First, the Review of the Portable Antiquities Scheme was released today (commissioned by the Museums Library and Archives Council with the British Museum and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport). The very positive review notes the PAS is under-resourced and yet "still well-liked, delivering genuine partnership and good value for money. Having reviewed budgets and operations, it is clear that with no increase in resources, posts must be cut and the scheme will not deliver regional equity." The report recommends an increase in funding of just over 9% next year. This appears to be very good news for the scheme in the short-term as the cuts made this year can be reversed.
Second, the Treasure Annual Report was released today. A few highlights:
- "Treasure" reporting increased again, with 749 objects qualifying as treasure reported, up from 665 in 2006. One of which was this Iron Age torc, made of gold and silver and found near Newark in 2005.
- In 2007, 77,606 objects were recorded on the PAS database, now totaling 360,000 objects.
- Since 2003, the date at which the PAS was extended throughout England and Wales, treasure reporting has increased nearly 200%.
It has also included social groups which aren't always typical museum-visitors -- a very good thing in my view. This happens in two ways. First, finders are encouraged to report and record the objects they find. Second, anyone can access the database and use the data. This may include people ranging from schoolchildren to doctoral candidates to established academics.
The images of the finds are stunning. Below is a slideshow from the PAS on flickr.