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Supporting the Portable Antiquities Scheme - a volunteer's view

Members of Lincoln Archaeology Group were given the opportunity to help with recording of artefacts handed in to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). The scheme is run by the British Museum and Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales to encourage the recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public. The finds are recorded on to a data base and can then be used to advance the knowledge of our history.

The finds, many found by metal detector, are handed in to the local Finds Liaison Officer (FLO). Volunteers then identify them and enter the details on to the data base with a photograph before they are returned to the finder.

As a volunteer I attended several training courses about the various types of object, some have been at my favourite venue, The British Museum. Others have been more local, including Scunthorpe Museum. I hadn’t been there before but is now on my “must visit again” list.

In addition, I have accompanied the FLO to ‘handing in’ days at museums where I have met some of the finders.

Being a volunteer was more than just recording finds. It was an opportunity to meet once a week in Bishop Grosseteste University and to socialise and develop my knowledge and skills as part of a friendly team. With Covid-19 our activities came to an abrupt halt. Then there was good news, we could continue our recording from home. This was good for my spirits, but it had an unexpected bonus. My partner was able to join me looking at the finds and working out what they might be.

When I open the bags of artefacts it’s like being a kid in a sweet shop. I never know what I am going to find, anything from a Roman Brooch to a Victorian toy, but my favourites are

buttons. Here are some lovely examples of the latest batch of finds from around Lincolnshire.

A tiny, 17th C thimble (left) and an early-Medieval gaming piece (right) c. AD 410 to 1066. At the apex is a knop which appears to have an animal head which faces out over the more curved side of the cone. It may represent a boar or bull having two eyes snout and two ears.

An Elizabeth I half-groat, (1533-1603)

A white stone spindle whorl, probably dating to the Early Medieval period c AD 600-800.Fibres were spun into thread using a drop-spindle made of bone, ceramic or stone 'whorls' which acted as flywheels during spinning.

A copper-alloy dolphin brooch of Roman date, c AD 55 - 100.

A Post-Medieval gaming token copying the gold 'spade' guinea of George III (1760-1820), dated to AD 1795. These spade counters are so called because of the shape of the shield on the reverse.

You can find out more about the PAS on their website - - or contact Lisa Brundle, the Finds Liason Officer for Lincolnshire -

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