Portable Antiquities Annual Report 2019

A copy of the report can be downloaded as a PDF here.

I am very pleased to introduce the Portable Antiquities Scheme
annual report for 2019, which, once again, has been a very successful
year for the Scheme.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) is a key part of the British
Museum's national activity, working closely with our colleagues in
Wales and our local partners across England that employ, host,
manage and support the team of Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs). It is
the FLOs who are the front-line of this work, reaching out to local
people to identify and record their finds so they can be added to the
national dataset: finds.org.uk/database. This data is being used to help
archaeologists and others learn more about past peoples and the
historic landscape.

In particular, I would like to thank all those who have offered finds for
recording in 2019. Some of these discoveries are spectacular, others
more common, but all help paint a more comprehensive picture of the
past. Most of these finds have been discovered by members of the
metal-detecting community, and responsible metal detecting makes a
positive contribution to archaeology through this work with PAS.
Britain has a diverse landscape, but much of its arable land is
cultivated putting archaeological sites at risk. Therefore, recovering
these finds from the plough-zone not only saves them from the plough
but also (when recorded) enables us to all enjoy them and learn from
them. While I appreciate that people enjoy metal-detecting for many
reasons besides its contribution to archaeology, it is heartening to see
that the guidelines on best practice are followed so widely.

I would also like to thank the FLOs, who I know are a dedicated and
hardworking team, and one that enables the British Museum to reach
out to people in every part of England, from Land's End to Berwick upon-
Tweed, and from Carlisle to Dover. Also, the other PAS staff,
both in the British Museum and elsewhere across the country, but
particularly the Scheme's local managers and host organisations, that
help us manage and support the FLOs and their work. The PAS
partnership is a very special entity, joining together people whom are
extraordinarily passionate about archaeology, but also about enabling
public involvement in our shared past.

The Scheme is also very fortunate in having a number of external
organisations and individuals who are keen to support it. In 2019, the
Headley Trust again generously funded PAS Interns to work alongside
FLOs across the country, and the National Heritage Lottery Fund
funding the very successful PASt Explorers: finds recording in the
local community, which has provided many opportunities for people
to volunteer with the PAS and develop new skills along the way.
Special thanks are also due to Graham and Joanna Barker, who have
helped fund local FLOs and the PAS more generally, and Treasure
Hunting magazine who have, once again, printed this report and
made it available through the pages of their magazine.

This report has been produced at a time when the heritage sector, due
to the current global pandemic, is facing a troubled time. However,
throughout 2020 the PAS and its network of FLOs has worked
diligently, finding new ways to reach out to finders, record their finds
and process Treasure (as much as is practical), in doing so showing an
extraordinary ability to adapt to the new realities when face-to-face
contact with finders was previously a fundamental part of its
approach. Indeed, it is only a few months ago that the PAS recorded
its 1,500,000 find, demonstrating why its work to record finds and
connect people with those of the past continues to be so important.

Hartwig Fischer