As you may have read, we recently posted an article showing the vast difference of finds rates between re-ploughed fields and the same fields that had been only been directly drilled.
We will also take a look at "Ground Settlement" and how it may affect finds rates too.
First up was a large field (40-acres) that had just been "worked" and seeded with winter wheat. The area we chose to start was where we had recovered 87 Roman coins in one visit when it was ploughed and drilled with peas. This would certainly test the theory of ground settlement and more targets coming into range as we know that several Roman coins have been recovered in this small area on three occasions after ploughing.
Today we could only muster two small Roman grots that must have been disturbed by the "working" of the surface.
The next part of the field had not been detected since Jan 2016 and produced the remainder of the 48 Roman grots and artefacts including several pieces of Roman pottery. This clearly shows that settlement had not resulted anywhere near the amount of finds recovered earlier this year when newly drilled. In fact, the two coins on this occasion were more likely to have been completely missed due to the crop alignment. This also shows that anything less than 100% coverage will result in missed signals.
This should help anyone doubting their machine and ability as we have already posted.
Anyway, back to the survey, oddly enough, it was stooping down to pick up a piece of Roman course-ware/grit-ware that a lovely Bronze Age flint arrowhead was found lying right next to it. The arrowhead was the largest we'd ever found and was an exciting find indeed.
The ploughman arrived with the gamekeeper and we had a laugh and chat.
He gave us a run-down on what was ploughed and what was directly drilled. There's that worrying phrase again... "directly drilled".... we know from experience that the recovery rate is substantially reduced when compared to a ploughed field.
With 50 Roman coins, one cut-quarter that looks to be quite early, the flint arrowhead that could even be Bronze Age, lots of nice pottery and quite a few artefacts, we had a pleasant day... and the weather was brilliant!
With that, we tried a "directly drilled" field that has produced several Medieval coins and artefacts when ploughed. Sure enough, and without surprise, no signals were encountered at all. We will only return to this field when ploughed.
Our next field was still in wheat stubble and is where we'd discovered a probable Roman villa. Several Roman coins, pottery and fibulae were recovered in a single visit earlier this year.
This is where we would discover if the field had "settled" any since we surveyed it when newly drilled in February.
No signals were encountered as expected and both our theories of "Direct Drilling" and "Land Settlement" after being initially detected (with great results) had been successfully tested today.
The problem we have is that quite a number of our favourite fields have been directly drilled this year.
Unfortunately, these fields do not warrant the travel-time and cost until they have been re-ploughed.
Hopefully we have a couple of back-up plans to fall back on!
HD images of the days recoveries can be seen here.