Of course we were full of anticipation as this looked to be a superb medieval site with a lot of potential.
We arrived at 7:20am after I'd had a great night's sleep (NOT!) as I only got out of Manchester at 11:30pm the night before due to the horrendous roadworks in the city centre. Managed to get home at 12:10am for a 03:45 get up!
The field (58 acres) looked to be quite level as the farmer had said it was "worked" but not drilled. On the 'phone he did say it would be drilled very soon. It was in fact drilled with winter wheat and we thought "Yes!".
Within five minutes of being on the field we thought "No!"..... the soil was of a heavy clay type which did a very good job of sticking to our boots!
It was impossible to survey the field in such a condition.
With that it was a trip to the farmhouse to see if there were any other fields that may not be as "claggy" as our survey site.
We met the farmer (and his 3 labs) and he said that there was a field still in stubble that we could have a look at. With that, he drew a map on the rear of our map (as it wasn't big enough!) to indicate where the field was.
We got there to find a small (5 acre) stubble field.
A quick walk on it soon assured us that we could carry on as normal. The only problem was is that we'd never researched this bit, so we were going in 'blind'.
No worries though, the first signal after 60 seconds produced a medieval spur rowel and three medieval pottery sherds.
Sure enough, lots of C13th and C14th pottery were scattered about on the field surface.
Over 90 pieces of lead were recovered as well as over 70 pottery fragments which included several jug handles. Some of the pottery appeared to be quite early medieval or even Roman. Other non-metallic items were oyster and cockle shells, polished pebbles and worked flints.
Some superb examples of C14th buckles (some with their tongue's still in place) were recovered including a rare sword buckle, a rare stirrup mount including two strapends still attached to it!
Six medieval skillet legs and several skillet rim parts were found along with a small hexagonal medieval brooch, a small cast bell fragment, a casket key, a couple spindle whorls, a Roman sestertius, lead tokens, several strapend fragments, a couple of C3rd Roman coins and five hammered coins, one of which looks to be some form of Hiberno-Norse or Viking type coin. The jury is out at the moment on this one as an expert in the field of this coinage is looking into it.
Two mis-cast buckles and evidence of metalworking were found on this site. As usual, there were some unidentified artefacts that were recovered which need further investigation. One being a strange lead dome shaped artefact that looks like a replica of the dome of the cathedral at Florence.
It could also be a sword pommel casting form?
We re-visited the original field and found that it was now walkable. However, nothing much was recovered apart from the sestertius and a cut half hammered penny of Henry II.
We called back at the farm for a re-cap and the farmer told us about another field that was in stubble about 5 miles away. He said we could check that out if we wanted next week.
For the technically minded; all three machines were set up as follows: GMP, Tracking and small coils.
No tweaks were used in the making of this survey :D
Images of the days recoveries can be seen here.