Found any antiquities lately?

Found any antiquities lately?

Our Latest Talk: The Portable Antiquities Scheme, : Finds in Kent and East Sussex by Jennifer Jackson. Tuesday 11th November

Pictured is one of the Kent finds featured in a presentation by Jennifer during the 2014 Festival of Archaeology.  It is a small, early Medieval gold pendant  in the shape of a three-dimensional animal head, decorated with granules and filigree.

What a stimulating evening! Rye resident Jennifer Jackson who is Kent’s Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme came to tell a fascinated audience about the scheme and her part in it.

Why is the scheme important?

Have you found curious small and ‘very old’ looking objects while digging in your garden or allotment or while using a metal detector? Let Jennifer know! Every year many thousands of objects are discovered —  many of these by metal-detector users, but also by people whilst out walking, gardening or going about their daily work — which can,  IF they are recorded,  add to our knowledge of the archaeology and history of England. So much useful archaeological and historic information was being lost!

The Portable Antiquities Scheme, established in 1997, has come to the rescue. It is funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and managed under the auspices of the British Museum. Jennifer is one of 36 Finds Liaison Officers in England.

What is a ‘portable antiquity’?

As its name indicates, the scheme deals with items which can be picked up and carried (no cannons please) and which prove to be a least 300 years old. Over 1 million items are now on the database and Jennifer, from her long experience, was able to tell us, with lots of visual examples, about a range of exciting finds within Sussex and Kent. The workmanship and aesthetic sensitivity of our remote ancestors thus revealed is truly astonishing. Some of the finds — such as those containing gold or silver, or hordes of coins — qualify at ‘treasure’ for which there are special rules, but others find their way into local museums and many finders — after the desired records and images have been made — are allowed to be keepers.

Might you be a finder?

One Rye resident member of Tuesday’s audience brought a small piece of flint dug up during a planting session at her Rye home. Jennifer recognised marks made while shaping it — and said it could well be another local Bronze Age find!  Bronze Age means c2500-800 BC. Whew!

To find out more about the Scheme, how you could become involved , and what to do with any curious items you find, go to finds.org.uk. Click on the Contacts tab to find out how to get in touch with Jennifer.

First posted in Invasion Coast, Local History Research, News, Surrounding Towns and Villages on 12th November 2014
Last updated: 8th January 2015