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Fieldwork

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SWAG allows members from amateurs to professionals to take part in practical fieldwork.

We undertake fieldwork independently and in association with other local organisations, such as WHEAS, the University of Worcester, the University of Birmingham, Worcestershire Young Archaeologists' Club etc and have taken part in Channel 4's Time Team.

SWAG is always interested to hear of new ideas for fieldwork - please contact us

Besides our main projects, SWAG has taken part in numerous fieldwork activities. Amongst them are

  • possible Anglo-Saxon boundary ditch in Wichenford
  • water meadows at Shelsley Walsh, believed to be the first meadows of their kind found in Worcestershire
  • archaeological excavations in the grounds of the Commandery in Worcester, a joint City Council/WHEAS project.
  • fieldwalk project at Broadway to assist in the training of members of the Worcestershire Young Archaeologists' Club (WYAC) in fieldwalking techniques. Using information obtained from aerial photographs, participants walked the main cropmark area accompanied by a metalwork specialist who was able to help identify metal finds. Amongst finds were post-mediaeval pot, clay tobacco pipes, a good collection of Roman Severn Valley ware, black burnished and grey ware, and sherds of Samian. Metal finds included a small mediaeval hammered coin, and the end of a bronze Roman brooch. Additionally, flints from the Mesolithic period were found, meaning the field is an important one, as there are only a few Mesolithic sites in Worcestershire. Owing to the large collection of finds - around 3,000 - , an Awards for All grant was obtained to enable specialist finds staff from the Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service to work with WYAC members to process, analyse and document the articles, culminating in an exhibition of the work in Broadway.
  • fieldwalk in support of a possible henge site near Bredon, in association with students from University College, Worcester
  • Throckmorton/Pershore airfield - in association with Channel 4's Time Team
  • survey of Bredon parish
  • survey at Westmancote (on the southern slope of Bredon Hill) - several house platforms, holloways and rickyards together with ridge and furrow on a site believed to be part of a mediaeval village belonging to the Beauchamp family (later the Earl of Warwick)
  • fieldwalk at Bretforton which produced a large quantity of finds covering a wide date range. Aerial photographs of a further site indicated interesting crop marks worthy of investigation.
  • fieldwalk with the Badsey Society where Roman pottery and coins had previously been found but not documented. the walk produced a great deal of Severn Valley ware, some Samian, flint, slag, glass, coins and possibly Iron Age pot. Items were displayed at the Badsey Fete, together with a finds washing demonstration.
  • Eldersfield round barrow
  • fieldwalk at Longdon Marsh, a large area of land purchased by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust with a view to returning it to its original wetland state. SWAG involvement included fieldwalking, and digging test pits supported by a variety of other techniques, including metal detecting, aerial photography and dowsing. Results indicated extensive Roman settlement at the end of the Marsh and the way in which field boundaries have developed in this part of Worcestershire.
  • water systems at Hanley Castle
  • Upton castle
  • fieldwalk on the mill at Leigh; ridge and furrow also found nearby.
  • Dripshill (Madresfield Estate) - investigations of a possible hill fort.
  • fieldwalks at Little Comberton and Great Comberton
  • opportunity for members to participate in the Worcestershire Farmstead Survey, documenting every farm in Worcestershire before identifying farms of greater interest/age to be then fully surveyed by recording each building individually and photographing the entire farmstead
  • earthwork survey of the moat at Hanley Hall
  • SWAG's earliest projects included Eastingham Hall (investigating the large timber-framed house with reported Saxon foundations), Tyre Hill, Old Welland and Castle Morton (fieldwalking, hedge dating, ridge and furrow, water courses etc.) and an old orchard opposite Horton Manor Farm where a kiln was revealed with layers of finds from the 15th/16th Century (see report by Derek Hurst in the Worcestershire Archaeological Transactions, 3rd Series Vol.14 1994).

Over time we have accumulated a large number of finds from our many fieldwalks and external funding has been obtained for the items to be analysed and catalogued locally. We also welcome volunteer effort for this task - if you are interested, please contact us.

We arrange regular displays of our fieldwalk finds.

In order to increase SWAG's fieldwork capability, we own a digital theodolite (thanks to a grant made by Awards for All) and a resistivity meter.

Members have been trained in geophysics, metal detecting, earthwork surveying, excavation techniques - including the tricky art of detecting the subtle changes of colour or inclusions in layers of alluvium to help discern where pits or ditches have been dug - and archiving excavation records.