Field Walking for the Witham Valley Project and for WAG

Each walk begins with a briefing from either a community archaeologist or (as in top picture) WAG leader Matt Vickers. Each field is walked in transects or strips 10 metres wide. As each find is made it is placed in a bag with a unique identifying number and pegged to the field with a flag. Archaeologists Mark Williams (right with surveyors pole) and Rachael Hall then use surveying equipment to record the exact location of every item in the field, collecting them as they go. It can sometimes take Mark and Rachel a few hours to collect and record all the finds after we have completed our field walk.

After a number of fields have been completed WAG and the Community Archaeologists will get together to clean and mark the finds each with their unique identifying codes. This gives everybody a chance to view all the finds together and for members of WAG to learn from the experts. News of when these meetings will be posted on the home page of this site.

The details of the finds and their locations will be mapped and compared with the results from augering (taking core samples of the deposits). Eventually, all the finds will be deposited in the musem.

This Project is funded by the Environment Agency, English Heritage and Lincolnsire County Council.

Conducting our own field walking projects

Washingborough Archaeology Group usually conducts its own field walking projects and has covered much of the Washingborough parish over the past 14 years.

Matt Vickers (WAG leader) organises the team during a fieldwalk giving us a briefing and de-briefing on each field walk, describing and showing examples of the finds we are looking for and where possible describes what the finds may be. Our technique is very much similar to the above description, but where we lack the technology for precise plotting we rely upon a lower tech approach by alphabetising each 10m transect and recording finds within them. Each find from along a transect is placed into a labelled bag by the fieldwalker, this allows for the types and spreads of finds to be plotted onto graphs and maps to indicate where concentrations of certain finds may be and could hint at the likely activities that were taking place there many years ago. After a field walk we usually get together to clean and label the finds for identification and to discuss what we have discovered.

Washingborough Parish and what we have learnt through our field walking

A brief description

To the north of the village lies the old flood plain of the River Witham. This is now an area of peat; and is known as Washingborough Fen. The peat was formed in the Bronze Age during a period of climatic change. The sea levels rose and the rivers flooded creating marshes. These marshes eventually became the dark peat that we see today.

The parish rises, to the south, above the river on a bedrock of limestone, which at times breaks through the topsoil. This area is known as heath land.

Both Fen and Heath are now farmed as either pasture or arable land.

Results from fieldwalking

Evidence of human activity in the Washingborough area for at least 7000 years.

People lived here settlements during the Bronze Age.

Roman & Medieval people farmed the land, building Villas and Granges nearby.

Fens drained in the Post Medieval period so that the land could be used for agriculture.

If you are interested in joining in, please do feel free to come along to one of our meetings or contact us via e-mail or the forum. The more the merrier!

© Washingborough Archaeology Group, 2003-2007 ©
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