Over 21,000 medieval objects were discovered in England and Wales in 2013, according to the latest release of the The Portable Antiquities Scheme Annual Report. Since its inception in 1997, over one million historical objects have been recorded by the scheme.
Some of the medieval objects highlighted in 2013 report include a lead Papal bulla of Pope Paul II (1464-1471), a 15th-century gold annular brooch that has the words ‘bien va’ (be well), and a copper-alloy buckle plate that was originally made in Visigothic Spain in the 7th or early 8th century.
5486 medieval-era coins were also discovered in 2013, as was a range of objects including brooches, rings and mirror cases. One of the most unique finds was a late 9th- or early 10th-century Thor’s hammer pendant made from lead, which was discovered in Attleborough, Norfolk. Thought to be a pagan version of Christian cross pendants, this object was donated by the finder to the Norfolk Castle Museum.
Including finds from ancient and early modern times, over 80,861 items were recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database in 2013. They also revealed that 90% of finds were found by metal-detectorists.
Since 1997 many of the most important archaeological discoveries made in England and Wales has been handled by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, including the Staffordshire Hoard discovery, the Vale of York Hoard, and even a late-18th century French cannon.
Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum (the museum operates the scheme), commented ‘The success of the PAS and finds.org.uk cannot be overestimated in terms of our understanding of our past. The sheer variety and diversity of finds registered over the scheme’s 17-year history is extraordinary, and the one millionth find is a truly exciting milestone.’