News from the Scheme

Domitianus: History's Forgotten Emperor

Published: Tuesday 24th February 2004 Author:

The discovery of a new coin inscribed with the name DOMITIANVS looks set to force experts to rewrite history. It belongs to a hoard of more than 5000 Roman coins found by metal-detector user Brian Malin in Oxfordshire in April 2003.
Coin hoard
The coin hoard

Until this discovery was made some scholars doubted the historical significance of Domitianus who is named just twice in the historical sources. The Oxfordshire coin provides archaeological evidence suggesting that he successfully proclaimed himself emperor of a breakaway part of the Roman Empire during the reign of Aurelian (AD 270-5).

Domitian Coin
 


Obverse and reverse of the coin.

Richard Abdy (Curator of Roman coins at the British Museum) said that 'during the 270s AD the fabric of the Roman Empire had become strained. Breakaway empires, like the so-called 'Gallic Empire' that included Britain, were established and ruled by a succession of rebel emperors. Finding a coin produced in the name of Domitianus means that he should now be recognised as one such rebel emperor.'

The failure of Roman writers to identify him as a rebel emperor even led the only other coin of Domitianus - found in France in 1900 - to be dismissed as a modern fake. The new discovery was struck from the same dies that were used to produce this earlier find and has therefore put its authenticity beyond any doubt. 

Ian Leins (Finds Adviser, Iron Age and Roman coins, Portable Antiquities Scheme) said 'the portrait on the new coin very closely resembles that of the rebel emperors Victorinus and Tetricus. It is highly possible that other coins of Domitianus exist in the collections of museums and individuals but have escaped detection. It is important that people start to pay more attention to these often neglected finds and record them with their local Finds Liaison Officer.'

The coin is featured in several publications:
The Times (UK)
BBC News
Daily Telegraph
The Independent
The Guardian
 

The Domitianus coin will be on temporary display in the Buried Treasure exhibition at the British Museum until 14 March 2004. Finders wishing to report their discoveries can contact their local Finds Liaison Officer via the website at www.finds.org.uk or by calling 020 7323 8611.
 

Lat: 51.5002 Long: -0.126236

Events for the North West - coming soon!!

Published: Thursday 19th February 2004 Author:

Forum
The 31st Annual Archaeology Forum, Saturday March 6th, 2004, Lancaster
University.
Nick Herepath will be presenting a paper on The Portable Antiquities Scheme in the North West.
Please contact Dr Jean Turnbull 01524 593770 for bookings.
Closing date for bookings February 27th.

Talk
Nick Herepath will be giving a talk to Merseyside Archaeology Society on
Thursday March 18th at Liverpool University.
Please contact Barry Faulkner 0151 4949809 for further details.

Talk
Nick Herepath will be giving a talk to Lancashire Archaeology Society on
Friday April 16th.
Please contact Irene Moore for details 01772 747882.

Lecture
Nick Herepath will be giving a lecture on Museums and the Illicit Trade
in Antiquities at Liverpool Museum on Wednesday April 21st, 12.30pm.
Contact Chrissy Partheni for details 0151 478 4257

Is this the Viking find of the century?

Published: Thursday 19th February 2004 Author:

The discovery of a hoard of treasure in Yorkshire is set to lead to the excavation of what might be a Viking boat burial - which would make it the first to be discovered in England and one of the most significant Viking finds in the British Isles.

The hoard of weapons and personal items has been found by metal detectorists and has gone on display for the first time at the Yorkshire Museum, York, during the city's Viking Festival. The fascinating collection of items dates from the late 9th Century AD, and includes silver coins, fragments of two swords, weights, a belt buckle, strap ends and boat nails. It will be on display in York until the end of February.

Simon Holmes with 2 nailsExperts believe it might have come from a Viking boat burial - a ceremony where people were buried in a boat with a group of possessions to take with them to the after-life.

Archaeologist Simon Holmes, finds liaison officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme at the Yorkshire Museum, identified the items and said a full archaeological excavation of the area where they were found would determine whether they had come from a boat burial. He said: "If this is indeed the case, it will be the first Viking boat burial discovered in England and therefore one of the most important Viking discoveries ever made in the British Isles.

"This find is extremely significant and will increase our understanding of what the Vikings were doing here in Yorkshire in the late 9th Century."

Coins & nailThe metal detectorists, who wish to remain anonymous, contacted Mr Holmes through the national Portable Antiquities Scheme, which is a voluntary recording scheme for archaeological objects found by members of the public and which has its Yorkshire base at the Yorkshire Museum. It is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

They made their discovery in December 2003 and reported it in January 2004.

After going on show at the Yorkshire Museum, the items will go to the British Museum for further study. Because the hoard contains some silver, it qualifies as "treasure" under the Treasure Act 1996.

Photos are used by permission of Kippa Matthews, YMT.

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Buried Treasure Finds Day Report

Published: Thursday 19th February 2004 Author:

Last weekend the PAS held a very successful Finds Identification event as part of a weekend of special activities around the Buried Treasure exhibition at the BM.

Over 80 objects were recorded from across the whole of England and Wales and gold coins from the sponsors, Anglo-American, were awarded to the `star' finds.


 Caroline McDonald with children

Caroline McDonald, Essex FLO talking to two children about their finds.

These were: a medieval gilded copper-alloy prick spur found by Mrs S Lloyd in The Gower, South Wales. 
A beautiful early Neolithic handaxe found Paddockhurst in Sussex in 1921 and brought in by Mrs Elliott, the daughter of the original finder.
Neolithic handaxe

Neolithic Handaxe from Kent.

And  an Anglo-Saxon silver penny of king Athelstan found near Lewes by Mr D Page.
Athelstan Coin

Silver penny of King Athelstan, found in Sussex.

The event featured prominently on BBC news at 5pm on Saturday 14th, demonstrating the success of the day.

Lat: 51.8898 Long: 0.901235

CARING FOR FINDS

Published: Thursday 19th February 2004 Author:

 A free drop-in session with Time Team archaeological conservator Dana Goodburn-Brown and ceramic conservator Sebastian Foxley.
• get advice on simple cleaning methods to preserve and display
• see the range of safe materials to protect finds and reduce decay
• watch how the specialist conservator uncovers hidden designs,analyses traces and fragments, and reconstructs original uses.
• look under the microscope at remains of a Saxon warrior's sword      
           
SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2004  : 11 AM - 2.30 PM : FREE

• Bring along your finds for expert identification and recording by Dr Andrew Richardson of the Portable Antiquities Scheme and hear how you may qualify for rewards under the Treasure law.

Especially useful for metal-detectorists, beach-combers, and chance finders
of heritage items from attics and gardens. Note no valuations can be given.

Museum of Canterbury, Stour Street, Canterbury
Information is correct at time of printing but circumstances may bring unavoidable change.
Please check before making special journeys 01227 475202

The ‘Ainsbrook' Hoard: A major Viking discovery goes on display at the Yorkshire Museum.

Published: Tuesday 17th February 2004 Author:

From Saturday 14th until the end of February visitors to the Yorkshire Museum, York will have the golden opportunity to see for the first time a major Viking-age discovery found in Yorkshire.

For the next two weeks, as part of York's Viking Festival, this unique group of weapons and personal items will be on display, including silver coins and the fragments of two swords. These items were found in December 2003 by metal detectorists and reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (www.finds.org.uk) in January, who identified them as Viking and from the late 9th Century AD.

Although the exact context of the finds is not yet known, it is likely that they have come from a Viking 'Boat Burial'. Only a full archaeological excavation of the findspot will determine this. If this is indeed the case it will be the first Viking Boat Burial discovered in England and therefore one of the most important Viking discoveries ever made in the British Isles!

The presence of silver within the assemblage qualifies the find as Treasure under the new Treasure Act 1996 (which replaced the old Treasure Trove Law) and so, according to the Treasure Act, the finds will go to the British Museum in London for further study.

The Science and Conservation of Treasure

Published: Tuesday 17th February 2004 Author:

A Study Day to explore the world of gold treasures found in Britain
Thursday, March 11th 2004 9.30 - 17.00. Clore Education Centre

The Science and Conservation of Treasure

To coincide with the Special Exhibition Buried Treasure: Finding our Past, and with National Science Week, archaeologists, scientists and conservators from the British Museum will discuss some of the themes behind the investigation of the gold treasure found in Britain. The topics will include questions such as, how and why the treasures came to be buried' How were they made' Can scientific investigation reveal something more of the story behind them' Where and for whom were they made, and how should the artefacts be conserved and displayed'

As well as inspiring great works of design and craftsmanship, gold has also been responsible for much suspicion and deceit through the ages, and so the assaying of gold through the ages (with demonstrations) and counterfeiting will also be discussed.

The Study Day will be held in the BP Lecture Theatre in the Clore Centre of the British Museum on Thursday 11th of March 2004 from 9.30 to 1700

£ 24, concessions and BM Friends £18. The ticket will include admission to the exhibition on the day. Tea and coffee will be served in the morning and afternoon.

The Finds Research Group AD 700 - 1700 - Regionalism in Medieval Small Finds, Wessex.

Published: Friday 13th February 2004 Author:

The Finds Research Group will be holding a Medieval Small Finds Conference at Wiltshire Heritage Museum (formerly known as Devizes Museum) 41 Long Street, Devizes, Wiltshire.

This will be held on Saturday 24th April 2004.

Provisional programme as follows:

10:30 - 11:00 am: Registration accompanied by tea and coffee.

11:00 - 11:40 am:  "Post-Roman Celtic atefacts from Wessex" - Susan Youngs.

11:40 - 12:40 pm: "Early Anglo-Saxon dress styles and other aspects of material culture" - Nick Stoodley (King Alfred's College Winchester.)

12:40 - 1:00 pm : "The earliest Anglo-Saxon coinage in Wessex." - Prof. Michael Metcalfe (former Keeper, Heberden Coin Room, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.)

1:00 - 2:15 pm: Lunch - advice on arrangements will be given on the day.

2:15 - 2:55 pm: "Winchester and it's School" - Prof. David Hinton (Dept. of Archaeology, University of Southampton.)

2.55 - 3:30 pm: "Medieval floor tiles form Wessex." - Jane Harcourt (English Heritage.)

3:30 - 4:00 pm: Tea

4:00 - 4:40 pm: "Symbols of loyalty in 17th Century Wessex" - Paul Robinson (Wiltshire Heritage Museum.)

The meeting will be held in the Lecture Hall at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum.  Car parking at the Museum is very limited.  Visitors are advised to park in one of the public car parks in the town.
An informal walk through the town with its many fine buildings, led by Dr Lorna Haycock, Librarian of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, is planned for the evening of Saturday 24 April beginning at 7.00pm - weather permitting.  Meet at the front door of the Museum.


Local accommodation can be arranged through the Devizes Tourist Information Office Tel: 01380 729408; 
fax: 01380 730319;  email: all.dtic@kennet.gov.uk;  website: www.visitkennet.co.uk.

How to get there:
Devizes has rather limited bus and rail connections.  There is a daily coach service from London, leaving at 18.00 hours.  The nearest train stations are Chippenham and Swindon with sporadic - generally hourly - bus services from those towns to Devizes.

Surrey Finds Days

Published: Tuesday 10th February 2004 Author:

Surrey Finds Days

The Finds Liaison Officer for Surrey, David Williams, will be in attendance
at the following dates and venues for the identification and recording of
finds in Surrey.  David looks forward to meeting new detectorists and
recording their finds:

Saturday April 7th. Farnham Museum. 2-5pm

Saturday May 15th. Surrey Heath Museum, Bagshot. 2-5pm

Saturday May 22nd. Guildford Museum. 11am - 5pm

Saturday May 29th. Haslemere Museum. Talk at 11am followed by Finds event.

Sunday August  22nd. Rural Life Centre, Tilford. All day.

Finds Day at Broadhembury

Published: Monday 26th January 2004 Author:

Sunday 25 July 2004

Finds Day at Broadhembury

A Finds Day is to be held in Broadhembury in the Blackdown Hills, East Devon. It will form part of the Blackdown Tales programme of walks, talks and events to promote the special quality of the hills.

Further details from:

Nicola Powell
Devon Finds Liaison Officer,
RAM Museum Exeter,
01392 665983,
e-mail nicola.powell@exeter.gov.uk

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