Report Launch successful, Hawkshead Independent Review released.

Published: 17 years ago Author:

Tuesday 26th October, saw Estelle Morris MP, Minister of State for the Arts and Mark Wood, Chairman of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council attend the Roman Amphitheatre at London's Guildhall to launch two major reports. This event saw the presence of members of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Department for Culture Media and Sport, the National Council for Metal Detecting alongside press reporters from most of the national press. The Portable Antiquities Scheme report summarises the work of the Scheme in it's first year of nationwide coverage, documenting the amazing figure of 47000 objects being recorded on the online database (http://www.findsdatabase.org.uk).

The DCMS' 2002 Treasure Report, showcases the 240 finds that meet the criteria of the 1996 Treasure Act, with the Wheathampstead hoard acting at the centre piece. Of these artefacts, around 45% of these have been acquired by local and national museums. The recent establishment of the Headley Trust Treasure Acquisition Fund, will aid many museums that in the past have been unable to acquire significant finds. (This will be reflected within the Treasure Report for 2004, when it's impact can be quantified.)
The Roman Amphitheatre, Guildhall
Ms. Morris welcomed the announcement of the two reports and the continuing success of the Scheme, and was able to view some of London's archaeological Heritage and 6 major artefact discoveries that were featured within the reports. The thrill of discovery and the importance of these finds was explained to Ms. Morris by some of the finders, with experts from the British Museum, St Albans Museum and the Portable Antiquities Scheme on hand to answer her questions. The Minister said as she announced the reports, "I would like to say thank you to all those people who go out in inclement weather to look for treasure. I hope many of the objects will join years of heritage in our museums and continue to tell the stories of our civilisation." 
 
Hedley Swain, Mark Wood and Estelle Morris MPIn the past year, 2300 people have been able to get involved with the scheme and record their objects. The subsequent increase in both treasure and non-treasure was  described by Ms Morris as a "testament to the effectiveness of the Portable Antiquities Scheme."  The Scheme allows public participation in Archaeology, something that is not an easy task to achieve. Mark Wood, Chairman of MLA stated in his opening address that, "With nearly 50,000 items logged last year it provides an amazing record of some truly extraordinary discoveries and as the country's largest community archaeology project it does more than any other scheme to democratise history and open up the past to people from all walks of life." 
 
Hedley Swain, Mark Wood and Estelle Morris (Picture - Dan Pett)

Wednesday 27th October, saw the Scheme release the Independent Review of its impact, commissioned by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and conducted by Hawkshead Archaeology and Conservation. The report highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the Scheme's work, and what action will be needed. Several of the findings have been addressed already, with extensive work planned for the database, website and our education initiatives.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme has had a successful year and is going from strength to strength. In the past 12 months, the Scheme has assisted with the excavation of a Viking Cemetery in Cumbria, the discovery of a Viking site in Yorkshire, the opening of a successful touring exhibition and several "Finds Days" around the country. 

Ms. Morris with the Wheathampstead Hoard

Estelle Morris with the Wheathampstead Hoard - (Picture Jonathan Goldberg)

Database usage has exceeded 2.8 million hits for the month of October with 300,000 pages served to the public; the Scheme's web presence is increasing on a monthly basis as shown within the report itself. The site remains our best tool for the dissemination of the information that we are collecting.
 
The Scheme only succeeds due to the efforts of the finders to record their heritage and the skills of it's staff. If you have found an archaeological object and would like to get it recorded, then contact your local Finds Liaison Officer or contact us at info@finds.org.uk.
To download the Annual Report 2003 - 2004, click here.
To download the Treasure Report 2002, click here. (External link to DCMS)
To download the Hawkshead Review 2004, click here for the report / appendices

Contact: Michael Lewis +44 (0) 207 323 8611

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