Field walking at Blashford, Ringwood, 27 Nov 2011

Today, a group of AVAS members gathered at Mark’s farm at Blashford near Ringwood for a day of field walking.  We were blessed with a glorious November day, warm and sunny, as we marched out to the first field.  Steve took charge of setting out the ranging poles and showing us a selection of flints we might be lucky enough to find on the field.
Field walking 27 Nov 2011:  Steve calls for order
We all took our places on the starting grid, and Steve allocated us a ranging pole to aim for.  We then moved slowly up the field, our eyes peeled for flint, pottery or any other finds.  Almost immediately there were rumours that a couple of nice flint tools had been found near the corner of the field, and this made the others in the line more determined to spot something of interest.
Field walking 27 Nov 2011
After a productive first third of the field, with worked flint and lots of burnt flint, finds dropped off a little before picking up at the end of the field.  We eagerly waited for Steve to expertly sift through our finds.  When he came to my bag, I was at first disheartened when he immediately discarded a number of ‘natural’ flints, but then he spotted a nice end scraper, probably Neolithic, and a thumb scraper, possibly Bronze Age.
Field walking 27 Nov 2011
It turned out that everyone had found some examples of worked flint, and there were some nice tools.  However, it was on the way back down the field that Rachel spotted an outstanding Palaeolithic hand axe, which even made Steve a little jealous.  This is shown in the photo below, and more images are available on the AVAS Flickr site (just click the photo to go to Flickr).
Field walking 27 Nov 2011
Although not complete, this is a great find, and amazing to think that we were the first people to touch it for a few hundred thousand years.  Rachel is shown below with the axe.
Field walking 27 Nov 2011: Palaeolithic hand axe
After well deserved refreshments, we moved on to another small field.  Despite our best efforts, very little was recovered from this field, despite there being evidence of house plots in the vicinity of this field.  However, Jan was very pleased to spot the second Palaeolithic find of the day, in this case a flake, shown below.
Field walking 27 Nov 2011

The photo below shows a group of the best finds from the first field.
Field walking 27 Nov 2011
Suffice to say we all thoroughly enjoyed such a successful day.  Many thanks to Mark for ploughing the fields in the first place and welcoming us all onto his farm, and thanks to Steve for giving us the benefit of his considerable experience in identifying worked flint.  Let’s hope we have more opportunities to do field walking in the Avon Valley in the near future.  For more photos, click on any of the photos above, or use this link to go to the AVAS Flickr site.

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