Lanton Quarry – Fieldwalking

Various types of flint scrapers found during fieldwalking at Lanton Quarry. © Copyright ARS Ltd 2018
Archaeologists fieldwalking at Lanton Quarry. © Copyright ARS Ltd 2018
A flint knife with a serrated edge. © Copyright ARS Ltd 2018

Before quarrying operations commenced on the site the land was regularly ploughed for cultivation. A programme of fieldwalking was carried out to identify any finds brought to the surface when the field was ploughed. Fieldwalking involves a group of people walking in straight lines across the field while examining the ground surface for artefacts. The aim is to cover the ground in a systematic way so the walkers were spaced 2m apart allowing them to observe the ground 1m either side of them. This resulted in 100% of the field surface being covered.

Fieldwalking is particularly good for spotting finds such as stone tools and pottery. Flint is very durable so it can survive intact for thousands of years, making it easier to pick out on the ground. Chert and agate are other types of hard stone that were used to make stone tools in this area. Although pottery can be identified during fieldwalking, it does not survive as well as flint and chert which form the majority of material found at Lanton Quarry. Well-fired pottery, like that from the Roman period, is more likely to survive than pottery from earlier periods, although being north of Hadrian’s Wall very little Roman material has been found in this area.

Once finds have been identified, their positions are recorded using surveying equipment and then they are placed in individual bags and given a number. The fieldwalking results are in the form of a distribution map that shows exactly where the finds were discovered. This helps to pinpoint where any surviving buried archaeology is likely to be located.

To find out more about the results read the Lanton Quarry Fieldwalking Report on the Downloads and Links page.

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