Shropshire Council

Object identification service

Every year hundreds of geological, archaeological and historic objects are discovered by people in Shropshire. Some are found by people out walking or digging in their gardens others when clearing out the attic or finally going through that drawer full of bits and bobs.

Using our object identification service you can discover more about your finds. It may also ensure that important information about Shropshire’s past is recorded.

The Ludlow Museum Resource Centre is home to the county’s finds liaison officer, Peter Reavill (01743 254748, who is part of a national scheme known as the Portable Antiquities Scheme which records and identifies archaeological finds made by the general public.

What type of finds are you interested in?

We're interested in recording anything you've found that you'd like to know more about or feel might be of interest to us. We'd urge you to let museum staff judge if an object is important and needs recording, especially if you're unsure what it is.

What type of information do you wish to know about my finds?

The more information you can give us about the item the easier it will be for us to give an accurate identification. It's also important that we know where and when it was discovered. Grid references and a description of the area are useful pieces of information, especially for
geological and archaeological finds.

Who will have access to information about my objects?

Our aim is to make as much information about the history and archaeology of Shropshire available to the public as possible. If your find is significant we may wish to write a short report and draw or photograph your object for our records. Therefore, details of your objects may be kept as part of our archive, or may ultimately be passed on to the county’s Environmental Record Centre. Archaeological finds recorded under the Portable Antiquities Scheme will be published on the scheme’s website. In all cases we'll protect your personal details and comply with the Data Protection Act.

Is there a charge for the service?

Our service is offered free of charge to Shropshire residents and anyone wishing to record an object which has a historic link with the county. However, we do ask you to consider making a small donation towards the cost of providing this service.

Will you keep my objects?

We can't give on-the-spot identifications. In order to properly identify your object we'll take it into the museum and issue a receipt. We usually take eight to ten weeks to complete an identification. You'll be notified in writing once your object is ready for collection. If we're interested in acquiring an object, you may be asked if you would be willing to donate the item. There's no obligation on you to do so. We may suggest, or be required to do so under the Treasure Act, passing some archaeological finds on to the Portable Antiquities Scheme for more detailed recording. Due to staff capacity and the volume of material deposited with us, some PAS identifications may take several months to process.

Do you give valuations?

We, like all accredited museums in the UK, can't provide a valuation for an item.

Will you authenticate objects?

We, like all accredited museums in the UK, can't authenticate an object for either a purchase or sale. Neither can we guarantee the accuracy of the opinions expressed by our museum staff.

How do I collect my objects?

You'll be advised that your object is ready for collection when you receive your identification letter/email. We ask that you contact the museum which took in your objects prior to coming to collect them. This will help us to have your object ready for you when you arrive. Please bring your pink object receipt as proof of ownership. We may also ask you to bring some form of picture ID if your object is valuable. 

Items can be left for identification at either the Ludlow Museum Resource Centre or Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

To find out more please contact us.