13 July 2020
Papal Bulla from Pope Alexander III

​The British Museum has announced that its Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) has hit a milestone 1.5 million archaeological objects, including 23,108 found by members of the public in Northamptonshire.

Northamptonshire County Council’s Archives and Heritage Service hosts the Portable Antiquities Scheme for the county on behalf of the British Museum, and holds regular Finds Events at Kettering and Daventry Museums for the public to identify and record items.

Among the historic finds is an Iron Age gold Stater, dating to the period c. 25 BC-AD 10 and belonging to the Catuvellauni - an Iron Age Tribe whose region ran along the south and east border of Northamptonshire. The tribe is linked to the resistance against the Roman conquests of AD 43 and AD 54.

Also included in the collection is a Papal Bulla – a type of seal attached to official documents, issued by the Pope via silk or hemp threads - from Pope Alexander III, whose Papacy ran from AD 1159-1181, and A silver halfgroat of the Commonwealth of England (1649-1660), with reverse depicting the conjoined shields of St George and Ireland.

County Council Deputy Leader Lizzy Bowen said: “1.5 million finds is a fantastic milestone and I am thrilled that our Archives and Heritage Service has been able to work alongside the British Museum.

“These finds have helped transform our understanding of the history and archaeology of Northamptonshire, and of Britain generally, and we encourage everyone who makes a find to continue to come forward.

“We are excited to see how many more objects are recorded - who knows what fascinating discoveries are yet to be found.”

The British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) was first set up in 1997 so that archaeological objects found by the public could be recorded and used to help advance our knowledge of the past. Recorded items include arrowheads, axes, beads, brooches, buckles, coins, combs, finger-rings, gaming pieces, knives, pottery, sculpture, spindle whorls, tokens and vervels.

A number of discoveries are so important to the history of the life in Britain that they have been acquired or displayed by museums for the public to enjoy, including museums in Kettering, Daventry and Northampton. For more information please contact flo@northamptonshire.gov.uk.