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Research based on Scheme data

Geoff Egan teaching about small findsThe Portable Antiquities Scheme is currently developing its potential as a tool for "lifelong learning". The Scheme's database now holds nearly 700,000 objects and about 300,000 images. The records of these objects that our staff, volunteers and the public contribute, are quite often the only chance we will get to document their existence. The database provides us with a record of their attributes and an image (if available.)

We make our data available freely, under a creative commons licence, for the academic and lay communities to use for their research. We also have a team of finds specialists (the National Finds Advisers) who are available to answer queries on specific periods/ object types.

This section of our site documents the areas that we believe could benefit from structured research. If you are interested in taking on one of our proposed research topics, then please contact the relevant National Finds Adviser. We also provide a list of who has been using our data for research and to what level. This is an important part of justifying our funding, and if you do decide to use our data, we would really like to be appraised of problems you find etc.

Within this section, you will be able to learn about many different aspects of the scheme, how you can get involved in the scheme's activities, how to take grid references, where you can study archaeology, what could be researched on the scheme, and much, much more. The menu on the left, and highlighted text, will take you to the specific sections.

Data transfer to 3rd parties

In May 2005, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the National Council for Metal Detecting, the Council for British Archaeology and the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers agreed upon a data transfer agreement. This agreement allows the data that the Scheme collects to be transferred to the relevant HER and used for Development Control and other activities. Personal details will not be published, and grid references must be degraded to 4 figures or a parish if published elsewhere on the web. 

To get access to higher level data, you need to register for a user account (these are personal and not transferable) and then request an upgrade once your account is activated. To be considered for an upgrade you must:

  1. Name a referee and provide a valid email address
  2. Provide a solid reason or abstract for your research or need for downloading the data with full details
  3. The upgrade request will be considered and then processed within 15 working days