Archaeological finds are the remains of objects people once made, used and valued, but also left behind – consumed and discarded, buried, broken or lost. From 300,000 year old flint tools to World War II weapon parts, from items of jewellery to fragments of industrial waste, from pieces of pottery to fragments of waterlogged leather: all these materials (and many more) tell a story of people’s lives in the past, and all pass through our finds department, for cleaning, examination, identification and analysis.
The finds team represents the core of Wessex Archaeology’s in-house finds specialists, with expertise in artefacts of all materials and periods, including flint, pottery, metalwork, glass, worked bone, stone and fired clay, as well as human and animal remains, and “small finds” (portable items of particular value or interest). 
We have experts in flint, chert and stone who can report on objects from the Palaeolithic to Post-medieval gun flints. Their training in petrology means they can identify the sources of axes and querns and our trained illustrators produce precise interpretative drawings.
Pottery remains a key dating material. We have experts in pottery of all periods who also identify ceramic building materials such as brick and tile. The Wessex Archaeology fabric reference collection is comprehensive and is backed by petrological studies.
We can identify and report on metalwork and other objects from all periods. An in-house Conservation Service means that the conservator can work alongside with the finds expert. We can provide X-rays, preliminary stabilisation, cleaning of copper alloy and the pre-treatment of waterlogged material and have ready access to other services.
Our Archive Team prepares finds, drawings and records to museum's individual requirements and a copy is sent to the National Archaeological Record. Digital data is routinely formatted and submitted to the national digital data service for long-term curation and automatic technical upgrading.

Key Capabilities

  • On-site finds recovery 
  • Artefact stabilisation
  • Finds processing & quantification
  • Identification
  • Spot-dating
  • Conservation
  • Finds assessment and reporting
  • Analysis & reporting for publication