Reporting Finds

If you’ve found something that you think might be an archaeological object, or indeed Treasure, please read the advice from the Portable Antiquities Scheme below:


If you find something – whether a single item, group or a scatter – do consider whether it is better to take scaled photographs, notes and a sketch, and then seek advice, leaving the artefacts where they are while recording as exact a location as possible. Remember that memory can fade quickly too. In any respect, notes (and photos) should be taken about the context of a find. Collecting or selectively removing artefacts then removes them from their context – key to their research value – which means important information may be lost.

Any finds also, by law, belong to the landowners. For Eston Hills that is Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council and the farmers who manage agricultural land.

Chance finds can be reported to a local Historic Environment Record (HER) officer and/or the regional Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) finds liaison officer (FLO) who often hold regional open-sessions too. You might need to be patient since these folks are often extremely busy and many thousands of finds do get reported.


Many of the archaeological sites on the Eston Hills are protected ancient monuments under UK law. Metal detecting, while a useful component of archaeological surveying, is also potentially destructive. Removing any finds from their context removes their value in understanding our shared past. The same standards and ethical recording practices apply to this technique as all others in the archaeological portfolio.

Why Historic Environment Records are Important

HER records are more extensive and site-contextual, and are also far more detailed about locations and related GIS mapping (Geographical Information Systems). Reporting finds applies both to new projects and existing collections, and includes archaeology (usually stone tools), deposits and palaeoenvironmental sites.

HERIn addition to supporting research, whether community based or academic, HERs are used to inform decision makers as part of the local and national planning process for development proposals and infrastructure projects that may affect the historic environment, such as residential, commercial, utilities, transport, windfarms, and so on.

HER image example © Staffordshire County Council.

  • Read more about the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) | UK Government Department for Communities and Local Government 2012 | Historic England overview webpage »

Field projects can also be recorded through the OASIS portal which is then relayed to the relevant HER – it’s free and open to anybody. Historic England can usually provide training for groups.


Standards in Archaeological Practice

Guidance about Lithics and Early Prehistoric Assets


Planned fieldwork should always set out to answer research questions (see Recommended Reading). There are a number of excellent fieldwork guides available to download online. Many include equipment checklists and contain pro forma templates for field recording. Here are some of the best:

In addition, there is an extensive range of archaeology guides on the British Archaeological Jobs and Resources (BAJR) website. Questions, but preferably not about finds identification, can be posted to the BAJR Facebook page (please observe the rules at the top of that page).