As a Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) for the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) life is never straightforward and it is guaranteed that the minute you plan out what is happening during the week – everything changes. With this in mind – rather than just telling you what I did today – I thought I would recap the whole week. I have left the everyday bits out and instead you have the edited highlights:
Recording Archaeological finds from the Hereford Metal Detecting Club – finds recording is what I (and all FLOs) spend most of our days doing. Whether it is recording broken buckles or corroded coins or exceptional artefacts they all add to the rich tapestry that is lurking beneath the English and Welsh landscape.
Morning meeting with the head of the museum service in Shropshire, County Archaeologist and Historic Environment Staff. This is a chance for everyone working within the Council environment to catch up on what has happened and what is planned – sounds dull but was fascinating – especially as I had the opportunity to contribute important new sites discovered recently through recorded finds to the discussions. The sites of which will now be flown over by the HER team as part of their summer season of aerial photography.
Lunchtime: Coroner holds an inquest into a gold post Roman ring discovered in South Shropshire. The ring is of National Importance (see PAS record). It is unlikely to have been worn on a finger – instead it is more likely to have either decorated a sword pommel or be a form of toggle / woggle / dress decoration. The date of the find is the really important and interesting as we have very little information about post Roman Shropshire (apart from what is known from Wroxeter). This find is likely to be of continental – possibly Byzantine – origin and as such is another link between Western Britain and what remains of the Eastern Roman Empire
Teatime: Talk to the local BBC radio Shropshire on their drive time show about the find, metal detecting and treasure
More treasure things – giving information to local press – about the ring from South Shropshire
Afternoon: Advertise PAS Finds Recording Assistant for the West Midlands – Headley Trust Intern. The West Midlands team of FLOs was awarded a bursary post at the beginning of the financial year to help train and develop finds professionals / post graduate students in identifying and recording archaeological finds. This internship is offered part time over 6 months and will be based with me in Ludlow Museum Resource Centre. Visit the PAS vacancies website for more information!
Back to recording the finds from the Hereford Club – something that should have been finished earlier in the week!
Afternoon – 3:30 Call from a couple of local metal detectorists to say that they had found a Roman coin hoard could I come out and have a look as they uncovered a small group of coins and stoppped. This is exactly what we advise people to do when finding objects which are obviously still associated with an archaeological context.
So I went out to the site in XXXXXX (sorry if I told you where it was – I would have to kill you) to see what it was that they had uncovered!
The hoard looks to be lying beneath the ploughsoil and be undisturbed! From what could be seen – the hoard is most likely to date from the late 3rd Century AD and be positioned beneath a stone. This period (260-290 ish AD) has a huge number (over 660 at the last count) of hoards put in the ground – this phenomenon is currently being investigated by a specially funded archaeological project organised by the British Museum and University of Leicester (see here).
As there were more coins in the ground it was decided that it would be better to leave them and return to excavate the following week so all the archaeological information can be captured.
Evening Rush home and have quick wash and brush up: Then straight back out to Ludlow Museum for a evening fundraiser in aid of The Bitterley Hoard.
Last year for the Day of Archaeology I spent alot of time blogging about this really important civil war hoard from South Shropshire (see here) which had just made the news. Well, a year later the Shropshire Museums and the Friends of Ludlow Museum are trying hard to raise the monies to acquire and conserve this hoard (see here).
The event was well attended (with over 120 people) – and I even said a few words about what the hoard was, why it was important. Lottie, chair of the friends, then said what the Museum hoped to do with it when / if it were acquired.
The hoard is the largest civil war group of coins found in Shropshire in modern times and due to the level of preservation the leather purse in which it was deposited is remarkably well preserved. If you want to help save the hoard – and conserve it for display in Ludlow Museum then you can make a contribution through the Friends ‘Just Giving’ webpage.
Back to the office and recording those finds – as well as catching up on a weeks worth of phone and email messages. Oh and planning the hoard excavation for next week … but then I’m sure if I make too many plans something else is bound to crop up
Evening: Writing this blog – which I hope you have enjoyed!
Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme