Meet the new Finds Liaison Officer for Wiltshire

on Tuesday, 16 February 2021. Posted in Archaeology, History Centre, Museums, Wiltshire People

Sophie Hawke, Finds Liaison Officer for Wiltshire:

Hello, I am the new Finds Liaison Officer for Wiltshire, job sharing with Wil Partridge at The Salisbury Museum. I started in my new role at the beginning of January but have only managed three days in the office so far, due to Covid lockdown restrictions.

Like Wil, I have been working from home. This is a bonus in some ways as it’s warmer at home than in the office (we are situated directly above the medieval porch at work so any heat rises up to the ceiling and stays there) and my travel time to work is currently ten seconds as opposed to an hour. On the down side, I have to tidy up before any Zoom calls and hope that no-one rings the doorbell whilst I’m unmuted on Zoom as my dogs will bark incessantly at the bell.

I have always been fascinated by archaeology. I joined the Young Archaeologists’ Club in Dorchester, Dorset aged 10 (a long time ago), then went on my first dig aged 11, at Dewlish Roman villa. I was hooked!

Fast forward a few years, I studied at University of Bristol for a Certificate in Archaeology with Mick Aston as my tutor, started a family, did an Open University degree, then immediately returned to Bristol Uni, with Mick as one of my lecturers, for a part time MA in Landscape Archaeology.

During all this, I started work at a secondary school and stayed for 15 years, as part of my role there was (and still is in a voluntary capacity) as Archaeology Liaison Officer for the Roman villa under the School playing field. In 2018, I was awarded a Headley Trust internship with the Portable Antiquities Scheme at The Salisbury Museum, and Historic England. Following this I worked for Historic England as a Finds Supervisor and just before Christmas 2020, I was offered this Wiltshire FLO job. I love working with finds, meeting people and doing research so this is my dream job! My favourite find to date is a hoard of Roman pewter found near Westbury. When the finder sent photos of it, Wil and I couldn’t believe our eyes as it contained a lead tank (see photo below), quite a rare find, which may be a portable font.

A large seemingly intact, slightly deformed lead tank sits on a table, it has embossed decoration in the pattern of an x in a rectangle with circles in each segment.

We have a lovely team of PAS volunteers who help with the identifying and research of finds. When we are eventually all allowed back in the office, there will be cake and we can enjoy working together again as a team. Wil and I are currently working through the finds that came in last year, and as I write this, limited local metal detecting is now permitted as exercise under updated Government Covid regulations. I imagine we will be extremely busy once both The Salisbury Museum and Wiltshire Museum are allowed to reopen and we can make appointments to see finders. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before that happens! We also like to see finds that people have made whilst gardening or out walking etc. and not just metal objects. You can contact us via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or follow us on Twitter @FLOWilts

You can find out more about the Portable Antiquities Scheme and current Government advice on searching for archaeological finds during Covid, on the Portable Antiquities Scheme Website.

I look forward to meeting many of you in the (hopefully) not too distant future!

Sophie Hawke, Finds Liaison Officer for Wiltshire

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