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In this chapter you have learned about some of the many ways that the past can be destroyed as well as some of the many ways that the past can be preserved. Preservation comes in many forms but, generally speaking, all attempts at preserving the past fall into one of two categories: conservation (protection) or mitigation (damage reduction). In a complex world, were the needs of a variety of different interests groups must be met, heritage managers must be realistic. Decisions must be made and not everything can be saved.

The UK's Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) is a unique attempt at mitigating the damage that metal detectorists cause to archaeological sites. As you learned in this chapter, hundreds of thousands of artifacts have been registered by this government project and much good has come from the information produced. However, the PAS has numerous critics.

Artifact databases play a major role in archaeological analysis. When designed properly, they allow archaeologists to answer complex questions about the past. In this activity you will need to navigate the Portable Antiquities Scheme database which is available online. Using the official Portable Antiquities Scheme website (, other online resources, and your book, please answer the following questions:


As of right now, how many objects are recorded in the Portable Antiquities Scheme database?


The majority of objects in the PAS that date to the Paleolithic period are made out of what material? Is this surprising? Why or why not?


Using the "Advanced Search" option, find an object in the PAS database that is attributed to the Viking culture. Describe the object based on its PAS database entry: What is it? What is it made of? Where was it found? What year does it date to?


The Staffordshire Hoard, now owned by the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, is considered to be a model example of the PAS in action. It is the largest treasure of Anglo Saxon gold and silver objects ever located and the hoard was turned over to archaeologists for study immediately after it was found. Using the information available online, answer the following questions about the Staffordshire Hoard: In the PAS database, Search for find number STAFFS-3C6018. What is this object? What period did it come from? Where was it found? Why is do you think this object is special?


Who found the Staffordshire Hoard and how? Why did the finder notify local Portable Antiquities Scheme officers?


The exact location where the hoard was found was initially kept secret. Why?


Why might someone NOT report a find such as the Staffordshire Hoard?


In the end, the finder of the hoard was rewarded for doing the right thing. How much money did the finder and the property owner split after the hoard was legally sold to a museum?

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