Field walking


Field walking represents an initial phase of archaeological fieldwork. It is a non-intrusive, simple and rapid method which involves a team of archaeologists walking along lines (called transects) across open areas such as fields. The team will walk the transects scanning the ground for artefacts such as pottery or flint. Wessex Archaeology use modern measured survey technology such as GPS to aid the accuracy of our work, allowing clusters of artefacts to be recorded.
The ground conditions for field walking are vital, as it is important to be able to clearly see the ground surface for an accurate evaluation. Factors such as the weather are also very important. The material to be collected is found on the ground surface, usually following ploughing, and preferably after rain has fallen on the ploughed surface.
The artefacts found during the fieldwork are then analysed and dated and the information entered into databases and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in order to plot the data. Concentrations of artefacts, such as worked flint, pottery or tile, can identify the possible location of settlements and areas of human occupation from different periods. Such indicators could provide sufficient evidence to warrant being targeted in a phase of trial trenching or excavation.