Hindu Deity Heads the Line-Up during Museums ID Event

Interested members of the public brought their mystery finds to Winchester City Council's Historic Resources Centre at the start of National Archaeology Week. Museum curators and archaeological experts were on hand to identify any intriguing objects people had found whilst gardening, walking or metal-detecting. Top of the bill was a four-armed Hindu deity.

The event was well supported by a steady stream of people during the day. Some 25 different finders brought in over 70 previously unrecorded finds. A variety of interesting objects were brought along, from Roman coins to Anglo-Saxon dress fittings. Previously unknown collections of Roman artefacts were reported, including a rare decorated brooch and key. Perhaps the most unusual item was identified as a 12th century statue of the Hindu god Vishnu discovered in the finder's garden, presumably a relic of colonial times. Such finds are recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) database and will thus help build up a picture of life in Hampshire in the past.

The PAS is a national initiative supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The database covers the whole country, and you can search by parish for finds discovered near your house by clicking on www.finds.org.uk/ and following the 'database' link. You can also visit Hampshire Finds Liaison Officer Rob Webley in person at the Historic Resources Centre in Winchester.

Rob said, "Each year many thousands of archaeological objects, or 'portable antiquities', are found by members of the public. They form an important source of information about our local and national past, so it's great that people are bringing them forward for recording through events such as this."

Patricia Stallard, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport at Winchester City Council, welcomed the ongoing collaboration between Winchester Museums Service and the Portable Antiquities Scheme: "This is an excellent example of the museums service working in partnership to serve the local community and raise people's awareness of our important heritage."

Winchester Museums offer a free object identification service, so if you have any mystery finds you can make an appointment at the Historic Resources Centre to see a finds specialist. Rob Webley will also be conducting a number of Finds Days around the county this summer - keep your eyes out for details in your local press.

Contact: Winchester Museums Service on 01962 848 269 at Historic Resources Centre, 75 Hyde Street, Winchester, SO23 7DW
email museums@winchester.gov.uk