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HERFORUM  September 2003

HERFORUM September 2003

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Subject:

Portable Antiquities Scheme Developments

From:

"Newman, Martin" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Issues related to Sites & Monuments Records <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 30 Sep 2003 17:34:06 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (274 lines)

I have been asked to pass on the following

Martin

---------------------------------------------
Martin Newman
SMR Forum List Owner
National Monuments Record
English Heritage

Phone - 01793 414718
Fax - 01793 414770
Email - [log in to unmask]



-----Original Message-----
From: Daniel Pett [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 30 September 2003 17:26
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Portable Antiquities Scheme Developments


Dear Martin,
Today, at the PAS, we announced two very important developments.
These were:
a) The discovery of the Staffordshire Moorlands Cup, which is a unique Roman
Patera.
b) The launch of our new database system, developed by Oxford ArchDigital.
The press releases are at the bottom of this email, and the pertinent links
are:
http://www.finds.org.uk
http://www.findsdatabase.org.uk
http://www.oxarchdigital.com
I would be most grateful if you could let your members on your discussion
forum know.
Yours

Daniel

Daniel Pett M.Phil
ICT Adviser
Portable Antiquities Scheme
The British Museum
t: 020 7323 8618
http://www.finds.org.uk

PORTABLE ANTIQUITIES SCHEME PRESS RELEASE

Embargoed until 12 noon 30th September 2003
Contact: Sally Worrell (020) 7679 4730
Michael Lewis or Roger Bland (020) 7323 8611


UNIQUE ROMAN SOUVENIR
REVEALS HADRIAN'S WALL SECRETS

A unique Roman vessel bearing the names of four forts on Hadrian's Wall has
been found by metal-detectorists in Staffordshire and recorded with the
Portable Antiquities Scheme.

The vessel, a bronze pan, was discovered in the Staffordshire Moorlands by
Kevin Blackburn and his detecting partner Julian Lee. Kevin recalls 'when we
found the object we knew it was important and should be recorded by an
archaeologist. Immediately we contacted Jane Stewart our local Finds Liaison
Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, who is based at Birmingham
Museum and Art Gallery.'

Elaborately decorated with 'Celtic-style' motifs the vessel is inlaid with
coloured enamel. Ralph Jackson (Curator Romano-British Collections, British
Museum) describes the vessel as 'a patera, a handled pan which was rather
like a small saucepan in appearance. Its base and handle were made
separately and soldered on, but both are now missing. To judge from other
finds the handle would have been flat and bow-tie shaped and also inlaid
with coloured enamel. These ostentatiously colourful pans, made in the 2nd
century AD, had varied decorative designs but the present example is unusual
in its curvilinear scrollwork - a balanced design of eight roundels
enclosing swirling six-armed whirligigs. It is also notable for the fine
preservation of so much of its enamel inlay and for the large number of
colours used - blue, red, turquoise, yellow and (possibly) purple.'

Undoubtedly the most exciting feature of the vessel is the engraved
inscription, which runs around the pan in an unbroken sequence of letters
just below the rim. It lists four forts located at the western end of
Hadrian's Wall; Bowness (MAIS), Drumburgh (COGGABATA), Stanwix (UXELODUNUM)
and Castlesteads (CAMMOGLANNA). Until the discovery of this pan only two
other examples were known with inscriptions naming forts on Hadrian's Wall:
the 'Rudge Cup', discovered in Wiltshire in 1725, and the 'Amiens patera',
found in Amiens in 1949. Between them they name seven forts, but the present
pan is the first to include Drumburgh. All three are best explained as
souvenirs of Hadrian's Wall, which was a unique type of frontier in the
Roman Empire, perhaps as remarkable then as today.

Roger Tomlin (Wolfson College, Oxford University) adds 'The bowl confirms
the ancient names of four forts in sequence from the western end of the
Wall, and for the first time suggests what is likely to be the correct
ancient form for the name for Drumburgh. In addition, there are further
important differences from the other examples; it incorporates the name of
an individual, AELIUS DRACO and a further place-name, RIGOREVALI which may
refer to the place in which Aelius Draco had the pan made.'

Sally Worrell (Prehistoric and Roman Finds Adviser for the Portable
Antiquities Scheme) says 'Aelius Draco was perhaps a veteran of a garrison
of Hadrian's Wall and on retirement had this vessel made to recall his time
in the army. His Greek name suggests that he or his family originated in the
Greek-speaking part of the eastern Roman Empire. An individual's name on an
object often records the maker, but in this case it is more likely to refer
to the person for whom the object was made. This is an absolutely wonderful
find - the most important Roman object recorded with the Portable
Antiquities Scheme'.

The context of the find spot has been assessed by Bill Klemperer,
Staffordshire County Archaeologist, and Ken Smith, Archaeologist for the
Peak District National Park. They consider that this is an isolated find,
rather than being part of a larger Roman site.

It is hoped that the pan will be acquired by a museum.

ENDS

On 30th September 2003 at 10.30am there will be a press launch in the Staff
Room, (room 609), 6th Floor, Institute of Archaeology, 31-4 Gordon Square,
London. The Staffordshire Moorlands Cup will be on display and there will
also be an opportunity to ask Sally Worrell questions about the find and its
circumstances of discovery.

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 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.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme, in conjunction with Oxford ArchDigital, has
developed a new database based on cutting edge, open source technology. The
accompanying press release from OAD outlines in more detail the system and
its benefits. The database can be reached at http://pas.toadhms.com; it
contains approximately 53000 records and 9300 images.

On 11th October 2003, in conjunction with BBC Hidden Treasure, 'finds
roadshows' will be held at eight venues across the country (in Cambridge,
Cardiff, Liverpool, London, Market Harborough, Taunton, Worcester and York)
where Finds Liaison Officers will be on hand to record archaeological finds
discovered by members of the public. Further information can be found on the
BBC History website at www.bbc.co.uk/history/archaeology/treasure or by
calling the BBC helpline on 08700 101 616.

The vessel will go on display at the British Museum as part of a special
exhibition opening in November 2003. 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.

Sally Worrell (Portable Antiquities Scheme, Finds Adviser, Roman and
Prehistoric) is based at the Institute of Archaeology, University College
London.

Jane Stewart is the Finds Liaison Office for the West Midlands and
Staffordshire and is based at Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery and
Stoke Potteries Museum.

Bill Klemperer is the Principal Historic Environment Officer, Staffordshire
County Council, based at the Development Services Department in Stafford.

Ken Smith is the Archaeologist for the Peak District National Park based at
the National Park Office at Bakewell.


OXFORD ARCHDIGITAL
DRAFT PRESS RELEASE
Draft 2/9 September 2003




ToadHMS makes Portable Antiquities Scheme Unique
Web-based content management system allows direct input from countrywide
project officers

Oxford, xx September 2003: Technology from Oxford ArchDigital is driving
the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the national scheme that records
archaeological finds by members of the public and makes them available on
the Web. ToadHMS is a complete, web-based data and image management system
and it uniquely allows users, such as the Scheme's Finds Liaison Officers as
well as members of the public, to enter data directly through their web
browsers. Its integrated Workflow and Data Quarantine facility ensures that
all data is accurately validated by specialists before it is published on
the Internet.

"ToadHMS has enabled us to create a living heritage resource on the Web.
Instead of being mere observers, members of the public will be helping to
create the resource and so feel a sense of ownership in it as it grows,"
says Roger Bland, Co-ordinator of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. "The
contents of the site will never be the same two days in a row, and yet the
data that appears on it will be fully validated. As a result, we have a
valuable, evolving tool for all who are interested in our past, whether they
are professionals, or members of the general public."

ToadHMS enables the Portable Antiquities Scheme to be a completely web-based
system. It can be accessed by project officers and members of the public
via any browser on a PC or laptop and runs on Windows, Linux and UNIX
operating systems using a large number of underlying databases, including MS
SQL, MySQL or Oracle.

The system is watertight in allowing for data to be validated before it is
published on the web. For example, when a member of the public submits
data, it enters a 'quarantine' area for checking by a specialist.
Alternatively the person could give their information directly to one of the
Scheme's 37 Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs). Then in turn it is validated by
one of the four Finds Specialists who are part of the Scheme. Subsets of the
data can be taken offline, added, edited and then synchronised with the
server at a later date, which helps FLOs to enter data in the field or when
using computers with slow Internet access.

Searching the database couldn't be easier as it seamlessly integrates text,
images and mapping data in a single, intuitive interface. Selecting any
find will bring up the full record relating to that find, including a
photograph if one is available. One more click will show a map of Britain
where it was found. Security is provided by a hierarchical system of user
and group-level access control, a particularly useful feature when it is
necessary to restrict access to sensitive information such as specific map
references.

Image management is fully integrated, rather than based on supplementary
HTML pages, supports all of the common image file formats and is totally
copyright protective. When an image is selected, the system delivers a
proxy over the web which, depending on the end user's credentials and
requirements, is watermarked or re-sampled.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme has been live since 1998 and its popularity
is growing rapidly. This year alone, our website (http://www.finds.org.uk)
is on course for over 1.5 million hits, 500, 000 hits higher than the
previous period. There are currently 53000 records on the system which are
all available for the public to browse through. The Scheme is designed for
expansion, and future plans include developing its educational applications
and making more raw data available to the research community. "However, the
success of national TV shows such as Time Team and Meet the Ancestors prove
the enormous amount of public interest in archaeology," continues Roger
Bland. "So we are working hard with Oxford ArchDigital to ensure that the
site develops to have the widest possible appeal."

ENDS

Links
The Portable Antiquities Scheme: http://www.finds.org.uk
Additional Information on ToadHMS: http://pas.toadhms.com
Oxford ArchDigital: http://www.oxarchdigital.com
The British Museum: http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk

For further information please contact Antony David, Spriggs David, Tel:
01865 512662 Email: [log in to unmask]

Oxford ArchDigital (OAD) provides systems and advice to museums,
archaeologists, local authorities and other heritage bodies whose
responsibilities include the care and management of artefacts, historical
sites and collections. The company was launched in early 2001 with funding
from The University of Oxford and private investors and benefits from
cutting edge IT developed within the University specifically for the task,
together with the wealth of experience the founders brought with them.

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