The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) is a DCMS funded project with the aim to encourage the voluntary recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public in England and Wales, both by metal-detector users and by people during their everyday life. This is done in order to advance our understanding of the past.
It is a department of the British Museum, set up under the terms of the 1996 Treasure Act (England and Wales) and, through a publically accessible online database, it documents archaeological discoveries made by ‘public finders', that are also encouraged in various ways to become knowledge producers. The project is now simply run by the British Museum on behalf of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and works through 33 principal partners which employ staff and many more local partners which contribute to each of the posts. There is a network of 39 Finds Liaison Officer posts, based in museums and county councils throughout England and Wales, six National Finds Advisers and a team of four at the British Museum.
The PAS also applies the provisions of the Treasure Act in relation to the categories of finds (especially objects in precious metals) which must be reported by law by their finders.
Now the project consists of a network of thirty-six FLOs (Finds Liaison Officers), a part-time illustrator, six Finds Advisers, an ICT Adviser, a Resources Manager (formerly administrator), a Deputy Head and the Head of Portable Antiquities & Treasure. The work of the scheme is supported by many temporary assistants and volunteers, working with FLOs and Finds Advisers.
The PAS site was designed and built by the Scheme's former ICT Adviser, Daniel Pett, over a period of 12 months and it is now a tool for "crowd-sourcing" archaeological data from the public of England and Wales.