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Finds – The Portable Antiquities Scheme

The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) is run by the British Museum and Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales to encourage the recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public in England and Wales. Many of the discoveries made at Happisburgh are recorded in the PAS website where they help advance our knowledge and understanding of the history and archaeology of the Happisburgh area. You can search the PAS database yourself or click on the images below to be taken to the PAS object record. The images below are just a small selection of the Palaeolithic artefacts that have been discovered along the North Norfolk coast, so do visit the PAS website if you would like to see more!

If you would like to view some of the Happisburgh artefacts in 3D you can view movies of artefacts recovered during excavations at Happisburgh Site 3, the oldest archaeological site in northern Europe. These movies were created using micro-CT and published in the Supplementary information for our 2010 Nature article Early Pleistocene human occupation at the edge of the boreal zone in northwest Europe. Three of the movies are listed below, more can be accessed through the Nature article (no paywall for Supplementary information).

Movie 1: Movie begins with artefact HSB3.2008.54 in the dorsal view, rotating once to show retouched edges, the ventral surface and bulb of percussion. (MOV 12130 kb)

Movie 2: Movie begins with artefact HSB3.2006.1026 in the dorsal view, rotating once to show flake scars, the ventral surface and bulb of percussion. (MOV 9723 kb)

Movie 3: Movie begins with artefact HSB3.2006.1013 in the dorsal view, rotating once to show the ventral surface and bulb of percussion. (MOV 15394 kb)


Collector Focus

A place to meet some of the amazing collectors whose eagle eyes bring Palaeolithic finds to our attention.

Treasure Hunting with Matt Stevens and John Craven

Matt Stevens and John Craven are two collectors who have spent hours and hours searching for artefacts after the recent Bacton to Walcott sandscaping project. You can read about their discoveries in the November issue of Treasure Hunting. This amazing collection of artefacts has been recorded by members of the Pathways to Ancient Britain project and details will be made available through the Portable Antiquities Scheme website. Matt and John worked with us to ensure that their finds can add to our understanding of the deep history of the North Norfolk coast. If you are inspired by their story please do take a look at our poster about collecting and recording artefacts.

Image of double page spread in Treasure Hunting magazine
Doggerland Discoveries. Matt Stevens and his friend John Craven discover a vast assemblage of flint tools on an East Anglian beach after some ‘sandscaping’ was carried out. Treasure Hunting, November 2020


Videos of Knapping

Short videos of experimental archaeologist Karl Lee making various types of lithic artefacts. Videos filmed by John Piprani and available on Vimeo.

Free Online Resources

Lithics – The Journal of the Lithic Studies Society

Inizan, M.‐L. & Roche, H. & Tixier, J. (1992). Technology and Terminology of Knapped Stone. Nanterre: CREP.

Martingell, H. & Saville, A. (1988). The Illustration of Lithic Artefacts: A Guide to Drawing Stone Tools for Specialist Reports. Northampton: Association of Archaeological Illustrators & Surveyors, Lithic Studies Society.