Fieldwalking is often one of the first archaeological techniques used to investigate a site. Without the need for complex or expensive equipment, it is a popular and non-invasive method of surveying a landscape to build up a picture of human activity in the area.
Most fieldwalking, as at Cresswell, is carried out in the winter or early spring. At this time arable fields have been ploughed and allowed to weather for a while. Freshly ploughed fields are not ideal as the surface is rough and the artifacts are more difficult to spot. Fields are ploughed to invert the topsoil and bury weeds and crop remains. During ploughing artifacts buried within the reach of the plough often find their way to the surface. These artefacts are circulated through the topsoil on subsequent ploughings.
Our small army of volunteers, trained and led by archaeologists Barry Mead and Philippa Cockburn, systematically combed the Fisheries Field, adjacent to the Pele Tower, scanning the ground for anything interesting. Any finds were bagged and the find location marked by inserting a cane into the ground. These locations were accurately mapped using a GPS device creating a distribution map.
The video below shows the technique in action and reveals some of the fascinating finds that appeared.
You can see all of the videos created by Timeline for the Cresswell Pele Tower Project on our Video Page.
Images of our fieldwalking and some of the finds. Click the thumbnails for a better view and more information.
Flint Distribution Animation
The animation below shows the distribution of flints found during the fieldwalking at Cresswell. The animation is based on data from Archaeological Research Services.