected data for characterising past societies. The post holder will assess the national distribution of metal-detected data in the PAS database and in close consultation with PAS staff will then select sample regions for detailed study. S/he will analyse the distribution of metal-detected finds and compare this to other evidence for Roman British activity in the sample landscapes, using data on the Historic Environment Records as a starting point. The post holder will assess the impact of metal-detected data on the interpretation of societies in those landscapes.

The AHRC collaborative doctoral award scheme is intended to allow students to gain first hand experience of working outside the academic environment, in order to develop their employment related skills and training. In the case of this award the post holder will spend part of their time on placement with the PAS. As well as working on their doctoral project, during this placement they will be expected (1) to produce a report into the research value and significance of metal-detected data, drawing from the experience and results of their research, as a resource to guide the future training of PAS staff and (2) to help guide students and other researchers with an academic interest in the Scheme's data to their potential uses.

Candidate eligibility and qualifications
The post-holder will need to meet the eligibility criteria of the AHRC for a full doctoral award, both as regards residency (he/she will need to have a relevant connection with the UK, usually through residence. EU Nationals will need to have been in the UK in full time education for the 3 years prior to the start of the course) and also as regards academic criteria (he/she should normally have, or be studying for, a Master's degree or similar qualification. If he/she has already gained or completed the requirements of a doctoral degree in any subject however funded, they are not eligible to apply. For full details see:
For further details on AHRC maintenance grants see:

The candidate will have a degree at master's level in archaeology or a related discipline, and ideally experience of one or more of the following areas (a) material culture of the Roman period in Britain (b) tools of spatial analysis in archaeology (GIS). The post holder will need to be self-motivated, highly organised and used to working to deadlines. They will also need to be computer-literate and experienced in using databases.

Further information and application
For more information on this studentship please contact Dr John Pearce, department of Classics, King's College London (020 78482252, Further information on the Portable Antiquities Scheme and its role in this award please contact Dr Roger Bland ( or Sally Worrell (

To apply candidates should complete and return the King's College London postgraduate application form together with a research proposal of not more than 500 words. Application forms may be obtained by contacting or from the KCL School of Humanities website ( or from the following address:

The Graduate Programme
School of Humanities
Main Building, Room 3B
King's College London 
London WC2R 2LS

Closing date: 12 May 2006. It is expected that interviews for this award will take place in early June.

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Archaeology of Destruction Conference

Published: 12 years ago Author:

This extends beyond archaeology to history, sociology, anthropology, and several other disciplines. The aim is to examine what destruction as a phenomenon does to material culture and intangible heritage, and, by extension, our communities and perceptions. Included in this is why specific destruction occurred the way it did, what its effects were, how the collective 'memory' of destruction evolves over time, and the significance of the choices we make about interpreting and discussing destruction that occurred in the past. This conference will incorporate not just theoretical research about the past, but also topics such as how information about destruction is presented and used in the present, how this affects the conservation choices we make, and practical issues such as how we identify or isolate deliberate destruction from that caused by natural and other causes.

Saturday, 27 May 2006
9:00 Registration

9:30 Welcome and Introduction

Lila Rakoczy & Nick Trustram Eve, Conference Organisers

9:50 Keynote Paper: Archaeologies of War and Wars of Archaeology

Dr. John Carman (Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, University of Birmingham)

10:30 Changing identities: Urban industrial heritage is a loaded gun

Malcolm Cooper, FSA (Chief Inspector, Historic Scotland)

11:00- 11:30 Tea Break

11:30 Destruction of Items of Cultural Heritage in Cultural Cleansings

Dr. Kevin Smith, J.D. (Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, University of Memphis, USA)

12:00 Architectural 'Ethnic Cleansing?'-The destruction of the Roman tetrapylon at Caerleon

Dr. Ray Howell (University of Wales, Newport)

12:30 "Carthage must be destroyed!" Does Cato still haunt Carthage?

Farès Moussa (University of Edinburgh)

1:00- 2:30 Lunch

2:30 Which Destruction? A Response to Destruction in Seventeenth-Century China

Dr. David Pattinson (East Asian Studies, University of Leeds)

3:00 Cosmic Catastrophes and the Death of Astronomy

Martin Lunn MBE FRAS (Curator of Astronomy, Yorkshire Museum)

3:30- 4:00 Tea Break

4:00 War destruction and post-war reconstruction: Bilbao, Barcelona, and Madrid and the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

Olivia Muñoz-Rojas Oscarsson (Sociology/Cities Programme, LSE)

4:30 'Die Katastrophe': Destruction, Memory, and Area Bombing in the Second World War

Shaun Richardson (Ed Dennison Archaeological Services)

5:00 Keynote Paper: The Centre de la Mémoire d'Oradour-sur-Glane

Max Boisrobert (Historic Buildings Inspector of the Haute-Vienne, France

6:00-7.30 Wine Reception at the King's Manor refectory


Sunday, 28 May 2006
9:30 Preservation by destruction: The demolition of Bedford Castle

Matt Edgeworth (Independent Archaeologist)

10:00 Windsor Castle-destruction and salvage

Brian Kerr (Head of Archaeological Projects, English Heritage)

10:30 The Dissolution of the Monasteries: Nationalisation and Privatisation for Maximum Profit

Stuart Harrison (Ryedale Archaeological Services)

11:00- 11:20 Tea Break

11:20 Burning issues: Interpretations of destruction and the medieval archaeology of the Welsh borders - Michael Fradley, English Heritage

11:50 Violent Dialogues Between Mourners and Tombs: Disfiguring Cyrenean Cemeteries in Imperial Times - Igor Cherstich (Social Anthropology, SOAS) & Luca Cherstich (Classical Archaeology, University of Oxford)

12:20 Reconsidering "Looting": Destruction or Alternative Archaeology?: Ioanna Antoniadou (Archaeology, University of Southampton)

12:50- 2:00 Lunch

2:00 'Our Churches and Houses Defaced': Aspects of Urban and Suburban Destruction in Civil War Colchester and Newcastle: John Mabbitt (Asst. Keeper of Field Archaeology, Tyne and Wear Museums)

2:30 Demolishing Roman Britain: James Gerrard (Archaeology, University of York)

3:00 The Disaster That Wasn't: A Challenge to the Abandonment Theories from Cholula, Mexico: Jolene Debert (Archaeology, University of Manchester) & Dr. Geoffrey G. McCafferty (Archaeology, University of Calgary)

3:30 Closing Remarks

Dr. John Carman & Lila Rakoczy

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