Finders Sharers

A busy, varied and intriguing week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

We welcomed our group of Yeovil College students last week for an initial guided tour. The students are studying English and History and the tour proved rewarding for everyone involved. We were especially keen to discover how the practical tasks we have planned can also help with the student’s future career aspirations.

Staff were interested to learn that the students did not know of CHAC’s existence until they were informed by their lecturer. This is often the case, but this soon changed and by the end of the tour, all were saying “did you see that green chiffon 1920’s dress” or “what about those amazing diaries.”

We aim to have our first practical session this week and will report back on our next Blog.

Staff are also helping with the ‘Know Your Place’ project. This is a new scheme designed to find the significant maps in a museum’s collection and then enable them to be digitally scanned and uploaded to the ‘Know Your Place’ website. CHAC is loaning a selection of Yeovil maps to the Somerset Heritage Centre in Taunton for this process to be completed at the beginning of December 2015. This is a reminder of the significant detail that goes into the preparation of objects for transit or exhibition, including the ‘condition reports’ to show that an object comes back in the same condition in which it left!

We also welcome the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer to CHAC for our next Archaeological Finds Afternoon. This is another beneficial activity, as local finders have a nearby, regular event to which they can bring ‘newly discovered’ archaeological material and finds brought in to previous afternoons can be returned to them. Finds dated to before 1700 come under the remit of the Finds Liaison Officer and where time allows, identifications are often made during our 2pm-4pm time slot. Often 5-6 finders arrive in the 2 hours. This may not sound many, but each person often brings 30 individual items to identify and then may also have some to be returned. In addition, accurate paperwork needs to be completed, often consulting an Ordnance Survey Map (or similar!) to obtain a 6-figure grid reference of exactly where the items were found. Two or three ‘finders’ can often be waiting, but this is another enjoyable aspect of the ‘Finds Afternoon’ – for different finders to see, discover and share discussion on what they have found and where. This underlines the professional standards around ‘responsible collecting’ and archaeological finds; which includes gaining permission from landowners in the first place and then reporting the finds under the Portable Antiquities Scheme (or PAS) as the context or place where something is found, is often as important as the object itself – particularly if an unusual object is found at an ‘existing’ site, which is already well documented; thus making us re-evaluate existing information!

We will try and report a selection of what ‘finds’ were brought in (where permissible) in our next post.

The Yeovil in the Past 2016 Calendar continues to do well – with sales around the 350 mark! Thank you to everyone including all our outlets, which are helping us; special mention to The Emporium, Princes Street, Yeovil; Yeovil and Cartgate Tourist Information Centres; Ninesprings Café and Brimsmore Garden Centre.

One of our recent donations is this Yeovil spoon with the St. John the Baptist Emblem representing St. John’s Church, Yeovil.




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