Saturday, 1 August 2020

UK's PAS: An Odd Number - but look what it means for that "Success of Outreach"

There is an odd number in the Internet about England and Wales' Portable Antiquities Scheme. It's in an anonymous document released by the HLF: 'New Portable Antiquities Scheme project receives support from Heritage Lottery Fund', 25/08/2014. Half-way down we read:
The PAS has a history of interacting with volunteers and for utilising the power of the crowd. Over 24,000 people have provided data for the PAS database and the public have been able to record their own finds since 2010.
24,000 people, of which (so we are regularly told), for most of this period roughly 80% or so are metal detectorists. That means that for each of the 17 years of the PAS in 2014, 1412 new people have brought stuff to the PAS (and some of the old will continue, others will drop away).
In the same 17 years the records of finds made by those 24000 people between Thursday 1st January 1998 until Monday 25th August was 628570 records of 998479 objects. Interestingly, that means that each of those 24000 people reported 26.2 finds in that entire period.

That number of finds in 17 years breaks down to  1.5 finds a year.

We can perhaps get closer, 80% of 24000 is 19200 detectorists. The non-detectorists are unlikely to be showing multiple finds.  So 4800 non-detectorists let us say added (for example) 2 finds each during that 17 years (they might come back).  That would be 163200 finds taken from the whole.

628570 minus 163200 =  465370 records in 17 years. Divided by 19200 it comes to 24.2 finds each in that period, so still 1.4 finds a year from each of them.

Here's one guy's detecting finds for just one day before lockdown:

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