Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Metal Detectorists Help Record Journeys of Medieval Pilgrims

Most ancient coin collectors know how English and Welsh metal detectorists have helped record thousands upon thousands of Iron Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon coins under the Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme.

A "Cultural Property Observer" reader sent me this interesting article discussing how the PAS also has encouraged metal detectorists to help record relics from medieval pilgrimages in England. See

As the article notes,

Peter Liddle, community archeologist for Leicestershire County Council, said: "When I started with the county museums service over 20 years ago our collection included just a handful of religious relics.

"But thanks to the work of metal detectorists and the portable antiquities scheme, particularly since 2003, we are building a picture of the journeys undertaken by Leicestershire's pilgrims. We now have about 75 relics, many of which have been donated to us.

The finds include small flasks which held holy water from the shrines and medallions.

"The flasks were used as 'medieval first aid kits' which were used to heal wounds or cure illnesses."

King Henry VIII suppressed England's monasteries for political and economic reasons. See Some of their medieval art and architecture were recycled. Most of it, however, was unfortunately utterly destroyed.

Now, with the help of metal detectorists, some previously lost evidence about England's great medieval monasteries and the pilgrims that helped support them has come to light.

No comments: