Fieldwalking is a technique that can locate archaeological sites and areas of past activity. It is a simple above-ground technique that can provide a wealth of information on past land use. Before any walking can be undertaken, a grid has to be laid out. It is then a matter of walking over the area in an orderly sequence, systematically collecting and plotting fragments of pottery, flints or any other materials found on the land surface.
Over three days a group of dedicated volunteers conducted a large-scale fieldwalking survey over a field that had once been part of the Poltimore Estate deer park. During the 19th century, the boundary of the deer park was extended and in the process two farms and a road which had been situated along the southern boundary of this field were removed. It was hoped that artefact scatters associated with these vanished features would be found by the fieldwalking survey.
We were very lucky in that the weather was warm and dry and the ground was easy to walk over. However, whilst conducting the fieldwalking it was clear that we were finding a whole range of artefacts from prehistoric worked flint to modern pottery.
Two of the finds
A sherd of post-medieval pottery
A piece of prehistoric flint
Finds Washing, 23rd of October 2011
The next stage after the fieldwalking was to wash the finds. A select group of enthusiastic volunteers proceeded to spend Sunday with our hands in chilly water, though the effects of this were mitigated with large quantities of tea. There proved to be a vast amount of artefacts, which will be identified in detail at a later date. However, observations during the washing process suggested a fair amount of 18th century pottery and quantities of glass objects, along with prehistoric flint and some much more modern objects. We shall keep our fingers crossed for the golden medieval treasures.
Finds Washing; Hard at work
A selection of slightly soggy finds
A possible Prehistoric flint blade