Saturday, 16 September 2017

Field Walking With An Archeologist In The Making

F is home this weekend (before he heads off to uni) and this afternoon we went hedgerow harvesting up on The Chalk. He's always had an eye for things that other people miss, we've called him F the Finder for as long as I can remember. When he was a little lad it was bones, then as a teenager he got a metal detector and spent hours scouring the fields in all weathers for all sorts of things. He was eventually rewarded for this dedication with an Edward III gold nobel, which had lain in the earth undisturbed for seven hundred years. It was perfect and utterly beautiful.The agreement he had with the farmer who owned the land was that any finds would remain the property of the farmer. When F showed him the nobel, the farmer asked him what he would do with it if he had a choice. F said I'd keep it and the farmer gave it to him. 

It was perhaps unsurprising that this childhood hobby eventually developed into an all-consuming passion for archeology. It's been all he's wanted to do for the last four years and next weekend sees the start of his formal training.

You can't walk in the country without F going off, head down, over the fields, looking for pottery and bits of bone and flint. This morning, after he'd helped me pick two boxes of haws, he wandered off to roam the flint-chipped fields and came back with the above, which he tipped into my hands and explained as the off-cuts of prehistoric flint works. 

The right side has a flat end, where the flint has been deliberately struck off, then there's a lump (bulb) followed by the concave shape. All these show it's a worked piece of flint and not something that's been chipped by the plough. He reckoned they were neolithic or possibly bronze age, because of the style. 

They aren't the first ancient objects found in these fields. The farmer, who is a friend of ours, found an axe head that has been dated to before the last ice age and has a whole shoe box full of bits of flint and arrowheads and bones that have been butchered using flint tools.

Wandering back homeward, I was pleased to see that the ivy mining bees are back. They were busy buzzing about and clambering into and out of their holes in the sandy soil.....

As I was crouching down watching them, F called out that he'd found a bit of pottery. Closer examination revealed it was Iron Age. Roman pots have a different shape to the lip.

He's given the bits from today's field walking to me and I shall treasure them, along with the three flint arrowheads he found several years ago and also gave to me. That lad has a bright future ahead of him. I'm quite in awe of his knowledge.

Hope you're all having a good weekend? Parkrun went well this morning. I ran a steady 26 mins and coached a friend in to the finish, which was fun.

CT :o)


  1. What a rewarding hobby that soon may be a profession! Wishing him well in his studies.
    Now, what will you do with all those haws?

  2. I love your field walks with your son, I'm very envious. No archaeologists in my crew. I'm feeling somewhat smug at the moment. Sitting in an idyllic Georgian apartment in the middle of Worcestershire. I may have my own archeological moments this week in such an ancient landscape. B x

  3. Wow, what an amazing boy, and what fantastic finds. Wonderful to imagine what happened on the land all that time ago. It's brilliant that he has a passion and is able to follow it, really, there is nothing better. I'm wishing him all the best for his course, no doubt he'll have a great time. Love the story of the farmer's generosity, how very kind of him, and no doubt it means a lot to F. What a happy post. CJ xx

  4. That's such a cool thing, we had a good archaeology dept at Exeter! But that was in 1992!

  5. What a fabulous post ! Wonderful !
    If I didn't go into art I wanted to study archeology. I am also looking down as much as looking up at the sky.

    cheers, parsnip

  6. What an interesting son you have - I love it when young people develop a passion for something. E has a metal detector, but all we have to show for it are lots of nails and a patchy lawn! The man who owned our house previously was an archaeologist and he apparently discovered cannonballs in the garden, so I feel he may have found all the exciting bits. She has done a couple of digs during the summer holidays and found a Roman coin whilst they were excavating a villa. Sadly, she didn't get to keep it! I'm sure that F will have the best time at uni. Try to be brave when you drop him off! xx

  7. I can see that F has his Mum's eye for detail. Wonderful finds and things to be treasured when he's away from home making new discoveries and friends. I hope all goes well. x

  8. He must be an interesting companion on walks, and with the knowledge to identify the finds.

  9. How wonderful that your son is going to study something he clearly has a passion for – how lucky the university is to have him. I hope it all goes really well. I'm sure it will take some getting used to for you but lovely to have these treasures from him. S xx

  10. Hey CT,
    Fascinating post. The absolute best to your son on his Uni education. My oldest friend studied archeology. It's an amazing subject. Not everyone is born an observationist. Has he ever watched The Detectorists? Brilliant show.
    Leanne xx

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. i love hearing stories of a child's passion turning into a vocation....oh, happy day! the two of you together could lead the most interesting Rambles...:)

    i watched a BBC documentary a while ago called "The Story of England" and it was fabulous to see everyday people getting excited about the bits of pottery they turned up in their own back gardens. xoxo

  13. This is so lovely , I wish him well. I love anything like this and I too had a metal detector as a child.
    Discovering about Saxon's in my area so who knows I might just have to buy another detector and go look for treasure.
    Amanda xx

  14. I have 3 ancient stone tools my husband acquired on his travels. Deeply regret that he no longer remembers where. How wonderful for your son to be able to pick up a found object and unfold its story!


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x