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Finding and marking un-charted footpaths, trails, and ancient routes.


Tim Kernowek 59
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🧐 Here's a good way of plotting the movements of people from times past, before maps or records of that kind came to be.  I became fed up digging every signal as I found them  on pastures, arables, and moorland, and decided instead to push de-barked withy sticks on the exact point of find. That way I could just hunt, push in a blazed withy and move on each time. It also meant not having to lug a spade around all the while. I've got a badly damaged right shoulder from a mining accident, so every little helps me. Eventually I discovered that twenty  withys was the optimum number of targets that I felt able to dig. Things went well, and eventually (neccessity being the mother of invention), I change the withys for 12" Civil Engineering steel pins with  hi-viz flag markers.  I carry them in a cut -down- to- length 24" fishing float tube, I put a good 4" foam insert 'cut to fit'  in one end. after drilling a hole in the tube so as not to prevent an end cap from being fully seated, and then threading a leather thong through it, and knotting the end that's inside the tube to prevent it pulling through said drill hole. I replace the end cap, and tape it with insulating tape to keep it in place. All it takes is another drill hole at the other end that doesn't impinge the end cap in situ, push the other end of the leather thong into the hole, pull through to suit lenght on shoulder, knot, cut thong excess, put marker flags in , replace the other end cap and " Job's a good'n". I drill a hole dead centre in the end cap and push a length of looped cord through it, knot it both sides of the end cap and it's easy to access the marker flags. ...  After putting the flag pins in the ground, 'on target', if there's a trail, the line of flags show it plain as day! If there's not a line of flags so be it, just dig the targets after all the flag-pins are out, and either call it a day afterwards, or repeat the process if you are 'up for it'. I hope this may be of use to the open field hunters. I've sent some pics to John, and if he's kind enough he may post them with this write up. Cheers and gone....

Edited by Tim Kernowek 59
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I like the idea for when there might be hidden path like that.  Stumbling upon an old Roman foot path would sure be nice.  Oh how I wish the Native Americans over here used more metal in their workings - or had a proper coin of some sort. 

It would also be useful if you had a helper of some sort.  They could go behind you and dig all the flags.  Might be neat for the younger generation to get them interested.

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Nice way to do some plotting .. do you also draw the locations you find and keep the record so to be able to return to the same found pathway?...

where I live the history goes back to 1792, but a real population didn't start for another 20 years .. the best map of the early days is a 1857 insurance map, which shows a well inhabited western NY .. any earlier maps that I've been able to find are crudely drawn and some of those were proposed layouts ( which changed before being put into action) both of which are impossible to discern from each other .. the actual pathways are fairly easy to locate here...one would walk the narrow valley not up and over the dark forested hills....the locations of these pathways are now mostly a roadway or highway... so if you were to be searching for a piece dropped by one of the Jesuits traveling through here before the expansion...you would be searching for probable camping locations .. most of the Jesuits who traveled through this area met with a terrible and torturous end but they may have been carrying some metal trinkets as piece offerings...even the trappers and fur traders steered away from this place ..it was the wilderness and even the natives of that time only ventured here for hunting and fishing or fighting with each other...there were small camp sites located here that had a fairly constant native population .. but the villages were still north  and west of here and into the flatlands .. the advancing "civilization" was only possible due to the many rivers around .. very shallow at the time but travel was made possible by damming .. it must have been a site to the natives of the area to see a large boat coming up a river that was hardly accessible by canoe. .. so the history searchable by metal detecting where I live really starts at 1800 and those who lived here during that time surely weren't using coins for anything .. it would be another 30-40 years before there was any sort of standard of commerce. .. also during that period there was what is called the "free rent" years ..where many who bought a plot of land and built there home could not pay their loaned monies .. so they didn't .. coins would have been scarce then.

With that, and as an afterthought, the photos of the area from the turn of the 20th century (1880-1910), all show that there were no trees around, all logged off to a clear cut .. so during this period of time, how would I walk from one town to another? .. probably by the shortest distance or line of sight. .. with that I've been playing a connect the dots and looking for features that would allow for a good place to rest after, say, climbing a hill or shelter from the rain, etc. .. yes, horse and buggy still needed to be drawn along the major pathways but simple travel, which would have been done on foot, would be different. There would be no need to go miles out of your way just to follow a roadway to get to a place just over the hill. There would be some places where cliffs and gullies and the like would need to be avoided, but other than that, straight as an arrow. I keep thinking of a mother sending her son (a few miles away) to town for a few small items.

There were native Americans who made things out of metal .. both the Maya and Inca made things out of gold and silver .. I'm not sure how far they traveled into the present US, but surely they did some stuff in the south west .. they must have made a lot of it also, as it caused the Spaniards to search that whole area hoping to find the treasure (the city of gold) for the King and a lot of it was found. .. melted down and made into reales and escudos .. but any native items made from gold or silver wouldn't come in coin form .. more so trinkets, masks, and the like. ..this history began nearly 100 years before the history that is in the eastern part of the country, except for in a few small locations here .. but at last, I'm 2500 miles NE of any chance to search for that kind of history on a practical and daily basis, other than in books. 

I'm getting lost in my own thoughts.

Edited by ScoTTT2
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