1.5 million archaeological objects have been unearthed by the public and recorded through the national Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) – a staggering 81,750 of these were from Suffolk!
To celebrate this monumental milestone, Anna and Riccardo from our Finds Recording Team have picked out their Top 10 favourite finds from Suffolk to share with you.
Click on the unique SF find ID number to view the full record on the PAS database.
Top 10 Favourite Finds
(in no particular order)
Dating to AD 930-1000, this copper-alloy sword pommel cap is decorated with finesse, depicting two boar heads facing outwards.
Dating to 50 BC, this silver coin is one of our favourites because it is full of references to people, events and traditions. The triskele behind the head of Marcellus indicates his achievement of conquering Sicily and the reverse depicts the general offering to the Capitolium Temple.
This copper-alloy suspension unit (or chatelaine) has a lovely zoomorphic openwork decoration, depicting two confronted ‘beak-headed’ beasts, dating to AD 400-899.
Dating to AD 1030-1035, this silver penny was minted at Winchester and it is in remarkably good condition. Only a few coins of Cnut have been found in Suffolk.
Dating to the Middle Bronze Age (1500-1150 BC), this spearhead is a fine example of its type, made of copper-alloy with a flame-shaped blade and one of the oval loops survives at the base of the blade.
This is a beautiful and unusual object dating to AD 520-600, with a purple-coloured stone inlaid in the centre surrounded by raised Style I chip-carved animal ornament.
There have been a few Anglo-Scandinavian (Viking) objects found in Suffolk and this silver coin is a lovely example, dating to AD 905-919 minted in York.
This Anglo-Scandinavian bridle bit dates to AD 1020-1100 and would have been part of a horse harness. It has an unusual zoomorphic plate with traces of niello inlay and shaped like a creature’s long, curved neck and head.
This mount has a stunning design of a dragon-like beast stretching out. It’s hard for the untrained eye to tell from the object, but the drawing illustrates it well.
A copper-alloy post-medieval trade token of the “The Guy of Warwick” tavern, probably in London. The Guy of Warwick was a popular theme due to his adventures as a knight battling fantastical monsters.
Needless to say, choosing only 10 objects was almost impossible, here are just a few more particularly interesting ones.
- Fascinating and well preserved Early Medieval (Anglo-Saxon) pennies, which reflect the variety of the Saxon Kingdom.
- Everyday Roman personal objects which are elaborately and finely crafted.
- Anglo-Scandinavian metalwork which are so intricately designed.
If you have recently found an archaeological object in Suffolk which you’d like identified and recorded, our Finds Recording Team can help. Find out more about Finds Recording here.
These finds were recorded by the Suffolk Finds Recording Team, supported by the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
About the national Portable Antiquities Scheme
The British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) was first set up in 1997 so that archaeological objects found by the public can be recorded to help advance our knowledge of past.
It reached 1.5 million object records on Wednesday. The item that helped cross this historic milestone was a medieval lead papal bulla (a seal for authorising papal documents, such as edicts and indulgencies) of Pope Innocent IV (r.1243-54), that was found in Shropshire.
All the discoveries on the PAS database since its inception 23 years ago have been made by members of the public. Most of them are found buried in the ground by metal detectorists. Thanks to the public’s efforts, including those made through responsible metal-detecting, our understanding of past communities living in Britain over thousands of years has radically improved. Many individual finds have transformed what we know almost overnight and have become some of the most famous historical objects in the UK, such as the gold treasures of the Staffordshire Hoard.
You can explore the PAS database here