I am prompted to ask if this report is an indicator to the apparent ease
with which archaeological posts both in Museums and Planning Depts. seem to
I must admit to ignorance, to my shame, but I thought that "Archaeology" was
broadly seen as "Environmental".
It now seems otherwise - it appears also to be a "Cultural" matter, yet the
DCMS minister is holding forth on the importance of SMRs, which I thought
were integral to the Planning process, and therefore under the Dept. of the
Am I missing something or does Central Government need to get "joined-up"
with respect to "Archaeology" in its totality and its implementation at a
Local Government level?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Alex Hunt" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001 3:43 PM
Subject: More Historic Artefacts Than Ever Being Reported - DCMS Press Re
> DCMS Press Release 90/01
> > 26 March 2001
> > MORE HISTORIC ARTEFACTS THAN EVER BEING REPORTED
> > UNDER PORTABLE ANTIQUITIES SCHEME, SAYS ALAN HOWARTH
> > DCMS TO FUND EXTRA POSTS AS REPORTS RISE BY 50 PERCENT
> > A voluntary scheme to report and record finds of historic artefacts
> > was hailed as a success by Arts Minister Alan Howarth today.
> > Announcing the news that reports had risen by 50 percent, Mr Howarth
> > said the scheme was vital if we are to unearth - and understand - the
> > secret history buried beneath our feet.
> > Mr Howarth was publishing the third Annual Report of the Portable
> > Antiquities Scheme, established to report finds which fall outside
> > the scope of 1996 Treasure Act. The Scheme, which runs in 11 regions
> > of England and Wales, uses local finds liaison officers to work with
> > finders of artefacts. These officers ensure that objects are properly
> > recorded and researched and, where possible, examine the
> > archaeological sites the objects have come from.
> > Examples of finds from the report include:
> > - a 15th century pilgrims badge depicting St Roch, a saint commonly
> > associated with pilgrimage and plague, discovered in Yorkshire;
> > - an early 16th century copper alloy miniature book found in
> > Hampshire and;
> > - a silver penny of Edward the Confessor (1042-1066), found in Kent.
> > Mr Howarth said:
> > "Every year, hundreds of thousands of objects are found in England
> > and Wales by metal detectorists, archaeologists and members of the
> > public. With less than five percent counting as Treasure - and
> > therefore reportable under law - the work of the Portable Antiquities
> > scheme is vital in recording these objects. This work ensures that
> > the objects, and often the sites on which they are found, can be
> > properly investigated and that more information on the social and
> > cultural heritage of England and Wales is unearthed.
> > "I would like to thank the finders for working with this voluntary
> > scheme to make it such a success. I am also delighted to announce
> > that for 2001-02, the Heritage Lottery Fund are to continue funding
> > six posts and that my Department will increase funding from six posts
> > to eight."
> > The report shows that in 1999-2000, 31,783 archaeological objects
> > were recorded, up from nearly 21,000 the year before, and involving
> > almost 1,800 individual finders. Metal objects accounted for 36
> > percent of finds and coins for 31%, followed by pottery, worked stone
> > and other objects. The most common period for finds are the Roman and
> > post-medieval eras, with the Iron Age and Bronze Age the least
> > common.
> > Although the vast majority of finds are made by metal detectorists,
> > awareness of the Portable Antiquities Scheme has seen increasing
> > numbers of members of the public come forward to report non-metallic
> > objects. Norfolk, Suffolk and Yorkshire were the regions which
> > yielded the greatest number of finds.
> > Commenting on the importance of the Portable Antiquities Scheme for
> > improving the access to local history, Alan Howarth said:
> > "All records of finds are also being passed on to Sites and Monuments
> > Records (SMRs), the key holders of information about the historic
> > environment. There are as many as 100 different SMRs maintained
> > across England and Wales by local authorities. SMRs are the primary
> > source of information on the historic environment. There are more
> > than one million known 'monuments' scattered across England, and the
> > information held on SMRs about them is key to their effective
> > management, conservation, fieldwork and research."
> > Notes to Editors
> > 1. Images of finds included in the report from across the regions,
> > and tables giving a further breakdown of the types and age of
> > objects found, have been e-mailed to regional/national picture
> > desks. Please contact DCMS press office on the numbers below if
> > you have not received the email. The images available are:
> > Images / tables
> > 1. Carved stone head, date uncertain, discovered by a JCB driver
> > in Kent.
> > 2. A silver penny of Edward the Confessor (1042-1066) found near
> > New Romney, Kent.
> > 3. Early 16th century copper-alloy miniature book with Latin
> > inscription, found in Hampshire.
> > 4. The finders of the 'Weedon Warrior' - an Anglo-Saxon grave with
> > sword, razor and knife - by the excavation site in
> > Northamptonshire.
> > 5. A rare medieval copper-alloy box, dating from between 13th to
> > 15th century, found in Suffolk.
> > 6. An Iron Age copper-alloy medieval model shield, possibly used
> > during religious rituals, found in Wales.
> > 7. Iron Age gold coins of the Corieltauvi tribe, found in East
> > Yorkshire.
> > 8. A 15th century pilgrims badge depicting St Roch, discovered in
> > Yorkshire.
> > 9. A copper-alloy bird brooch, dating from the 10th-11th
> > centuries, found in North Lincolnshire.
> > 10. A high-quality medieval copper-alloy buckle-plate, found in
> > Norfolk.
> > 11. Table - showing types of objects recorded across the regions.
> > 12. Table - showing breakdown by period of objects found across
> > the regions.
> > 2. Further information on the scheme is available from the website
> > http://www.finds.org.uk and from the outreach officer Richard Hobbs on
> > 0207 323 8611 or email [log in to unmask]
> > 3. The origin of the Portable Antiquities scheme lies in the fact
> > that every year in England and Wales hundreds of thousands of
> > chance archaeological finds are made by members of the public. The
> > majority are found by metal detector users, the rest through other
> > outdoor activities such as rambling and gardening. Only a small
> > proportion of these finds have been recorded by museums or
> > archaeologists.
> > 4. The amount of archaeological material found by the public each
> > year is vast:
> > - There are at least 15,000 metal detector users operating in
> > England and Wales;
> > - metal detectorists find as many as 400,000 archaeological objects
> > a year;
> > - over 95 per cent of all Treasure cases are metal detected finds.
> > 5. The Government has also recognised that not recording these
> > finds represents a considerable loss to the nation's heritage.
> > Once an object has left the ground and lost its provenance, a
> > large part of its archaeological value is lost. The result is a
> > loss of information about the past which is irreplaceable.
> > (Portable Antiquities: A Discussion Document, 1996).
> > 6. In September 1997 the Treasure Act came into force in England,
> > Wales and Northern Ireland. The Treasure Act removed the worst
> > anomalies of the old law of Treasure Trove, and defined more
> > clearly what qualifies as treasure. The Treasure Act has proved
> > highly successful, having led to a sevenfold increase in the
> > number of cases of treasure. However, the great majority at least
> > 95 per cent of archaeological objects are still excluded from its
> > scope. In Portable Antiquities: A Discussion Document the
> > Government accepted that there was an urgent need to improve
> > arrangements for recording all Portable Antiquities. It therefore
> > set out proposals for voluntary and compulsory schemes for the
> > reporting of finds that fall outside the scope of the Treasure
> > Act, and sought views on their relative merits. All those who
> > responded agreed that the recording of all archaeological finds
> > was essential, but stressed that this could not be done without
> > additional resources. There was also a consensus among both
> > archaeologists and metal detector users that a voluntary scheme
> > offered the best way forward.
> > As a result, Ministers announced in December 1996 that the
> > Department for Culture, Media and Sport would provide funding to
> > establish pilot schemes for the voluntary recording of
> > archaeological finds as a first step and six posts were
> > established in autumn 1997. The aims of the pilot schemes are:
> > - to advance our knowledge of the history and archaeology of England
> > and Wales;
> > - to initiate a system for recording of archaeological finds and to
> > encourage and promote better recording practice by finders;
> > - to estimate how many objects are being found across England and
> > Wales and what resources would be needed to record them.
> > The first six pilot schemes were in Kent, Norfolk, North
> > Lincolnshire, the North West, West Midlands and Yorkshire. Further
> > pilots have now been set up in Dorset and Somerset, Hampshire,
> > Northamptonshire, Suffolk and Wales.
> > 7. Media copies of the Portable Antiquities Annual Report
> > 1999-2000 are available from the DCMS Press Office on the numbers
> > below.
> > Department for Culture, Media and Sport
> > 2-4 Cockspur Street
> > London SW1Y 5DH