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Uploading an artefact
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The hobby and its detractors
Reference Articles
A-S strap-end mods
Barrel padlocks
Buckles through the ages
Buckles visual catalogue
Button makers
Crotal bells
Edwardian farthings
Edwardian halfpennies
Edwardian Pennies
Galley halfpence
Gunter's chain
Harness pendants
Long Cross Pennies
Nuremberg jetons
Papal bullae
Pocket sundials
Roman seal boxes
Seal matrices

Guidelines for recording

The following guidelines for recording finds under the UKDFD scheme are designed to ensure that material uploaded to the database is of a satisfactory quality to facilitate identification and contribute to the scheme’s value as a research resource. Failure to adhere to the guidelines may result in rejection of the record.


Images should preferably be produced by digital photography, and must be sharp and of a sufficiently high resolution to permit identification. Images produced by scanners are only likely to be acceptable if the scanner has a lens system. Most modern printer/scanners do not meet this requirement. The image quality is of paramount importance. Unless a minimum standard is met, it will not be possible to identify the item, and the record will not be of any value to users of the database. For tips on producing images by digital photography, see Photography Tips. For tips on producing images by scanning, see Scanning Tips.

The only acceptable file format is jpeg (jpg). Images should be 24 bit colour whenever possible. Individual image file sizes should be in the range of 50KB to 150KB. Very small file sizes may result in an unacceptable record, due to lack of detail, and images with file sizes exceeding 250KB may fail to upload.

The specific photographic requirements are as follows:

  1. The object, including any drop-shadow, must be completely and comfortably within the frame (i.e. not cropped close to the edge).
  2. The background must be plain, ideally white, but at least neutral and not brightly coloured, patterned or textured. If Blu-Tack or hands are used to support an object for photographing, they must be positioned such that they are not visible on the image, or removed from it without trace prior to uploading.
  3. The object and the background must be clean and free of loose debris, soil and corrosion products.
  4. The lighting must be uniform across the image, not light at the top and dark at the bottom, or from one side to the other.
  5. Any drop-shadow must be light and transparent – don’t photograph in direct sunlight.
  6. The object must be in sharp focus.
  7. Coins, buttons and other flat artefacts must be photographed squarely, not obliquely, in order to prevent distortion.
  8. To avoid unsightly shadows, coins, buttons and other flat artefacts must be photographed lying on a flat surface, not stood on their rim.
  9. The photograph must be correctly exposed, neither too dark, nor too light.
  10. It is not necessary to include a scale on images, as the size is required to be specified separately. (If you wish to include a scale, it must be calibrated in metric units, i.e. centimetres and/or millimetres, inconspicuous and positioned such that it doesn’t overlay either the object or its shadow. Coins must not be used as size indicators.)
  11. Images of objects must be correctly orientated. For example, coin images must always show both sides the right way up. Please note that inverting photographs after they have been taken is unsatisfactory, due to the reversal of lighting.

Post-photographic processing of images should be undertaken, as necessary, to remove surplus background and correct any shortcomings in respect of the foregoing requirements.

Sample image meeting requirments

Sample of image meeting the photographic requirements

Please note that existing records should not be used as a basis for assessing image quality requirements.


Please complete as many of the data fields as possible, and take care typing to minimise any errors.

Certain fields are mandatory, and it will not be possible to proceed unless these are completed. They include those for providing basic information (e.g. material and size) required for identification, and those for providing minimum details regarding the findspot (parish). Spurious information entered into the mandatory fields will result in rejection of the record.

All dimensions must be in millimetres and all weights must be in grams. If possible, dimensions should be recorded to at least one decimal place and weights to at least two decimal places.

Coin legends and other inscriptions should be typed in upper-case letters. Other fields should be completed in ‘sentence case’ letters.

Note that special characters like Æ and Ð, as found on Anglo-Saxon coins, and diacritical marks on letters such as é, ë and è, can be copied and pasted from the Character Map in the Windows Accessories folder (Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map.)

Finds Eligible For Recording

Prehistoric stone tools and weapons, metal artefacts that date before circa 1650, and coins up to 1662 are eligible for recording on the database. Nondescript and irregular fragments of metal and badly worn coins are exceptions to this general rule.

Later finds are restricted to the categories listed below, in order to exclude material that would add little or nothing to existing knowledge. Within the listed categories, certain objects may be deemed ineligible by virtue of their condition (damaged, corroded or incomplete) or the frequency with which they are found. It is not practical to describe and list all such objects, so where there is any uncertainty, recorders are advised to seek guidance via the forum before uploading.

Please note that eligibility should not be assumed on the basis of existing records on the database. Some records exist solely to provide a representative example of a particular class of object. Others pre-date changes to eligibility criteria.

Eligible Post-1662 Coins:

Coins: UK regal gold, but only if in at least fine condition and undamaged

Coins: UK regal silver up to 1815, but only if in at least fine condition and undamaged

Coins: Foreign all metals up to 1840, but only if in at least fine condition and undamaged

Please note that post 1662 coins, other than those listed above, are not eligible.

Eligible Post-1650 Artefacts:

  • Badges
  • Barrel locks and keys
  • Buckles to c.1900
  • Buttons: decorated up to c.1900
  • Buttons: local militia & volunteer
  • Buttons: livery
  • Button hooks
  • Clog and shoe clasps
  • Cooperative Society checks
  • Crotal bells
  • Cutlery up to c.1900
  • Finger rings up to c.1900
  • Foot pattens
  • Furniture fittings to c.1900
  • Horse furniture
  • Jetons
  • Jewellery to c.1900
  • Jews harps
  • Keys up to c.1900
  • Lead toys
  • Market traders' tallies
  • Medals and medalets
  • Metal tickets and passes
  • Militaria: Badges
  • Militaria: Belt clasps
  • Militaria: Uniform buttons to c.1900
  • Pipe tampers
  • Pub checks
  • Seal matrices
  • Sovereign cases
  • Spurs
  • Thimbles up to c.1900
  • Tokens
  • Tools and implements up to c1900
  • Toy cannons
  • Vesta cases
  • Watch winders
  • Weights: Apothecaries
  • Weights: Bullion
  • Weights: Coin
  • Weights: Trade
  • Whistles

UKDFD Copyright 2005
Version 2005.06.13