Home to the first recorded town in Britain, Essex has a vast wealth of history. However, historical accounts of the county have tended to focus on the major settlements and have left large parts unexplored. Through the work of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), alongside continuing professional excavations, it has been possible to fill in those gaps. Not only have there been many objects recorded with the PAS that are individually significant, but recording these finds has allowed us to identify many new archaeological sites that had previously been unrecognised.
From Bronze Age hoards to Medieval pilgrim badges, the PAS records for Essex cover every period in history. The Burnham-on-Crouch hoard provides insight into the burial of objects in the Late Bronze Age, while the Ardleigh pommel highlights the incredible skill of Anglo-Saxon goldsmiths. The work of the PAS also provides evidence of how people continue to deposit objects today. Some of these finds have improved our understanding of society in the past, while others can be admired for their beauty alone. 50 Finds from Essex showcases a select group of objects recorded with the PAS and explains their significance within our wider understanding of the archaeology of Essex.
Ben Paites is the Finds Liaison Officer for Essex. He has worked with the Portable Antiquities Scheme for many years, spending much of that time in Greater London. His area of expertise is in Late Iron Age and Roman metalwork, though has a wider interest in British archaeology.