News from the Scheme

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.

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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.
 

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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: ccostin@thebritishmuseum.ac.uk

Programme

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
Context

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)

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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:

www.culture.gov.uk/cultural_property/illicit_trade.htm

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

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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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Arts minister launches Annual Report

Published: Monday 22nd December 2003 Author:

On 18 December 2003 the Arts Minister - Estelle Morris - launched the fifth Portable Antiquities Annual Report at a press photo-shoot at Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries (London). In an impromptu speech the Minister praised the work of the Scheme and the finders who had recorded their discoveries with the Scheme's Finds Liaison Officers. She said that the Portable Antiquities Scheme 'had been extremely successful' and 'long may it continue'. In fact long term funding for the Scheme (after March 2006) is a decision she will make in next year!

Roger Bland & Estelle

Roger Bland (Head of Portable Antiquities) and Estelle Morris (Arts Minister) with the current Portable Antiquities Scheme Annual Report.

The latest Annual Report shows that in the period 1 October 2001 to 31 March 2003 twelve Finds Liaison Officers recorded a further 49,590 objects. Of these over 60 per cent have been recovered by metal-detectorists, but a significant minority was also found by other people not actively seeking to find archaeological material. The report also shows that over 90 per cent of the finds recorded have been recovered from cultivated land, where they are susceptible to plough damage and natural corrosion processes. 70 per cent of finds are now being recorded to the nearest 100 square metres (a six-figure National Grid Reference) or better. Further, the report demonstrates that the presence of a Finds Liaison Officer can increase the reporting rate of Treasure finds by a factor of between three and five.

Now that the Scheme has been extended across the whole of England and Wales - 37 Finds Liaison Officers in total - there is an opportunity for all finders of archaeological objects to contact their local Finds Liaison Officer and have their finds identified and recorded. David Barwell (Chairman of the National Council of Metal Detecting) said 'By recording their finds with the Portable Antiquities Scheme detectorists demonstrate they have a genuine interest in the past and finders of archaeological objects have a responsibility to our nation's history to record them'.

In launching the report Estelle Morris said that 'the Scheme is not heavy handed...it's about making available finds experts at the point where the finder looks for advice. The whole nation benefits from these discoveries...generations to come will be able to learn about our past, our country's past and about our past as a nation race. The Scheme is a huge success all around and long may it continue'.

An amazing Bronze Age hoard found in Kent and a Roman leopard cup from Wales, were among many previously unrecorded archaeological discoveries featured in this year's Portable Antiquities Annual Report and shown to Estelle Morris at the launch event.

The Hollingbourne hoard

The remnants of a Bronze Age 'founders' hoard was discovered by David Button whilst metal detecting near Hollingbourne in Kent. He reported the finds to his local Finds Liaison Officer - Andrew Richardson - who, working with the finder, organised an excavation on the site. This involved officers from Kent County Council's Heritage Conservation Team together with a cross-section of local people interested in archaeology including the Maidstone Area Archaeological Group, the Kent Archaeological Society, the Lenham Archaeological Society, Maidstone Museum and local detectorists. Subsequently a metal-detector survey of the sit and archaeological excavation revealed further metal-work and an in-situ Bronze Age hoard. The find has been used as an example of best practice when educating school children and others about the importance of finds recording and the value of the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Leopard cup and hollingbourne
Gill Davies (co-finder Hollingbourne hoard) and Andrew Richardson (Kent Finds Liaison Officer show Estelle Morris (Arts Minister) the Hollingbourne hoard.

The Roman 'leopard' cup

A magnificent Roman 'leopard' cup was discovered by Gary Mapps while detecting on farmland near Abergavenny and reported to Newport Museum & Art Gallery for recording under the Portable Antiquities Scheme: the Scheme in Wales is co-ordinated by Mark Lodwick (Finds Co-ordinator) based at the National Museums & Galleries of Wales, Cardiff. The vessel is of high quality craftsmanship and the decorative handle depicts a leopard, with its head peering over the rim of the vessel. The handle has been finely cast and the leopard's spots are represented by silver inlay. The cup, probably of first century AD date, was almost certainly imported from Italy. The significance of the find prompted an investigation conducted by the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust, supported by Portable Antiquities and funded by Monmouthshire Museum Service. The excavation revealed a possible funerary context for the vessel, for it was associated with cremated bone and potsherds of Roman date.

Estelle and Leopard Cup

Estelle Morris (Arts Minister) with the Roman leopard cup.

Besides these finds more than 49,500 others have been recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme in the period of this report: many of which would otherwise not have been recorded. All the finds recorded by the Scheme are published on our online database - www.finds.org.uk - which is an amazing resource for educators, researchers and anyone with an interest in the past'.

Copies of the current Annual Report can be downloaded from the scheme's website: www.finds.org.uk/news/annual.asp or by contacting your local Finds Liaison Officer (see www.finds.org.uk/news/annual.asp or call 0207 323 8618).

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Arts minister unveils Bronze Age and Roman Treasure

Published: Wednesday 17th December 2003 Author:

A remarkable Bronze Age hoard found in Kent - the first of its kind to be reported as Treasure - is one of many previously unrecorded archaeological discoveries featured in this year's Portable Antiquities Annual Report to be launched by Estelle Morris, Minister of State for the Arts, at Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries on 18th December 2003.

Estelle Morris says 'the excavation of the Hollingbourne hoard - a Bronze Age weapons cache recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme and subsequently excavated archaeologically - is a prime example of involving local people in archaeology and highlighting the educational value of the Portable Antiquities Scheme'. The initial find, discovered by David Button whilst using a metal detector, was reported to Andrew Richardson (Kent Finds Liaison Officer), who organised an excavation on the site. This involved officers from Kent County Council's Heritage Conservation Team together with a cross-section of local people interested in archaeology and subsequently an in-situ Bronze Age hoard was discovered. The find has been brought to life by the Portable Antiquities Scheme when educating school children and others about the importance of finds recording and the value of the Scheme.

Hollingbourne Hoard axehead

Mark Wood, Chair of Resource, which helps manage the Scheme, said 'besides the Hollingbourne hoard more than 49,500 other finds have been recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme in the period of this report: many of which would otherwise not have been recorded. All the finds recorded by the Scheme are published on our online database - www.finds.org.uk - which is an amazing resource for educators, researchers and anyone with an interest in the past'.

Roger Bland, Head of Portable Antiquities, said 'the Portable Antiquities Scheme provides the only proactive mechanism to record systematically archaeological finds found by the public and make that data publicly available. Now - thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding - that we have Finds Liaison Officers in every part of England and Wales and the Scheme also provides a comprehensive service for finders, so they know that by recording their finds with us they will be investing in our understanding of the past'.

The Bronze Age hoard from Hollingbourne, Kent, and other discoveries mentioned in the Portable Antiquities Annual Report 2001-3 will be unveiled during a press conference hosted by Resource, 16 Queen Anne's Gate, London, SW1H 9AA on 18th December 2003 at 14.00. A photo-shoot featuring the Arts Minister and the archaeological finds has been scheduled for 14.00 on the 18th December.

Leopard Cup from Abergavenny

This will include a magnificent Roman 'leopard' cup from Abergavenny, found by Gary Mapps, which is one of the highest quality Roman vessels to have been found in Wales and one of the most fabulous finds recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme. The vessel is of high quality craftsmanship and the decorative handle depicts a leopard, with its head leaning over the rim of the vessel. The handle has been finely cast and silver inlay represents the leopard's spots are represented by silver inlay. The cup, probably of first century AD date, was almost certainly imported from Italy.

For further information please contact Alex Robat at Brunswick Arts on 0207 936 1296, Email: arobat@brunswickgroup.com

Notes to editors:

The Portable Antiquities Scheme (www.finds.org.uk) is a voluntary scheme for the recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public. It was established to promote the recording of chance archaeological discoveries and to broaden public awareness of the importance of such finds for understanding our past. Since 1997 the Scheme's Finds Liaison Officers have recorded over 150,000 objects. The major funding partners of the Scheme are the Heritage Lottery Funds, the DCMS, Resource, the British Museum and the National Museums & Galleries of Wales.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme is managed by a consortium of national bodies led by Resource: the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries, and includes the British Museum, English Heritage, the National Museums & Galleries of Wales and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, together with the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers, the Council for British Archaeology, the National Council for Metal-detecting, the Society of Museum Archaeologists and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Some of the finds recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme are on display at the British Museum as part of a special exhibition. Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past will show how much chance archaeological discoveries have revolutionised our understanding of our past and celebrates the contribution the public have made in uncovering history, through the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the Treasure Act. The exhibition runs at the British Museum from 21 November 2003-14 March 2004, and will then tour to Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle and Norwich. Sponsored by Anglo-American and Tarmac.

Museums, archives and libraries connect people to knowledge and information, creativity and inspiration. Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries is leading the drive to unlock this wealth for all. The Resource website can be viewed at http://www.resource.gov.uk

'Hollingbourne' is an excellent example of a community project organised by the Portable Antiquities Scheme and Kent County Council, whom employ the local Finds Liaison Officer. The excavation involved volunteers from Kent County Council, the Maidstone Area Archaeological Group, the Kent Archaeological Society, the Lenham Archaeological Society and Maidstone Museum, as well a local detector-users. The excavation was filmed by the BBC as part of a forthcoming television series.

The Roman 'leopard' cup was discovered by Gary Mapps while detecting on farmland near Abergavenny and reported to Newport Museum & Art Gallery for recording under the Portable Antiquities Scheme: the Scheme in Wales is co-ordinated by Mark Lodwick (Finds Co-ordinator) based at the National Museums & Galleries of Wales, Cardiff. The significance of the find prompted an investigation conducted by the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust, supported by Portable Antiquities and funded by Monmouthshire Museum Service. The excavation revealed a possible funerary context for the vessel, for it was associated with cremated bone and potsherds of Roman date.

Contacts
Michael Lewis/Roger Bland (020) 7323 8611
Emma Wright (020) 7273 1459
 

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Vacancy for Find Liaison Officer

Published: Thursday 4th December 2003 Author:

POST TITLE:-  FINDS LIAISON OFFICER
    
POST NUMBER:-  EDP514

GRADE/SALARY:-  GRADE 6 £15,933

TEMPORARY CONTRACT:   Terminating on the 31st of March 2006

HOURS OF WORK:- 37 PER WEEK

LOCATION/BASE:
NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE MUSEUM
OSWALD ROAD
SCUNTHORPE 

DESCRIPTION:-

We are seeking to recruit an archaeologist with an interest in material culture to continue the development of our Finds Identification and Recording Service, and to promote the Dept for Culture, Media and Sport's Portable Antiquities Scheme in northern Lincolnshire.

For a discussion, please contact Kevin Leahy, Principal Keeper Archaeology and Natural History on (01724) 297055.

Further details and an application form can be obtained from the Human Resources Section on (01724) 297306 (answer-phone), or by e-mailing: tracy.lindsey@northlincs.gov.uk

Closing date: Tuesday 16th December 2003.

Interviews are likely to take place during week- commencing 22nd December 2003

A job specification can be obtained from here>>

A person specification can be obtained from here>>

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East of England Newsletter

Published: Friday 28th November 2003 Author:

I am very pleased to introduce the first East of England region Portable Antiquities Scheme newsletter. This newsletter aims to focus upon the work of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.

This issue begins with an update of Portable Antiquities news, focusing upon the newly appointed Finds Liaison Officers in the East of England region. The first in a series of articles about Bronze Age objects takes a look at Bronze Age awls. Finders often overlook these small objects but if recognised they can make a valuable contribution to the understanding of the Bronze Age in our region. Recent research into the production sites of barbarous radiates in Norfolk and Suffolk is introduced.

Unusual recent finds are then focused upon, including the Norfolk Roman diploma.
An exciting treasure find recently acquired by a local museum is then illuminated and Chris Mycock discusses the price of treasure items from museums' point of view.

Finally the findings of two recent excavations conducted in Suffolk for the recent Hidden Treasure Programme and Time Team are revealed.

Faye Minter

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Portable Antiquities V Graham Norton

Published: Wednesday 26th November 2003 Author:

The Portable Antiquities Scheme were asked by V Graham Norton to identify 'archaeological' finds found by the public as part of a feature for the show inspired by Time Team - the Big Dig and Indiana Jones - Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Prior to filming the programme producers had asked members of the audience to bring in finds discovered in their gardens together with photographs of the 'excavations'. Michael Lewis and Sally Worrell (both Portable Antiquities Scheme) then went to the studios to identify the finds discovered and offer comments on them. Needless to say most finds were twentieth century and included an exhumed terrapin, perished underpants and prosthetic limbs! However amongst these gruesome discoveries were some typical of the sort normally seen by the Scheme's Finds Liaison Officers, these including copper-alloy objects, flints and a fragment of Roman pottery.

 Sally Worrell ID's finds

Image 1 - Sally Worrell identifying finds

Sally Worrell with finder

Image 2 - Sally Worrell examining finds with finder

During filming Graham Norton said that the finds had been identified by 'archaeological experts' from the Portable Antiquities Scheme and also explained that the role of the Scheme was to identify and record finds made by the public. Given the nature of the show we were pleasantly surprised that Graham Norton also went on to note the importance of having permission to search on public land and also referred to the issue of modern development of archaeological sites - though some of these comments fell on the cutting room floor. The show was screened 'as live' last night (25th November 2003) and attracted a viewing audience of about two million.  

Sally Worrell with Graham

Image 3 - Sally Worrell with Graham Norton

Whilst the show was very much 'tongue in cheek' there is no doubt a new (though perhaps untraditional) audience became aware that such a Scheme for recording archaeological objects actually existed!

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