Portable Antiquities, Metal Detecting and Archaeology

Find 15012 The CBA has, throughout its history, played an active and influential role in campaigning for reforms of legislation, policy and practice in relation to portable antiquities – most especially in seeking to combat the illicit looting of archaeological sites and the trade in illegally removed cultural objects. In undertaking this work the CBA is advised by The Portable Antiquities Working Group, a Presidential working party of the CBA with a membership of individuals with specialist knowledge drawn from a diverse range of archaeological and museums organisations. The CBA also acts as the convenor for the Standing Conference on Portable Antiquities, which brings together a broader constituency of archaeological organisations and museums, and governmental and academic bodies throughout the UK.

These webpages are designed to act as both an information resource and a source of practical guidance for anybody interested in the subjects of portable antiquities and metal detecting. Apart from providing advice, codes of practice and a guide to current legislation, links to useful websites, news stories about portable antiquities, metal detecting and finds published in the national press and British Archaeology magazine have also been added; as well as an archive of DCMS press releases, the CBA responses to government policy and links to research papers concerning the relationship between archaeology and metal detecting. It is intended that these pages will be regularly updated to keep abreast of the latest issues and developments.


General Portable Antiquities Issues

Metal Detecting – For codes of practice and practical advice, current legislation and links to the PAS and detectorists’ websites.

Portable Antiquities and Metal Detecting in the News – An archive of the latest articles in British Archaeology and the national press concerning portable antiquities and metal detecting.

Finds in the News – Cooperation between metal detector enthusiasts and the Portable Antiquities Scheme has led to a wealth of spectacular and important finds; this section provides links to a selection of articles on the finds that made national headlines.

Portable Antiquities Scheme and Metal Detecting Archive – An archive of DCMS press releases, the CBA’s responses to portable antiquities and metal detecting policy, and the Portable Antiquities Scheme and Treasure annual reports.

Research into Metal Detecting – Links to the most recent research into metal detecting and related subjects.

The Illicit Trade in Antiquities – The illicit trade in antiquities hits the headlines, for all the wrong reasons and recent policy reviews has brought the ‘trade’ under the spotlight. This section provides an archive of DCMS press releases, CBA responses and news articles about the illicit trade in antiquities.

Britarch Debates on Portable Antiquities – The Britarch email discussion list has long-served as a discussion forum for issues relating to portable antiquities and metal detecting. This page highlights some of the main discussions in recent years.


Portable Antiquities Scheme

Find 3 The Portable Antiquities scheme was set up in the wake of the 1996 Treasure Act which not only gave protection to certain archaeological finds, but also encouraged their reporting.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme is a voluntary scheme to record archaeological objects found by members of the public in England and Wales. This website provides background information on the Portable Antiquities Scheme, news articles, events listings and access to our database of objects and images.

PASt Explorers The Portable Antiquities Scheme’s education website aimed at children between the ages of 7 and 11.