PAN: Portable Antiquities of the Netherlands


Portable antiquities (small metal artefacts of prehistoric or historical date) are found in large quantities by metal detector users while walking arable fields or trenches of building plots and other construction works. These private finds greatly outnumber the collections of metal artefacts usually retrieved by professional archaeologists during excavations. Therefore, they have a high scientific potential for studying economic, social and cultural aspects of past societies. For professional archaeologists distribution maps of portable antiquities are major tools, but at present such maps are notoriously incomplete as through a lack of a centrally organised database privately owned items cannot be taken into account. Apart from a scientific interest, as indicators of archaeological sites the portable antiquities are also highly relevant for heritage management in the context of spatial planning. PAN aims to establish close cooperation between the private metal-detector community, the academic world and heritage institutions regarding the registration, scientific enrichment and use of the collections of portable antiquities for decision-making in planning policy. Metal detection as a leisure time activity started to spread in the 1970s. With the first generation of detectorists now being in their 70s, there is an urgent need to document their collections before with their death an enormous potential of scientific information will be lost forever. While the objects themselves might remain available for further research in the future, the crucial information on the exact find spot of the metal objects can only be retrieved orally from the finders themselves.
Although private individuals have a legal obligation to report their finds to municipal, provincial or state authorities, in practice this is hardly done, also because reporting finds is not well facilitated at present. This investment proposal aims at developing an infrastructure for find reports, encompassing a digital find reporting site (online database with a linked data structure) as well as the manpower to digitise the backlog of existing collections. Examples of similar reporting infrastructures outside the Netherlands and recent developments in digital humanities, networking services and crowdsourcing have been major sources of inspiration for the lay-out of the national infrastructure proposed here.


Wetenschappelijk artikel

  • J. Bazelmans, S. Heeren, N. Roymans, J.W. de Kort(2017): De goudschat van Lienden. Archeologie in Nederland pp. 2 - 9
  • N. Roymans, S. Heeren(2017): Doe mee met PAN. Het belang van archeologische vondsten in privĂ©-bezit Archeologie in Nederland pp. 18 - 25

Publicatie bedoeld voor een breed publiek

  • S. Heeren(2016): Welke vondsten melden en waar moet ik die melden? pp. 6 - 7
  • J. Bazelmans, N. Roymans, S. Heeren(2017): De goudschat van Lienden: een goede samenwerking tussen detectorzoekers en archeologen pp. 26 - 29
  • S. Heeren(2017): Nieuw meldpunt voor kleine archeologische vondsten door detectorzoekers Portable Antiquities of the Netherlands pp. 18 - 19
  • J. van den Berg, J. van der Klooster(2017): 'Stripverhaal' uit Tachtigjarige Oorlog pp. 23 - 24
  • M. Daleman, M. de Haas(2017): Het PAN-project en een muntschat uit de 17e eeuw pp. 143 - 145

Professionele publicatie

  • S. Heeren(2016): Het melden van munten en andere bodemvondsten: PAN gaat van start pp. 217 - 219
  • N. Roymans, J.W. de Kort, S. Heeren(2017): Archeologisch onderzoek bij Lienden-Den Eng, gemeente Buren. pp. 1 - 53






Prof. dr. N.G.A.M. Roymans

Verbonden aan

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Letteren


Drs. M. Daleman, M.V. de Haas MA, Dr. S. Heeren, Dr. M. Kars, J.A.L. van der Klooster BA, E.J. Kroon, E.J. Kroon, Drs. R.W. Reijnen, J. van Roemburg MA, Drs. G.A.H. Scheijvens, V. van der Veen MA