Portable Antiquities Scheme Threat

On November 22nd Roy Clare the head of the MLA said
The work of the Portable Antiquities Scheme is of great national importance and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council is delighted to see the benefit it has delivered for finders, museums and the public this year. We are committed to seeing the scheme evolve with even greater impact in protecting the country’s heritage and drawing the public and the museum world into a shared understanding of our past.

today in British Archaeology p7 we have this
“In the week that it emerged the government was soon to announce that the £150m Stonehenge roads and visitor project was to be scrapped, the museums, Libraries and Archives Council said it planned to shed the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s central unit, effectively initiating the scheme’s end.

Angie Bolton, FLO for Warwickshire and Worcestershire, told British Archaeology that they could not do their job without the central unit. “We need the expertise of the finds advisor’s”, she said, “we need the database”. Asked if the scheme would fall without the central unit, she replied, “Definite, yes. It will fold”.”


This means people like Roger Bland, Michael Lewis, Dan Pett and others …Mr Clare wishes to have any remaining FLO’s (the ones that don’t leave the scheme) sent out to ‘Hub Museum’s in the regions, which means that you will find it very difficult to record anything unless your near one of these museums?

Like it or not… are we going to see an outreach organisation collapse!

Find out more .. please come back with any info you can… this is peoples jobs… this is ten years of work! Ten years! Wasted? decades of getting to the point where the PAS existed… Do we want to see a return to the 70s? I certainly don’t…

My respect for the PAS has increased over the past few years.. I for one will not stand by and watch this happen… under the guise of reorganisation or rationalisation… what next?

I am reminded of the poem… I stood and watched them take the teachers.. and did nothing… then they came for me.

Heritage counts?



Filed under Archaeology News, BAJR Talk

2 responses to “Portable Antiquities Scheme Threat

  1. Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) Funding Crisis
    Lobbying Your MP: what you should ask their MP to do…

    MPs will respond best to individually-written letters from their constituents. Anything that looks mass produced might be rejected as unimportant.

    Please ask your MP to do the following two things:

    1. ‘sign the following Early Day Motion (EDM)’:


    That this House recognises the great contribution of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) to transforming the archaeological map of Britain by proactively recording archaeological finds made by the public; celebrates the fact that in 10 years the scheme has recorded on its public database more than 300,000 archaeological finds, which would not have otherwise been reported, for the benefit of all; expresses concern at the likely impact of funding cuts proposed for the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), following the recent Comprehensive Spending Review, on the PAS; and urges the Government to ensure that the scheme is at least able to maintain its current levels of activity and to consider urgently whether MLA offers the best home for the PAS or whether another body, such as the British Museum, would not be better placed to provide PAS with a long-term sustainable future.

    2. ‘write to James Purnell (Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport), expressing concern that if funding for the Portable Antiquities Scheme is not sustained then its activities will be reduced’: £1.49M is needed for PAS in 2008/9.

    Other messages you might wish to add:

    • Why is the PAS important to you?
    • How you think metal-detecting contributes to archaeology.
    • Currently MLA intends to freeze funding for PAS at £1.3M for 2008/9. This means that 5 posts within the Scheme will be lost.
    • In the long-term MLA wants to integrate PAS with its flagship project funding local museums call Renaissance. Finders will want guarantees that PAS continues to have a Central Unit that controls local partner grants, so that all FLOs provide a similar level of service and have the same training and expertise and there is a similar service provided to all.
    • The current uncertainties over funding may mean that some FLOs become demoralised and leave PAS.

  2. Pingback: The Portable Antiquities Scheme and the Indifference of Government « Archaeoastronomy

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