The Portable Antiquities Scheme and the Treasure Act

Seal matrix

People have been living on the Isle of Wight for several hundred thousand years and an enormous number of tools and other artefacts must have been discarded or lost during this period. It is hardly surprising that these can still be found within the soil both in the countryside and within the towns.

Study of this material, which includes worked flint tools, pottery, coins and metalwork, tells us how people lived on our Island and who was doing what when and where. It is a valuable educational resource which can lead us to a better understanding of our past. Such material is frequently observed in the ground by farmers, builders or gardeners during their work.

Although the Archaeology and Historic Environment Service has been providing a finds identification service for many years, the Isle of Wight has now entered the Portable Antiquities Scheme to view the website please click here.

This is a nationwide voluntary scheme for the recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public. The Scheme was established to promote the recording of chance finds – not just metal objects - and to broaden public awareness of the importance of such objects for understanding our past.

The increased popularity of metal detectors in recent years has resulted in large quantities of ancient coins and metalwork being found and reported. This in turn has led to a much better understanding of the history of the Isle of Wight.

Under the Treasure Act 1996 finders must report all finds of Treasure to the coroner within 14 days. For advice about Treasure finds please contact Frank Basford, the Portable Antiquities Scheme Finds Liaison Officer for the Isle of Wight, on, or telephone 01983 821000 ext 5866.