News from the Scheme

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 ( 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:;  website:

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,

Finds Recording Day - Bournemouth

Published: Thursday 22nd January 2004 Author:

Following the excellent response to previous finds identification days, Ciorstaidh Hayward-Trevarthen (the Finds Liaison Officer for Somerset & Dorset) would like to encourage others to bring in their recently discovered archaeological finds for identification and recording. By doing this people have an opportunity to contribute to our understanding of the region's past and to find out more about the things they unearth. She will be holding a finds day in Bournemouth, kindly hosted by the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, East Cliff, Bournemouth on Friday 30th January (10.00 -  4.00)
If you would like to find out more about your discoveries and help find out more about the County's history and prehistory, then please come along.

Lat: 41.6803 Long: -80.6673

Buried Treasure Weekend – 14th and 15th February 2004

Published: Tuesday 20th January 2004 Author:

Buried Treasure Weekend - 14th and 15th February 2004

Have you finds you can't identify' Do you have finds that you have identified but have not yet been recorded'

During the weekend of 14th and 15th February, the British Museum will be hosting a special event to accompany the special exhibition 'Buried Treasure: Finding our Past'. This is the first major national exhibition of British archaeology in over 20 years, highlighting how chance archaeological discoveries have revolutionised the understanding of our past. Major treasures on display include the Mildenhall treasure of Roman silver, the Ringlemere gold cup, the Winchester gold, the Amesbury Archer and the Fishpool hoard. Many of these treasures are on display for the first time and most have been found by the public - including metal-detectorists.

Experts from the Portable Antiquities Scheme and curators from the British Museum will be on hand to answer your questions and offer free identifications. Following this, you can have your metal objects analysed using the XRF machine and discover what they are made from. Those bringing in objects to be identified will be given free entry into the Buried Treasure: Finding our Past exhibition.

As part of the event, we will have re-enactors from the Colchester Roman Society, who will be demonstrating how artefacts were made and used and will march through some of the galleries - great fun for the kids!

Also for the kids (and some of the grown ups too), The Muppets Treasure Island will be shown in one of our theatres and there will be a whole host of gallery talks and tours, including a lecture on one of this country's most amazing and enigmatic finds- the grave of the Amesbury Archer, 'King of Stonehenge', by Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick.

There will also be a display of metal detected finds from local detectorist clubs and the chance to see conservation equipment being demonstrated.

The event will be held on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th February in the Great Court at the British Museum, and will run from 10.30am until 4pm on both days. The Amesbury Archer lecture is free and will be held in the BP lecture theatre on the Saturday at 1pm.

Lat: 51.518 Long: -0.126944

The Portable Antiquities Scheme: Revolutionising Research

Published: Tuesday 20th January 2004 Author:

The Portable Antiquities Scheme: Revolutionising Research

Stevenson Lecture Theatre, Great Court, British Museum, 12 February 2004

A one-day seminar at the British Museum looking at the way in which the systematic recording of finds made by the public - as facilitated by the Portable Antiquities Scheme - has revolutionised our knowledge of artefacts and their contexts from the prehistoric times to the post-medieval period. Speakers to include Steven Ashley, Mary Chester-Kadwell, Nina Crummy, Geoff Egan, Helen Geake, Adam Gwilt, Adrian Marsden, Andrew Rogerson and Sally Worrell; chaired by Richard Brewer and Roger Bland. Admission free. For further details and to book contact Claire Costin, Portable Antiquities Scheme, British Museum, London WC1B 3DG, tel.: 020 7323 8618, or e-mail:


10.00 Registration: outside Stevenson Lecture Theatre, Great Court

Morning (Chairman, Roger Bland, Co-ordinator, Portable Antiquities Scheme)

10.20 Roger Bland: Welcome
10.25 Adam Gwilt, National Museums and Galleries of Wales
Axes, Cauldrons and Weapons: making sense of the recent late Bronze Age discoveries from South Wales
10.50 Sally Worrell, Finds Adviser, Institute of Archaeology, University College
London Everything but iron; a regional analysis of the Iron Age artefacts recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme 

11.15 Coffee

11.45 Nina Crummy, Roman Finds Expert
Using the Portable Antiquities Scheme data for research: success and
failure for the Roman period

12.10 Adrian Marsden, Finds Liaison Officer, Norfolk County Council
The so-called barbarous radiate series in Norfolk; formulating new answers
to some old questions

12.35 Mary Chester-Kadwell, University of Cambridge:
Early Anglo-Saxon Cemeteries in the Landscape: Metal Detector Finds in

1.00 Discussion

1.10 Lunch (please make your own arrangements)

Afternoon (Chairman: Richard Brewer, Keeper, Department of Archaeology and Numismatics, National Museums & Galleries of Wales)

2.10 Kevin Leahy, North Lincolnshire Museum / Finds Adviser - Portable Antiquities Scheme
Discovering the Middle Saxon period in Lincolnshire

2.35 Steven Ashley, Norfolk County Council
The mobility of the nobility: heraldic horse-harness pendants from Norfolk

3.00 Geoff Egan, Museum of London
Keeping tabs, searching and sealing: the archaeology of regulation

3.25 Tea

4.00 Andrew Rogerson, Norfolk County Council
Through objects to landscapes: making archaeological finds data
contribute to the study of past land-use

4.25 Andrew David/Paul Linford, English Heritage
Providing Context: the role of geophysical survey

4.50 Discussion

5.30 Close (and also an opportunity to view the Buried Treasure exhibition)

Estelle Morris says new guidance will help prevent trade in stolen cultural goods.

Published: Tuesday 20th January 2004 Author:

Arts Minister Estelle Morris today issued new guidance for the art market to help it stamp out the trade in stolen cultural property.

The guidance leaflets offer advice on implementing the 1970 UNESCO Convention and the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003 together with the draft Money Laundering Regulations.

Talking at a seminar for the trade and for museums at the British Museum, the Minister praised the art market and museums for action already taken to end the market in illicit trade in art and antiquities. She said:

" Working with the trade we have made real progress in preventing the UK being used as a market place for antiquities stolen from monuments and sites around the world. For its part, art market trade associations have adopted voluntary codes of conduct to raise standards of good practice . While the Government's accession to the 1970 UNESCO Convention in October 2002 and the coming into force of the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003 both represent milestones in the drive to stamp out this illicit trade.

" It is important for those involved in the art market to know just what the new regulations involve and also to know what are our obligations under the UNESCO Convention. The guidance we are publishing today will, I hope, achieve that purpose and cascade good practice throughout the marketplace.

" The illicit trade in cultural property has grown considerably in recent years particularly in vulnerable countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Ancient sites are being plundered for short term gain representing an irreparable loss to indigenous peoples. I hope the measures we have taken recently will help to stem the displacement of other's heritage to this country. Their past as much as their future needs to be safeguarded."

Notes to Editors

1. The two guidance leaflets published today are:

• Dealing in Tainted Cultural Objects: Guidance on the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003; and

• The 1970 UNESCO Convention: Guidance for Dealers and Auctioneers in Cultural Property

Copies of both leaflets are available on the cultural property pages of the Department's website at:

2. The UK acceded to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property in October 2002.

3. The Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003 came into force on 30 December 2003. It covers dishonest dealing in a cultural object knowing or believing that it was illegally excavated or removed from a monument or wreck either in this country or anywhere in the world. The penalty for dealing in a tainted cultural object will be up to 7 years imprisonment.

Press Enquiries: 0207 211 6266
Out of hours telephone pager no: 07699 751153
Public Enquiries: 0207 211 6200

Review of Conservation Seminar day

Published: Monday 19th January 2004 Author:

Whose find is it anyway'" Treasure, Metal detecting, Archaeology and Conservation - the life of detected finds after recovery

A joint meeting by UKIC Archaeology Section and the British Museum, held on December 18th 2003 in the Stevenson Lecture Theatre at the British Museum.

The aim of this meeting was to address the issue of the conservation of finds made by metal detectorists. This has been a long running concern of UKIC Archaeology Section since the inception of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, and the meeting was intended to "review the work of the Scheme and address the difficulties still facing archaeologists, conservators and metal detectorists in working together to gather information and safeguard finds for the future."

The day was well attended - over 100 delegates, including conservators, Portable Antiquities
Scheme staff, curators, archaeologists and metal detectorists - even the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group, Lord Redesdale, was in attendance for some of the day.
The fee also included entrance to the exhibition "Buried Treasure: Finding our Past" .

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