Fieldwalking and Recording, November 2013

Unfortunately, due to the bad weather we had to miss our annual fieldwalking at Loddington for the October meeting, which meant we had to change the usual finds analysis meeting was slightly different to normal.  We looked into the different aspects of archaeological research of desk top survey, the methods of fieldwalking, how to record appropriately and interpretation of the finds. We were also visited by Wendy from Historical Environment Record, who also led part of the session on the desk top research.  🙂

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  • What is field walking?

This is were you archaeologist, or fieldwalkers, walk up and down a ploughed field. Looking on the ground to see what the plough has thrown up to the surface (pottery sherds, flint tools, tiles, buttons or coins).  This is a method which allows archaeologist to collect information on a site, looking at the distribution of finds and they types of finds that are collected.

  • How do you do it?

The field under investigation is marked on a map and divided by grids, roughly 20m x 20m.  The grids are divided future, so the individual walker is given a 2m wide strip.  The walker would walk in a slow pace, down an ‘invisible’ center line and looking after 1m either side can.  The aim of the game is to find as many artefacts that are resting on the surface in a short period of time.

The artefacts must be collected, bagged and labelled according to the grid system (A1 , B1, C6 etc). With this technique, any item found can be assigned an accurate position within the grid.  You can then recreate the locations of the finds on the map of the field, which you have divided up onto grids.  This will very quickly show up clusters of finds.

  • Why do we do it?

The clusters (distribution) of find give a good indication of the approximate location of sites and the extent of the interest.

  • What is the importance of Desk Top Research?

This is carried out before any fieldwalking or excavations can take place.  It is the not so fun part of archaeology (very dull), but it is very important.  By reading past records of a site, which can be found on the HER, can provide information of what artifacts or features have been found before.  Without it, how do you know what to look for?

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