Every year the general public find thousands of ancient objects and coins, many of which are recorded with the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). Since coming to Oxfordshire in 2004, the Scheme has recorded over 30,000 artefacts, from ancient hand axes and Roman coins to Saxon jewellery and Civil War cannonballs. Hoards of ancient gold coins may easily capture the imagination, but there are other objects that our ancestors left behind that are just as informative, if not more valuable, and which provide us with a glimpse into human life over the past 450,000 years.
Oxfordshire has a very long and rich archaeological heritage. Attracting settlement and commerce for millennia, the county boasts some of the earliest human artefacts from the Upper Thames Valley, large Roman villas and military encampments, early Christian religious institutions, a medieval university and Civil War battlefields. In between this grandeur is the story of everyday life, evidenced by the objects left behind only to be discovered hundreds if not thousands of years later.
Covering all periods of human history and every corner of the county, 50 Finds from Oxfordshire highlights some of the best archaeological artefacts found by ordinary members of the public and recorded with the Scheme.
Anni Byard was born and bred in Oxfordshire, and spent several years working in commercial archaeology before becoming the British Museum's Finds Liaison Officer for Oxfordshire & West Berkshire in 2008. Anni is a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and holds a degree in Archaeology from the University of Liverpool and a Master's degree in Landscape Archaeology from the University of Oxford. Anni currently lives in Wantage with her partner Paul and their German Shepherd dog, Toby.