Removing coins from block, part of the work carried out under the PAS

Portable Antiquities Scheme discoveries

Contact the PAS

Phone: +44 (0)20 7323 8611/8618

Write to us:

Portable Antiquities Scheme
The British Museum
Great Russell Street
London
WC1B 3DG

The focus of the PAS is on the recording of finds, rather than their acquisition by museums, although some important objects recorded by the scheme have ended up in public collections.

Most Treasure finds are also reported via the PAS, and museums may acquire these finds by law.

The Ringlemere cup

Among the most important Treasure finds acquired by the British Museum is the Ringlemere cup, a Bronze Age gold vessel, almost 4,000 years old.

The cup was found near Sandwich in Kent in 2001 by Keith Bradshaw, a metal-detectorist. It's considered a fine example of craftsmanship and experts suspect it was used for ritual purposes.

Excavations at the site revealed a hitherto unknown prehistoric landscape, including ditches and enclosures.

The Staffordshire Moorlands pan

Discovered in 2003 in north Staffordshire, the pan was reported to the PAS by metal-detectorist Kevin Blackburn.

This copper-alloy vessel, with colourful enamel inlay and inscriptions detailing forts on Hadrian's Wall, is thought to have been made as a souvenir for a soldier on Hadrian's Wall.

Given the find was not Treasure (since it was made of non-precious metal) it could have been sold to a collector, but thankfully it was jointly acquired by the British Museum, the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery (Stoke-on-Trent) and Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery (Carlisle).

The Watlington Hoard

An important coin hoard reported Treasure through the PAS was the Watlington Hoard, found by James Mather while out detecting in 2015. An emergency excavation of the find was organised by the late David Williams (then Finds Liaison Officer for Surrey).

The hoard is important since it contains 'two-emperor' coins of the Anglo-Saxon kings Alfred 'the Great' of Wessex and Coelwulf II of Mercia, suggesting they had a closer alliance against the Viking threat than recorded. It's suggested Alfred later had this alliance erased from history!