One question I get asked a lot is “how do you know where to detect?”.
It is a good question and there have been numerous books and papers and articles written on the science of research and investigation. The bottom line for me though is very simple…. I use my eyes.
With a trained eye on every walk you go on you can find evidence of our prehistoric, early historic, medieval and modern past. For example, I took my dog Daisy for a walk the other Saturday morning. In thirty minutes I had found a Neolithic flint scraper, three fragments of 3rd century Roman pottery, and countless fragments of 19th century pottery.
The signs of human habitation are literally scattered everywhere. I am sure everyone in the UK is familiar with the blue and white china associated with the infamous Willow Pattern design popular in the 18th thru the 19th and even the 20th century. Well, if you think about it, that covers all Monarchs from around 1780 right thru to Elizabeth II. To save you looking that up that includes everybody from George IIII thru William and Mary, it includes Victoria, a couple of Edwards and another George. Imagine the coinage and artefacts of the time, imagine the changes in society, industrial and agrarian revolutions….all leaving traces in the ground….indicated by blue and white pottery scatters in a field near you.
Going back stil further, what do you make of this?
It is an oyster shell. So…………Romans adored oysters! If you find one or two of these sitting on top of the plough soil, you are in luck, there might be at least a Romano-British settlement nearby or you have found evidence of RB agricultural practice (that is a polite way of saying manuring…I went to to University for three years to learn that).
The message is simple then, wherever you go, keep your eyes down and look for clues…then get permission from a farmer and away you go!