Portable Antiquities Scheme Wales secures funding to save more archaeologcal finds

By Richard Moss | 13 October 2014

A new HLF-backed scheme is about to help maximise the potential of the many archaeological finds unearthed by the public each year in Wales

a photo of a girl holding a ring in muddy field
Each year hundreds of objects of archaeological significance are found in Wales© Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
The good work of the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales is about to receive a welcome boost thanks to a £349,000 grant from Heritage Lottery Fund.

The HLF has given its backing to a new project designed to maximise the potential of the hundreds of new discoveries made by metal detectorists, walkers and amateur archaeologists and recorded by the scheme across the country every year.

Called Saving Treasures, Telling Stories, the project will see the PAS Wales work with finders and communities to enhance the archaeology collections of national and local museums right across Wales.

A series of collecting networks will be established across the country enabling museums to share skills, expertise and knowledge and offer training to interpret collections in new and strategic ways.

The money will also be used for targeted purchases of newly discovered artefacts and to develop national and local collections over a four-year period between 2015-2019.

This will involve discoveries covering many periods, from the Stone Age to Medieval times.

With the overall aim of creating "a long-term collecting culture” organisers hope the project will underpin the responsible discovery and reporting that the Portable Antiquities Scheme has worked so hard to nurture.

a photo of two men looking at finds in a field
Saving Treasures, Telling Stories will work with finders and communities to enhance collections across Wales© Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
Describing the finds that come in through the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales as “a crucial resource for understanding the past”, Peter Wakelin, Director of Collections and Research at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, said:

“Each year hundreds of objects of archaeological significance are found by metal detectorists in Wales and there are some 20-30 discoveries of treasure.

“Targeted purchases of newly-discovered artefacts for national and local collections, collecting activities, ongoing resources and community projects will make a lasting change in bringing together detector clubs, local museums and communities around the stories new discoveries reveal."

Wakelin said the five-year project will help to create and celebrate” a new culture around collecting the portable archaeological heritage in Wales” and that the Heritage Lottery Fund grant would help to “save more treasures and make them more accessible to wider audiences to tell their stories for future generations”.

Each year hundreds of objects of archaeological significance are found by metal detectorists, field walkers, farmers and other members of the public and the Portable Antiquities Scheme employs a network of Finds Liaison Officers in both England and Wales to log and record them.

The funding for this latest project comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Collecting Cultures initiative, which supports museums, libraries and archives in developing their collections through strategic acquisition projects.

A new website will be developed to support the project with journalism bursaries available for students to write and report about archaeological finds and the archaeology of Wales.

Find out more about the Portable Antiquities Scheme at www.finds.org.uk

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