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Synthesis and analysis of Portable Antiquities Scheme and Treasure data

Project leader: Roger Bland

Department: Portable Antiquities Scheme & Treasure

Project start: 1997
End date: ongoing

Other British Museum staff:  Daniel Pett, Sam Moorhead, Ian Leins, JD Hill, Michael Lewis, Fi Hitchcock, Caroline Barton, Cei Paynton, Claire Costin, Jody Joy, Ben Roberts, James Robinson

Other departments: Coins and Medals, Prehistory and Europe

External partners:

University College London

York University

King’s College, London

University of Cambridge

Birkbeck College, London

Project funded by:

Heritage Lottery Fund

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Arts and Humanities Research Council

Museums Libraries and Archives Council

Over 60 local partners


The Portable Antiquities Scheme has been collating data relating to the discovery of archaeological artefacts by members of the public since 1997. These data are now beginning to form a large corpus of information that is made publicly available via with very few restrictions to the academic world. This corpus is now a reference point for many academics and is beginning to be used more widely throughout archaeological academia for England and Wales.  At the time of writing, over 130 higher level degree students are making use of the data that the Scheme has collected.

However, the raw collection of these data alone does not provide any context or interpretative uses. It is therefore imperative that this corpus can be synthesised and analysed to demonstrate patterns and increase academic knowledge.  Analysis is now underway with several AHRC funded projects:

PhD at King’s College, London: Roman Northamptonshire (Tom Brindle)

PhD at Birkbeck College, London: Iron Age coins (Ian Leins)

VASLE research project at York University

Nighthawking project (funded by English Heritage and other partners on a proposal by PAS) contracted to

Oxford Archaeology and now initiated

Corpus of Roman gold coins found in Britain (R Bland)


To advance knowledge of the history and archaeology of England and Wales by systematically recording archaeological objects found by the public;

To raise awareness among the public of the educational value of archaeological finds in their context and facilitate research in them;

To increase opportunities for active public involvement in archaeology and strengthen links between metal-detector users and archaeologists;

To encourage all those who find archaeological objects to make them available for recording and to promote best practice by finders;

Provide a standardised reference point for the identification and recording of these objects

Make these data available to all via the internet;

Raise awareness of the resource amongst the academic community.


More information:


PAS Annual report 2005 - 2006

PAS Annual report 2004 – 2005

PAS Annual report 2003 – 2004

PAS Annual report 2001 – 2003

Treasure Annual Report 2000

Treasure Annual Report 2001

Treasure Annual Report 2002

Treasure Annual Report 2003

Treasure Annual Report 2004