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A question if you please
#11
well i have just been trying to follow this back and forward (B LimeY!)....

i had a good read here
http://paul-barford.blogspot.co.uk/2014/...r-you.html
and then a good laugh here:
http://paulbarford.blogspot.co.uk/


Barford (the Real Barford that is) is not only barking up the wrong tree, but IMHO risking serious disdain from a wide range of actual coal-face proffesionals and field archaeolgoists, who probably like me have never really heard of him (the real one) until now.

1 - i respect Barfords original purpose and fully support PAS - the key is that SPATIAL DATA is collected, and that SIGNIFICANT finds/assesmblages can be contexualised rather than dug out of undisturbed archaeolgoy.

2 - Barford and some of the metal dectorists are not seeing the whole picture...for 'us' field archaeolgoists a pressing concern is now to deal with Ploughsoil Archaeology in general...
of highest concern for many are lithics(flints), as it is WELL KNOWN that well defined, cronologically/spatialy seperate artefact scatters are OFTEN not represented by any subsurface features....
that is, once the ploughsoil has been stripped away (yes by machine) prior to excavtion ..(ideally not too truncated :I)


This is really the Nub of the spat Barford (the Real one) has cooked up with fellow BAJRites (- and i really do hope we can all put this away and do something more +ve now pls)

[what follows is in relation to ploughed sites, and i would certainly bereally very pissed at a metal detectorist poking around in 'pristine' locations]

In fact:
-there is minimal provision, and even rarer application of appropriate techniques, in UK archaeology at the moment for PloughZone Archaeology > first in line to take the blame for this are (sorry) the County Archaeolgoists, who are routinley accpting breifs and WSIs that say-one-thing-but-do-another (eg 'all topsoil will be scanned for...',), and give only a passing nod to established best practice and the state of current archaeolgoy knowledge/research in realtion to the Ploughzone.

Of principle note and merit is field walking (especially for lithics) which often produces more information (especially preshistory) than evaluation trenches (see Hey/OA c.1994 but read between the lines!), (and which could be combined very well with metal-detecting , on a routine bassis ,for even better info.....)

Ploughzone Artefact distributions have been demonstrated many times to reatin consibable spatial integrity, despite vertical disruption by the plough - as many early prehistoric sites are defined by shallow remains, if at all, this is a crucial fact...
Excellent results achieved by systematic field walking are often very much at odds with materail recoverd by watching machines while opening trenches (if any is recovered at all...)
We are takling BIG diffrences here (but remembeing the data is not fully comptable) in orders of 10x - 20x
A vicious circle develops - if an evaluation trench finds 'not much' in the ploughsoil, there is no further need to look... (we will just 'monitor' spoil as a giant hungry machine chomps away at it, that will do wont it?)xx(
over-time, the few sites in a region that have been systematicaly fieldwalked (and thus have produced a lot of data/items) become 'The' meso-neo-whatever-o sites for the area...(job done)...

- personally i feel the PloughZone situation is dire, with cut and paste WSIs, totaly unreflexive methods [SUB]once-the-JCB-starts-rolling[/SUB], and a wierd self-induced hypnotism that 'this is is just the way commercail archaeology has to be'

-the result of this lack of thought given to ploughzone archaeology in th UK, is that i (and many others) have (very sadly) had to watch (sorry, 'monitor') many times as thousands of tons of ploughsoil is dumped, knowing full well that it was likley to contain undetermined (and now forever lost) artefact distributions relating to some of the earliest and least well understood periods of UK&Northern European (pre)history (a bit early for a lot of MDs admittedly...Smile


i could go on (i may well do...)



The upshot is that i, as a highly experienced proffesional field archaeolgoist, feel that Commercail Archaeology drops the ball on this, nearly every bloody time !!!!

consequently, yes, i do not see a problem with MDs on ploughed sites - and recovering so many artefacts from the ploughsoil as they want,
becasue;
WE 'PROFFESIONALS' HARDLY EVER LOOK AT THE BLOODY STUFF !!!!!!!

-we need much more robust approaches to commercail removal of topsoil
-we need many more fieldwalking programs, especially in advance of development,--- and these could happliy include metal dectorists at very little effort...)
-we need EH, CCs, and the damn IFA to work hard to promote these better methodologies, and we need field staff capable carrying out such work competently (spotting flint...a dying art?)

If 'National Profesional Archaeology' (whatever that might be) is to place importance on Ploughzone Metal Finds such that they sould be put out of reach of metal detecorists, then how come we are allowing thousands of tons of unexamained ploughsoil to be dumped evey bloody day !!!

That is why, until commercial practice gets its act together, i fully endorse Metal Detecting ploughed sites AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
I would also like (and i suppose offer...) to help educate metal detecorists about eg Lithics, - collected items (even located just to field) can produce invaluable information about archaeolgoy that is ROUTINLEY MACHINED AWAY ON COMMERCIAL SITES.

(nb; some turely profesional commercail jobs have been done (extensive field walking, hand-dug testpits, actually sticking to a brief where top/soil is removed in spits (eg 10cm) with enough horizontal exposure and time to actually be able to find things...- these projects show very clearly what methods can be used, why, and the high archaeological signifcane of the results : these should be examples for more routine practice)

A strong alliance on the issue of PloughZone Archaeology could be formed between eg Metal-Detectorists, Litchics Specialists, Pre-historic researchers, and Profesional Field Archaeologists > a joint case can be made for EH, CCs and the damn IFA to really adress this issue in realtion to commercail development, (especially any very large projects...)

I do hope real Paul Barford (the Un - Real one) joins in with this, and stops yapping up the wrong tree - "come up here mate, and thrown nuts at the bulldozers/consultants":o)



ps: Note for MDs - i suppose i should qualify; in that some locations (eg top of chalk hills) can have very thin ploughsoil (eg 0.25m), directly and sharply contacting the substrate, and often without appreciable sub-soil over any undistubed archaeological deposits. Beware in such locations that you have not inadvertently dug into an undisturbed feature, not subsoil, even at depths as shallow as c.0.30m. Spatial data/reporting is clearly imensely useful.....
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#12
Nothing there I would not agree with... I was in discussion about a BAJR Guide on "Ploughsoil sites " as ther seems to be an idea that an eval will do the trick. on plough development sites you need more. and lithics / pottery scatters are a must to record.

I hate to think what Paul Barford says about me. or anyone else here. but he long ago lost any respect from archaeologists, sad, as some of what he says makes sense, but he has yet to find a way to say it in such a way that he does not offend. It is like a doctor telling you that they are here to help, while punching you repeatedly in the face Smile

The argument is damage to subs surface archaeology - and that can and does happen... however. this is more a chance for positive action. and I will still hold to that.

I fear we will all get a chapter in his book.. which I think will never be published at this rate -- I thought I had a chapter 8 years ago Wink
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#13
Quote:-the result of this lack of thought given to ploughzone archaeology in th UK, is that i (and many others) have (very sadly) had to watch (sorry, 'monitor') many times as thousands of tons of ploughsoil is dumped, knowing full well that it was likley to contain undetermined (and now forever lost) artefact distributions
and that is the point. when we do it, it is because it should be done. if there is ploughsoil then there is no reason why it is not fieldwalked. 100% this info can be merged with detecting material. the important thing is not going below the plough soil... if there is a good signal below, then it is often a good idea to tell someone, rather than blindly dig down to it.

ps can people confirm whether they can or can't see the top post by baines?
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#14
GnomeKing Wrote:[what follows is in relation to ploughed sites, and i would certainly bereally very pissed at a metal detectorist poking around in 'pristine' locations]

Apologies for possibly dumb question but when you say a 'ploughed site' is that a site that has just been ploughed or a site that has been ploughed in previous years. For example my Local Authority lets you detect public parks. I've seen pictures of the park some 40 years ago when it was a ploughed field. Would this therefore count as a ploughed site or not. I'm not looking for an excuse by saying 'most fields have been ploughed at some stage or another' as how am I to know if they have, however if you do know they had been ploughed I just wanted to know whether they counted as a ploughed site to which you were referring. Also does it make a difference if it was say ploughed 200 years ago as opposed to 5?

Cheers

PS the question from Andy is there BAJR
Pondering responsible detecting at

http://theresponsibledetectorist.blogspot.co.uk/
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#15
Thanks for all the detailed replys

regards

Andy
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#16
Responsible Detectorist Wrote:Apologies for possibly dumb question but when you say a 'ploughed site' is that a site that has just been ploughed or a site that has been ploughed in previous years. For example my Local Authority lets you detect public parks. I've seen pictures of the park some 40 years ago when it was a ploughed field. Would this therefore count as a ploughed site or not. I'm not looking for an excuse by saying 'most fields have been ploughed at some stage or another' as how am I to know if they have, however if you do know they had been ploughed I just wanted to know whether they counted as a ploughed site to which you were referring. Also does it make a difference if it was say ploughed 200 years ago as opposed to 5?
it is still possible to work out where finds came from after one or even 10 ploughing episodes in certain circumstance. if you dig a hole and you see 25-30cm of dark silty soil which is different from the underlying strata you can probably assume you are in a plough zone (there are exceptions). you should always record the depth of the find along with its location. on the rare occasions you dig through the plough soil to recover a find it would be helpful if you took a note of the type of soil, its colour and general makeup. if you recover a find and you can see or get a signal for another in the same hole, please ask an archaeologist before you remove it.
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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#17
Thanks P Prentice
Pondering responsible detecting at

http://theresponsibledetectorist.blogspot.co.uk/
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#18
Thanks... was getting most disconcerted that the question was missing. anyways! Another thing to investigate another time

And here we have another non straight answer to a straight question
Quote:what do we mean by ploughed and does it matter if it was ploughed 200 years ago as opposed to 5?

THere is no absolute to that as well as ther are many parameters to take into consideration.

So an area that has been rig and furrow ploughed may in fact mask archaeology beneath.. and will probably have made a mess of lithic scatters and the like though would still show that there was "stuff" there. However, depends if this was then not ploughed in ages. and is now grassed over pasture. Pasture can't be fieldwalked as you can't see what is on the ground. so is no good for fieldwalking. so when we talk about ploughed sites, it is usually a development area that is on active farmland.

Pasture land is usually stable and not under threat ( until of course it is developed)

There is a big difference between 200 year old ploughing and modern plough/ which is in part, part of the "issue" for thousands of years the plough was a horse drawn affair that reached a depth of c.30cm but now. the mega tractor is playing merry hell. and so in the past 50 years there is real damage. which is why "new" stuff is coming up on the surface.

SO it is very complicated What we mean is currently ploughed.
if it is pasture now. it is "safe" as it has not been ploughed by mega tractor.
If is is sod busted, potato ploughed. it is being badly eroded.
We can't walk pasture.
Metal detecting can help. but we would need non -discrim. and concentrations of activity highlighted.

oh .... and we do worry about topsoil
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#19
Thanks Bajr
Pondering responsible detecting at

http://theresponsibledetectorist.blogspot.co.uk/
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#20
Ta.. you see it is not a simple one size fits all answer. so can sound evasive. cheers
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