Archaeology collection

The archaeology collection has been gathered since 1945 from sites in south-east Hampshire. The bulk of the collection is formed by a number of major archaeological archives; the result of research and development-led projects. Artefacts date from the Lower Palaeolithic through to the Post-Medieval period.

Important archives include Oyster Street in Old Portsmouth, excavated in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This collection includes material from the 12th century to the late 19th century, and gives a unique glimpse of the foundation of the town and its later occupation.

Another significant archive is from excavations at the site of a Neolithic long barrow known as ‘Bevis Grave’, and an Anglo-Saxon cemetery, carried out between 1974 and 1976. A small amount of prehistoric pottery was recovered, including fragments of Neolithic wares from the barrow ditch.  The cemetery contained a total of 86 skeletons, as well as a number of grave goods, including knives, buckles, bronze straps, combs and beads.

There is also material from small projects and stray finds, donated by professional and amateur archaeologists and interested members of the public.

Donating to the archaeology collection

If you have an item or archive that you think may be of interest to add to the collection, please get in touch. Archaeology units should contact us in advance of work starting on a site within the city to ask for an accession number and deposit guidelines.

It will help us if you can tell us as much as you can about the item, including how you acquired it, where you found it and what condition it is in. Please include photographs if you can.

We collect only from within 15 miles of Portsmouth Guildhall. Material from outside this area should be deposited with Hampshire Cultural Trust.

All metal detector finds should be reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme: https://finds.org.uk.

Unfortunately we are unable to accept every item that we may be offered and cannot provide valuations for items.

See our donations procedure page for full details on how to make a donation and next steps.