Artifact Hunting

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Artifact Hunting

Post by grendel on Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:05 am

An interesting vid on finding artefacts with some good advice. He goes to an area with no natural flint, so he knows any flint there has been brought in by humans.


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Re: Artifact Hunting

Post by Dorset Andy on Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:46 pm

That's exactly how I discovered a flint-knapping site over on the Purbeck Hills, here in Dorset. No natural flint, and yet there is a field over there with masses of flint debitage everywhere. If you spend a few minutes looking, you soon start to find all sorts of scrapers, burins, points etc.

I checked it out on Google Earth too, but couldn't see anything.



Cheers

Andy

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Re: Artifact Hunting

Post by grendel on Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:48 pm

So you're an artifact hunter?

Not being one myself but interesting in trying it, living in an area made of flint, it's everywhere on the ground, got any tips?

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Re: Artifact Hunting

Post by Dorset Andy on Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:21 am

Hi Grendel

I've been collecting artefacts for 10 or so years. My job involves digging holes all over the country and its amazing what you can find if you look! For you, a good 'hotspot' is the Thames foreshore, particularly at low tide. The Thames cuts through several terraces of Pleistocene gravels and older, Achulean axes are apparently quite frequent, as well as the famous 'Thames Pick'. Other than that, freshly-ploughed fields are good too. It would be worth checking the map for any local archaeological sites, such as hill forts (there are hundreds dotted about everywhere) and walking the fields local to them. Last weekend, I took the dog for a walk along the beach-front at Hengistbury Head, just along the coast from Bournemouth. Having been there several times before, I knew where to look, and within the hour, searching an 800-metre low cliff-face, I found nine worked flints, including cores, flakes and blades. I also found several pieces of neolithic pottery. From this one site alone, I have found around fifty flints over two years. I discovered the site on the Purbecks several years ago, and have been there just twice.....Last year I found two beautiful thumbnail scrapers, almost identicle to each other, which had clearly been worked from the same piece of flint. I feel another visit is due, I wonder if that field has been ploughed yet?? It is a shame that Google Earth doesn't offer a live-view option!

Last year, while walking the dog on the local golf course, here in Bournemouth, I saw they had re-dug the drainage ditches. Now around three feet deep, they exposed the top layer of Pleistocene sub-angular flint gravels, and I thought I would keep my eyes peeled. Not 10 minutes later I saw a beautiful, leaf-shaped, six inch, chert, bi-face axe, lying there amongst the stones and sand (it looks very similar to the axe nearest the camera in the photo to the right of Phil Harding, at the top of this page) This was my first ever Achulean hand axe, and I was so excited with it, I took it over to Australia to show my Dad. While I was there, I showed it to a farmer friend of his, who then showed me a whole cache of hand axes he had ploughed up on his sugar cane farm. He offered to swap one of his axes (my choice of 9 axes) for my English axe. Being my first truly ancient find, I was a little reluctant, but in the end I figured this was probably my one chance of owning a 30 000 year-old Aboriginal greenstone ground axe, so I did, and chose the best one there!!!



Anyway, there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of worked flints to be found all over our green and pleasant land

Happy hunting



Andy


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Re: Artifact Hunting

Post by grendel on Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:52 pm

I live near the Thames and walk the foreshore quite often, mostly looking for flint pebbles to knap. Most times I find some kind of artefact, last time a flint which had had an arrowhead flake taken off it, similar to the first pic in the logo. The best find I made is a pebble chopping tool.

Also we have a hillfort just down the road in a park, the hillfort's on a flint hill, beside it a chalk quarry, so flint is everywhere, looking for flint artefacts is like looking for a specific needle in a needlestack.

I did a bit of research on the area I did a few weeks ago and turned up some quite interesting stuff. Nowadays it's inner London so pretty concreted over, but pretty interesting what's under.


This is an early 18th century panorama of the area, the building at the bottom of the screen is the dockyard dating back to Roman times. In front is a chalk canyon which used to be a quarry and is now a railway station.

On the far right of the pic are the chalk hills where I know live, mostly gone.



The chalk hills on the far right were quarried for 400 years. Picture of them a 100 or so years ago.



The remains of one of the hills after the quarry closed, this was dug, round houses found at the top, and was an Iron Age hillfort.



Last edited by Grendel on Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:27 pm; edited 1 time in total

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I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. cats look down on us but pigs treat us as equals.

Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

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Re: Artifact Hunting

Post by grendel on Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:12 pm

Dorset Andy wrote:Hi Grendel

I've been collecting artefacts for 10 or so years. My job involves digging holes all over the country and its amazing what you can find if you look! For you, a good 'hotspot' is the Thames foreshore, particularly at low tide. The Thames cuts through several terraces of Pleistocene gravels and older, Achulean axes are apparently quite frequent, as well as the famous 'Thames Pick'. Other than that, freshly-ploughed fields are good too. It would be worth checking the map for any local archaeological sites, such as hill forts (there are hundreds dotted about everywhere) and walking the fields local to them. Last weekend, I took the dog for a walk along the beach-front at Hengistbury Head, just along the coast from Bournemouth. Having been there several times before, I knew where to look, and within the hour, searching an 800-metre low cliff-face, I found nine worked flints, including cores, flakes and blades. I also found several pieces of neolithic pottery. From this one site alone, I have found around fifty flints over two years. I discovered the site on the Purbecks several years ago, and have been there just twice.....Last year I found two beautiful thumbnail scrapers, almost identicle to each other, which had clearly been worked from the same piece of flint. I feel another visit is due, I wonder if that field has been ploughed yet?? It is a shame that Google Earth doesn't offer a live-view option!

Last year, while walking the dog on the local golf course, here in Bournemouth, I saw they had re-dug the drainage ditches. Now around three feet deep, they exposed the top layer of Pleistocene sub-angular flint gravels, and I thought I would keep my eyes peeled. Not 10 minutes later I saw a beautiful, leaf-shaped, six inch, chert, bi-face axe, lying there amongst the stones and sand (it looks very similar to the axe nearest the camera in the photo to the right of Phil Harding, at the top of this page) This was my first ever Achulean hand axe, and I was so excited with it, I took it over to Australia to show my Dad. While I was there, I showed it to a farmer friend of his, who then showed me a whole cache of hand axes he had ploughed up on his sugar cane farm. He offered to swap one of his axes (my choice of 9 axes) for my English axe. Being my first truly ancient find, I was a little reluctant, but in the end I figured this was probably my one chance of owning a 30 000 year-old Aboriginal greenstone ground axe, so I did, and chose the best one there!!!



Anyway, there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of worked flints to be found all over our green and pleasant land

Happy hunting



Andy



Some good advice there, particularly check out for local council works, where they'll be digging the roads. I guess gas and water pipe companies would be a good group of people to follow around. I hope you kept decent pics of the hand axe.

- - - - - -
I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. cats look down on us but pigs treat us as equals.

Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

grendel
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Re: Artifact Hunting

Post by Dorset Andy on Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:22 pm

Hi Grendel

What an interesting London history lesson! I never knew that there were any hill forts in the city - but I suppose it is not that surprising.

One thing I forgot to mention is that most flint tools you will find are not that aesthetically pleasing, and were purely functional in use. Nowadays, modern knappers strive for perfection and beauty.



Cheers



Andy

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Re: Artifact Hunting

Post by grendel on Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:25 pm

There's supposed to be remnants of around half a dozen hill forts in London and tales of stone circles. My local one is the best preserved. This is a 1946 photo, the fort is centre pic, it's pretty much the same today but heavily wooded. It was continued to be used by the Romans, was part of the defences of London in the Dutch Wars of the 17th Century when the Dutch fleet raided up the Thames and the home guard dug trenches on it in WWII. That latter point is quite pleasing as it places an iron age hill fort in modern use.

Another good source for local history is road names. One of the roads on a neighbouring hill has the name beacon, and actually had a medieval beacon there. There also two roads on another hill that carry prehistoric fortification names, there a few maps dating back to the 17th century I've found and one painting of the area the roads are but no fortifications, so no luck so far.

So far there has been very little research done on what lies under any major city in this country, most knowledge comes from recovery operations when buildings are constructed but practically no active research.


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I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. cats look down on us but pigs treat us as equals.

Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

grendel
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