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The value of 'Field Walking'.


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I have become increasingly aware of just how little importance the vast majority of rural detectorists place in 'Field Walking' prior to actual hunting. It seems, to me at least, that more emphasis is placed on sources of info such as O S Maps, or scouring through older map archives, which can be rather expensive. I guess most people simply try to gain permissions randomly, and put their faith in 'Lady Luck'. However, field walking is key, of that I am certain. Old maps may indicate the locations of obsolete bridle-ways yada yada, but nothing beats putting in the harder yards, getting out there, using your eyes and senses, and spotting the tell-tale signs of human movements from times gone. Field walking can be arduous at times, patience taxing most of it, but of great value if things 'come your way'. This weekend will find me, 'eyes only' hunting on the high wind-swept ground of my best permission. Why? Because the farmer has ploughed a 600 metre by 25 metre strip along the flat-top part of his highest hill ground, prior to the ploughed area being worked down, and securely fenced off to keep his sheep from invading it. He is going to plant a dense wind-break of quick-thorn, interspersed with hardy deciduous 'shrub'trees, the whole lngth of the field to give shelter to his huge flock of ewes, and to provide habitat for many 'mountain' dwelling and nesting birds, and hares. He is big on conservation....Now here's the interesting bit! Whilst ploughing he noticed pottery sherds coming up. Wisely, he bagged some of them up and stashed the hessian bag in the cab of the tractor. After work, he called me and related most of what I've written here, bar the swear words. I've since gone to him, and examined the pottery. Some sherds are chunky and 'tea plate' in size, others are smaller and less bulky; ALL, without doubt or exception, are Late British Iron Age in denomination......This field, due to its rather remote positioning and gradients, has never been mechanically ploughed until now...not even it's flat-top summit. The week-end cannot come soon enough! I so love my field-walking.
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hopefully you find an area of sought after goodies and your follow-up report will be filled with interesting finds and photos .. field walking in my younger days was in search of native artifacts and scouting areas for my winter pastime .. can only imagine what you could be finding.
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Cheers Scott, I bet that it is fantastic to find hand-knapped Amer-Indian flint tools or hunting/war impliments..I can only dream of finding Sioux or Cheyenne arrow-heads, or flint battle- hatchet heads, or rarer still an atlatl dart tip! Man, that'd be far-out!..."Dream on Tim".....Mind you, It'd certainly be marvellous to hit on something of historic metallurgical interest on 'my' hill-top location, that's for sure! However, half a dozen 'swallows' doesn't mean a 'summer'. There have been wayyyy too many times past when I've lost sleep due to similar scenarios, only to discover that a few sherds of random Samian Ware doesn't mean that I have inadvertently discovered a long-forgotten Villa site; one needs to find quite sizeable deposits of oyster shells in order to begin to embrace those kind of hopes. One positive, is that late Iron Age folk were on that field/hill-top, so I will have to hunt the whole flat expanse of the place; approximately 60 acres, the other one is that this farm is the one where metal detecting clubs and all other metal detectorists, bar my brother and I, are absolutely forbidden..."Phew!" :D :D ;)
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I walk the lake sometimes without the detector. Arrow heads and game pieces from the tribes out here. You can see the holes where they ground the corn and such on the rocks. Found some 1800's pottery in Colorado and here in California both....but the iron age is whole other story. I'd probably frame something from the iron age. You UK guys probably toss it in the bin. 😀

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in the beginning and as far back as is known, here in NY was the home of the Algonquians .. those are the better and most sought after of the finds .. then the Iroquois took the land and forced the Algonquin north .. the Iroquois sided with King George in the 1700s .. and were moved after the war .. with only a few small reservations left scattered around .. the Iroquois were known at the time of European settlement as the Five nations .. later they became the six nations .. much of their beliefs were adopted into our constitution .. the five nations were the Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, and Mohawk .. the Tuscarora later became the sixth nation .... my wife is a Seneca princess of the Turtle tribe
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Yep, pottery sherds per-se are not worth collecting John. U.K Archaeologists excavating Iron Age 'crouched in-humations' very occasionally find complete pottery vessels, or, more commonly collapsed (fragmentary) vessels, which, in some cases can be pains-takingly re-constructed. As a matter of interest, many moons ago, an archaeological dig at a cliff-top location in Cornwall, revealed the in-humation of an Iron Age female who had been buried in a sitting/kneeling position facing toward the Atlantic. Her unorthodox position in death, plus certain grave goods, which included mistle-toe, led Iron Age experts, in that particular domain, to conclude that Druidism was somehow 'involved'. British Druidism was entirely a male preserve, that much is certain, however seeds of the 'mistle-toe' plant were found with her remains. Only Druids were permitted to handle the plant, never anyone else, least of all females. There was no evidence of malpractice being the cause for her demise; Druids occasionally offered human sacrifice to their pagan dieties... Thank you so much for the information about the indigenous peoples that first occupied your area Scott. I've always been interested in the histories of North American indigenous inhabitants, To know that your woman is a tribal princess must fill you with great pride, and sense of 'belonging'. Fascinating.. My Grand-Mother on my Mums side was an Irish Gypsy woman; proper. Herself spoke 'Romany' as fluently as we speak English. My Grand-Mother possessed great knowledge of nature, and natural healing, using 'Mother Natures' herbs and other plant-life. The silly tales of Gypsy folk eating hedgehogs that were baked in clay are entirely BS. My Grand-Mother, Alice Lucy, called those that believed in such rubbish, "Radji Mugrums"....Basically, proper 'head-######'. Bless her soul.
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  • 2 weeks later...
At last! Three days of sunshine so I went for a walk over the ploughed strip. There were a few bits of coarse black-brown high silica content sherds here and there so I persisted like 'Head down Henry' for over an hour and a half, when, "Bingo!", I managed to 'eyes only' a small 1 1/2" 'claw' shaped bronze piece. it's definitely ancient and quite nice in itself to be fair, though I'm at a loss to decide what it once was a part of, but definitely (again), artefact not ditch junk. I showed it to the farmer, and said I'd give it him once one of my girls 'smart phoned' it. I'll post it up for you men to see as soon as poss....I will maybe go back there t'morra for another walk over. Good news! So too being informed that the plough will be worked down next week prior to it being securely livestock fenced-off.
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