Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Success for Treasure Act and PAS as UK Commits to Funding

The Museum, Libraries and Archives Council has released a review of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). The Report by an independent consultant can be found on the PAS website, at , along with the latest Treasure Report covering 2005-2006 (

The report on the PAS is significant because it recognizes that the Scheme needs more funding. In so doing, the report notes,

PAS has overcome the scepticism of archaeologists and the mistrust of finders to create a partnership in the understanding of the past. Data from thousands of members of the public has helped create a new cultural map of England and Wales, with insights into rural life in Roman Britain, Anglo-Saxon trade, the Vikings and the links between Britain and the Byzantine world. PAS has filled a gap in museum services, re-established skills in identifying objects and created a virtual collection used by a quarter of a million individuals each year. It also seems to have reduced the amount of illicit detecting on archaeological sites.

The accompanying Treasure Annual Report, which details finds made under the mandetory provisions of the Treasure Act, is similarly upbeat. As a press release indicates,

The Treasure Annual Report, announced today, records another dramatic increase on the amount of finds reported in the last year, with 749 objects reported in 2007 (up from 665 in 2006). The current report includes all finds which have passed through the Treasure Process in 2005 and 2006, 1,257 finds in total. Key finds include one of the best Iron Age torcs to be found in the last 50 years. The ‘Newark Torc’ provides an excellent example of the value of the Treasure Act, in that its discovery has forced historians and archaeologists to re-think the importance of the Trent Valley area 2,000 years ago. The proper recording of this find, and indeed all the finds listed in the report, have contributed inestimably to our understanding of our past.

Congratulations to Roger Bland, his colleagues at the British Museum and the PAS Finds Liaison Offices, and all the members of the public in Britain and Wales that have made the program such a success.

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