It is coming up to a month now since I started as the new Finds Liaison Officer for Cornwall and I just want to take a moment to reflect on what I’ve learnt since my position began. Starting a new job in lockdown was never going to be easy. Admittedly, there is a LOT to take in, from learning how to record on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database, processing of Treasure finds and networking with local museums and the detecting community – it all felt a bit overwhelming at the start. Thankfully, the team here at the museum and the community at the PAS have been extremely supportive in helping me ease into my new role.
The part of this job that excites me the most is the opportunity to engage with a diverse range of objects from different periods. My previous experience and background is in Roman archaeology. In 2018, I completed my Masters degree in Classical Art and Archaeology from King’s College London, with my thesis focussing on Roman housing and the use of domestic space. Having a strong interest in all things Roman, I have to admit that I was a bit worried about coming across finds from all different periods. Fortunately, the training provided by the PAS has been fantastic. So far I have attended training sessions on Iron Age and Roman Coins, Medieval Horse Equipment and this week will be attending a training session on Lithics. For me, these sessions (all online of course!) have been invaluable for broadening my knowledge and giving me the confidence to work with a variety of objects. This role has opened doors to a whole range of opportunities and the chance to develop new skills. I’ve been training in photography and photoshop, as well as getting involved with the museum’s collections tour (check out our one on the Egyptian case!), and have even been given the chance to develop my own exhibition later this year on the archaeology of Cornwall and the work of the PAS.
It is easy to feel alone and isolated with the current situation. I feel incredibly lucky to have the support of other Finds Liaison Officers from across the country, some of whom I regularly chat to over Zoom with my morning coffee. I’ve also met some extraordinary people here at the museum. The chance to check in with them regularly to share my interests and hear what other projects people are working on, has really made me feel a part of their team.
I am looking forward to a time when we are once again allowed to frequent the local pub, meet with our friends and family and, of course, visit our favourite museums. Not to mention getting back to my favourite hobby of scaling a climbing wall. I hope that it won’t be long before I can meet with finders in person and engage the public with the wonderful history and archaeology that Cornwall has to offer. The network of remarkable people I have met so far never ceases to amaze me and I cannot wait to make more connections, meet new people and record more finds. When I take a breath to consider what I’ve learnt and accomplished so far over the last few weeks, I feel overwhelmingly grateful to have been given the opportunity to do a job which I am so passionate about.