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Frequent questions and answers

Question - I am new to the hobby , I can’t identify finds! 


Answer - Take a photo & a brief note of what you think it is, easy as that. Alternatively, take them to your club, ask more experienced members to make a brief note of artefacts / coins for you. This is a great way for newcomers to clubs to gain ID skills by seeing lots of objects and making brief IDs with more experienced members. 


Question - I never find much good stuff, is it worth making a list?


Answer - You could be pleasantly surprised by briefly recording your finds this way. Send/Show a completed list/lists and photos to your FLO, you may well hear back from them saying what you thought to be an unimportant item has turned  out to be special.

Question - Do I have to show my records to the FLO or talk to an archaeologist about my fields?


Answer - No, not if you don’t want to, the records can be used purely for your own information. However our experience has shown that sharing this information has had more benefits for everyone.

Question - Why a 300 years old cut off date?


Answer - It’s entirely up to you the finder at what age to record finds from, you may decide 50 years old to capture Victorian, WW1& WW2, to make this as simple as possible we have fallen in line with the PAS, who usually have a recording cut off at less than 300 years.


Question - What about recording my finds more accurately than lumping them all to one field?


Answer - We have kept this easy and simple, if you want to record more or all of your finds to a greater accuracy (and some already do) then we would encourage it. We do encourage potential treasure declarations to be as accurate as possible and also finds that you consider significant.


Use a GPS device, UK grid finder, what three words app, or as simple dot on an OS map for greater finds accuracy.

Interesting Case record

One hobbyist recently told me that fences have gone up on my favourite field, bulldozers have moved in and there is no archaeology being carried out on the site. He continued that he had found fragments of Iron Age and Roman finds and unidentifiable coins from those periods. He had not shown the FLO because he thought they were not good enough to record .


He was told - If you had made an assemblage record with photos, that may have persuaded the planners to have included a pre development archaeological survey, and they may have included the hobbyist as part of the team. Send / Show a completed list / lists and photos to your FLO, you may well hear back from them saying what you thought to be an unimportant item has turned  out to be special.


Dr Mike Heyworth MBE having viewed this presentation commented, "Overall, I think this is helpful and well put together. As David rightly says, when an object is removed from the ground, this is a one-off moment and it is important to record as much information as possible – even if the object in itself seems to be relatively unimportant. Patterns often only start to emerge when a range of finds from an area are seen together over a period of time. I thought David could have made more of the importance of recording the horizontal spread of finds, not just saying they came from a particular field. For some types of sites – and battlefields are the most obvious example – the horizontal spread of finds is crucial to understanding what took place on the site.  It would be worth mentioning the possibility of speaking to the local HER staff. They are directly involved in the planning process and ensure that any archaeological fieldwork is required in advance of development. If a detectorist suspects a new site has been identified from a spread of finds, this should be reported to the HER staff."

Dr Mike Heyworth is the Director of the Council for British Archaeology, based in York. An independent charity, the CBA brings together members, supporters and partners to give archaeology a voice across the UK and safeguard it for future generations. He is involved with a wide range of archaeology organisations across the UK, including currently acting as Secretary to the All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group at Westminster and to University Archaeology UK. He leads the new Heritage 2020 initiative in England, and also chairs the Portable Antiquities Scheme Advisory Group. He is an active proponent of digital technology in archaeology and has been involved with the Archaeology Data Service and Internet Archaeology since their foundation. He was awarded the MBE for services to heritage in 2007.

For further information and contact details this below is the URL for the local Historic Environment Records (HERS) Most HERs are now accessible online and give an indication of any sites identified in the landscape.

If you have a question please email it to

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