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The CBA's Community Archaeology Resource

Finds and samples

If your fieldwalking or excavation has resulted in the recovery of artefacts, or 'finds', you must ensure that these are dealt with in the correct manner. Such finds belong to the landowner ultimately, although s/he may not wish to retain them. It is important to liaise with the landowner carefully and at an early stage to ensure that no subsequent confusion over the ownership and archiving of finds occurs. If the landowner is in agreement, and once you have completed the necessary analyses of the material, you should approach your local museum to discuss archiving arrangements. They may make a small charge to archive material, which should be costed within your initial project budget. The museum will also have certain requirements about the quality, size and nature of the containers within which your finds are to be stored.
washing finds
For a list of local museums, see the Collections Trust. For a list of museum-related resources see the CBA guide to UK archaeology online.

If you have found any artefacts which may be deemed 'treasure', i.e. if they are made of or contain gold or silver, then you should consult the Treasure Act 1996.

If you live in Scotland, the legislation is slightly different:

If you live in England or Wales, you may wish to report any interesting finds to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (see for details). The Portable Antiquities Scheme does not keep objects, it only retains them for recording and will then return them. Your point of contact is your local Finds Liaison Officer or FLO (

Any soil samples, which may have been taken for flotation, geochemical analyses or other specialist scientific purposes, should be tested as soon as possible after removal from their original location. You may wish to retain any samples left untested after fieldwork and post-excavation analyses have been completed for their potential information value in the future.


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