British Museum addresses UK archaeological finds with 3 words uses multi-award winning technology what3words to document locations of over a million artefacts

Finders keepers, losers weepers. For the past thousand years, if you happened to stumble across the worldly possessions of someone long since departed you could just keep them. In 1996 this changed under the UK’s Treasure Act. Before you got to cash your cache of Roman coins you needed to take them the local coroner along with where you found them. But to date communicating the precise location of finds has been problematic

Sutton Hoo was found in the middle of a field a kilometre from the nearest town. Finding it again would a description along the lines of “Past the big oak tree, about 200 steps east, just over the mound”, or the use of more complex coordinates 52° 5' 40.841" N 1° 20' 30.397" E

Luckily, there is an alternative. what3words is an location reference system based on a global grid of 57 trillion 3x3m squares. Each square been pre-assigned a unique & fixed 3 word address.

It means that every 3mx3m at Sutton Hoo has a 3 word address and now thanks to an online initiative from the British Museum every other archaeological find in the UK now has a 3 word address. is an online database of over a million objects found in the UK. Funded by the Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport its aim is to record not only what is found but where it was discovered via its network of 36 Finds Liaison Officers. The site charts everything from medieval sword belts & Roman coins to Bronze Age tools & toys. By integrating what3words 2 line code into the site now each and every one of the 1m+ finds have a precise 3 word address.

what3words is a universal location reference system based on a global grid of 57 trillion 3mx3m squares. Each square has been pre-assigned a fixed and unique 3 word address. It works in multiple languages, offline with no data connection. The use of words means non-technical people can find any location accurately and communicate it more quickly, more easily and with less ambiguity than any other system. Words can easily be remembered, written, said, printed or shared digitally.

what3words is being used around the world to help make deliveries in the favelas of Brazil, distribute medicine in the townships of South Africa and solar lights in the slums of India. 

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About what3words

what3words is a global grid of 3m x 3m squares where each square has been pre-allocated a fixed and unique 3 word address.

75% of the world suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems.

This means that around 4 billion people are invisible; unable to report crime; unable to get deliveries or receive aid; and unable to exercise many of their rights as citizens because they simply have no way to communicate where they live.

It means that in remote locations water facilities can’t be found, monitored and fixed; and schools, refugee camps and informal settlements remain unaddressed. Even in countries with advanced systems, people get lost, packages aren’t delivered and businesses aren’t found.

Poor addressing is costly & annoying in developed countries, but limits growth and threatens lives in developing ones.

Our API is being integrated into businesses, apps & services. It works across all platforms and devices, in multiple languages, offline and with voice recognition.

what3words means everyone and everywhere now has an address.