Kevin Leahy & Michael Lewis
Greenlight Publishing, £30
Review Dot Boughton
This new book, Finds Identified, is a chunky volume celebrating the rich material culture of England and Wales. Brimming with information on archaeological objects dating from the prehistoric to the modern period, it is richly illustrated with images from the online database of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). Its authors certainly know what they are talking about: Michael Lewis is the head of the scheme, while Kevin Leahy is the finds adviser for early medieval metalwork.
The objects are almost exclusively made from metal, but range widely – from the fragmented to the complete, and from the everyday to the exceptional. Structurally, the authors chose a thematic rather than a chronological approach, which may make the use of the book as a basic identification guide tricky for the uninitiated. However, each object is labelled with its date, provenance, and unique PAS database reference, which enables the reader to obtain further information about the finds, as well as images, and bibliographic references. It is a volume that should not be missing from any museum curator’s or finds specialist’s office.