Treasuring Our Past

Portable Antiquities & Treasure Strategy: 2020

The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) records archaeological finds found by the public, to advance knowledge, tell the stories of past communities and further public interest in the past. It is a partnership scheme, managed by the British Museum (BM) in England and Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales (AC-NMW) in Wales, working with at least 119 national and local partners, and delivered through its network of 38 locally based Finds Liaison Officers, the PAS Central Unit and National Finds Advisers, interns and community volunteers.

Key Achievements

  • The PAS has recorded over 1 million archaeological finds discovered by the public on its online database, helping to identify new archaeological sites and help rewrite our understanding of the past.
  • Over 10,530 Treasure finds have been reported via the PAS, of which 37% have been acquired by 215 museums across England and Wales for public benefit.
  • PAS data is important to archaeological research, and has been used in at least 455 research projects, including 20 pieces of large-scale research and 95 PhDs.
  • The PAS has engaged directly with over 326,400 people in the last five years; through PASt Explorers it is expanding its volunteer base and providing new opportunities for people to get involved in archaeology.
  • The PAS database and websites have been visited by over 2,255,000 unique visitors since 2010, with over 24,028,000 page requests.
  • PAS data is used by Historic Environment Records (HERs) and others to help protect the historic environment and inform archaeological survey and investigation.
  • The Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales provides the baseline for best practice for those searching for archaeology.
  • The PAS provides a model for other finds recording systems, such as those being established in Flanders, Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland.

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