If you find something interesting while out gardening, walking the dog or more seriously searching for historical objects, please follow the advice below. Finds Liaison Officers will help you to identify and perhaps date flints, pottery or metal objects.
All finders of gold and silver objects, and groups of coins from the same findspot which are over 300 years old, have a legal obligation to report such items under the Treasure Act 1996. Now prehistoric base-
If you find something:
Tempted as you may be, it’s not a good idea to clean artefacts, as you may damage them.
Contact your nearest Finds Liaison Officer (it does not have to be the FLO for the county where it was found). Take it to them. They will tell you about it, photograph, record it and return it to you. If it’s Treasure, it will be kept but you will be well rewarded for it.
If you need to find an officer in a different area, there is also an excellent Portable Antiquities Scheme Finds Liason Officer map of the entire UK here.
The Portable Antiquities Scheme was set up to record archaeological objects found by members of the public in England and Wales to improve our knowledge of how and where people lived and what they made and used.
So if you have found anything, you will be welcomed by the Finds Liaison Officers (FLO’s) who need to know exactly where objects have been found. All is then recorded, and the objects returned to the finder. Any finds which could be Treasure MUST be reported within 14 days, and the FLO will advise you over this; it will be treated differently, but the finder will be rewarded for it. It will be well worth reporting it!
If your find is large and below the soil, don’t try to remove it. Report it, and it will be properly excavated. You will still be credited with it, and we will all know more about it.
Human bones, however old, must be reported to the police.
If you wish to keep something the FLO will be able to tell you how to clean and look after it, and you will have added to our knowledge.
To learn more about the scheme go to the Portable Antiquities Database at www.finds.org.uk which is an excellently designed site well worth looking at and can help you identify what you have found. It is easy to research and every recorded find is illustrated on it, and yours will be as well.