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Archaeology: Wales

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the chief executive of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council on the future of the portable antiquities scheme in Wales; and if he will make a statement. (189830)

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) is committed to the continued success of the portable antiquities scheme and is working together with other stakeholders to ensure that this is achieved.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not met the chief executive of the MLA to discuss this matter. In my capacity as Minister for Culture I have regular meetings with MLA's chief executive. During the course of these meetings we have discussed funding issues for the MLA as a whole. The portable antiquities scheme (PAS) is funded by the MLA, so the impact of funding levels on the scheme is a matter for them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many archaeological finds made in Wales have been recorded under the portable antiquities scheme. (189990)

As of 26 February 2008, 17,702 Welsh archaeological finds found by the public have been recorded with the portable antiquities scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many funds liaison officers (FLOs) cover Wales; what recent assessment he has made of FLOs’ performance in Wales; and if he will make a statement. (190202)

[holding answer 28 February 2008]: The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) is committed to the continued success of the portable antiquities scheme (PAS) and is working together with other stakeholders to ensure that this is achieved.

One finds liaison officer covers Wales. The PAS also makes small grants to four Welsh Archaeological Trusts (Cambria-Dyfed Archaeological Trust, Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust and Gwynedd Archaeological Trust) to record archaeological finds found by the public. The finds liaison officers for Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside and Herefordshire and Shropshire also visit metal-detecting clubs in Wales and record finds made by Welsh finders.

The PAS is funded by the MLA and administered on their behalf by the British Museum. Any assessment regarding the scheme is therefore a matter for the MLA and the British Museum.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the total cost was of the portable antiquities scheme in Wales in each of the last three years; what recent assessment he has made of the performance of the scheme; and if he will make a statement. (190203)

[holding answer 28 February 2008]: The total costs for the portable antiquities scheme (PAS) in Wales in the last three years were £47,556.02 in 2004-05; £59,325.78 in 2005-06; and £47,863.87 in 2006-07.

The PAS is funded by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and administered on their behalf by the British Museum. Any assessment regarding the scheme is therefore a matter for the MLA and the British Museum.