On the high ground, pasture is sometimes ploughed for reseeding, providing an opportunity for the archaeologist to see what artefacts are lying in the soil.  Artefacts of one period lying close together may indicate a new archaeological site; the 18th - 19th century pottery we often find scattered over the fields was probably thrown on the midden with other rubbish and spread with the manure. As assemblages are accumulated and assessed it may become easier to date them from the relative abundance of various pottery types, and to create a typography of local utilitarian pottery. Of particlar interest are flint flakes and tools, which may be the only available evidence of prehistoric occupation in some parishes.


Fields Walked in 2010

2011 Season

Low Houses

Date: 17 May 2011

Location: N 54.948660 W 2.656910 (NY580618)

Altitude: 150m

Notes: The soil was variable in texture, with clayey, peaty, and wet areas. A few fragments of earthenware field drain were seen. The area is illustrated on the William Howard map of 1603 and buildings are shown close to the field.

Finds: Relatively scarce, only 26 pottery sherds, one piece of blue bottle glass and a large blue glass bead being found. Nearly all the sherds were of heavy utility ware, with a red fabric and white/cream glaze on the inner surface. Only one piece of heavy black ware was found, with 5 pieces of blue-patterned and 5 of fine white domestic ware.  The glass bead has been identified as Roman and is illustrated here.

Lees Hill

Date: 17 May 2011

Location: N 55.00518 W 2.701020 (NY55166854)

Altitude: 115m

Notes: The soil was mostly sandy in texture, with rounded pebbles outcropping along a ridge at the north end, and a wet area in the south corner. A few fragments of earthenware field drain were seen. The area is illustrated on the William Howard map of 1603 and buildings are shown close to the field.

Finds: Abundant, over 200 items being collected, including clay pipe fragments, utilitarian and domestic pottery, glass and iron items. The pottery contains some 18th century material but Heather Coleman has assessed the clay pipes as falling into two groups: 1660-1730 and 1780-1820.  This is an interesting result as it suggests that it may be possible to identify periods of cultivation from field walking collections.  The possibility that the field may, for instance, have been brought into production during the Napoleonic period makes sense in terms of rising prices and demand for food.


Date: 28 May 2011

Location: N 54.964133 W 2.364133 (NY76796336) "Gallow Hills"

Altitude: 130-150m

Notes: The soil was sandy, with numerous sub-rounded pebbles. A few fragments of earthenware field drain were seen. The field is on sloping ground on the side of the Tyne valley, leveling off towards the south end onto the top of a ridge between the Tyne and Willimoteswick Burn.

Finds: Scarce: 22 items of C18/19 utilitarian and domestic pottery and glass and two flint flakes. Our specialist report suggests that these are man-made flakes, but it isn't possible to assign them to any particular period.


Date: 28 May 2011

Location: N 54.97243 W 2.51574 (NY67086432)

Altitude: 120m

Notes: The soil is a heavy loam, with a large drain running through it and numerous fragments of earthenware field drain. The field is a haugh on the bank of the Tipalt Burn, following the gentle dip of the burn.

Finds: Abundant: over 200 items of utilitarian and domestic pottery and glass, mostly Victorian, and 23 pieces of clay pipe of similar age including a stem marked "Pringle Carlisle", a company known to have been operating during the second half of the 19th century.  Most of the finds were close to a house known to have been railwaymen's cottages built in the 1840s.

Kiln Hill

Date: 6 June 2011

Location: N 54.99585 W 2.60652 (NY61296697)

Altitude: 150m

Notes: A small field of light, silty soil. There were two burnt areas where the soil had been reddened.  The ploughing had apparently been shallow.

Finds: A few scraps of Victorian pottery, surprising considering the proximity of the field to the farm house.

Wall End

Date: 12 July 2011

Location: N 54.98850 W 2.54107 (NY65476612)

Altitude: 140m

Notes: A small field of about 4 acres with light sandy soil and numerous small rounded pebbles. There is a wet area at the north end.  Only one fragment of drainage pipe was seen, but the ploughing had been shallow due to the field's proximity to the Wall.

Finds: A large, typical Victorian pottery assemblage with a preponderance of utilitarian earthenware and white-ware with numerous clay pipe fragments. Two teapot spouts were found, which appear to have been prepared in the same way as if for some purpose.



Date: 30 August 2011

Location: N 54.97281 W 2.38908 (NY 75196431)

Altitude: 150m

Notes: A field similar to that at Willimoteswick in that is on the upper valley side, but north facing.

Finds: 155 pieces of 19th century pottery and 85 pieces of glass, distributed all over the field. The average size of these pieces (4.7g) was the lowest of any of our field walking collections and may reflect a higher frequency of ploughing. Also, five flints, two tools and two, possibly three, flakes. Only three 19th century clay pipe fragments.



Date: 8 September 2011

Location: N 54.94428 W 2.65381 (NY58226126)

Altitude: 190m

Notes: The field, of 3.2Ha, is flanked by limestone outcrops and has accommodates two footpaths. The two nearby farms, Longhirst and Carnetly, appear on the 1603 Gilsland Barony map.

Finds: 686 sherds of 18th & 19th century pottery, with a substantial proportion of unusual sherds. Also, 38 clay pipe fragments, some of which appear to 17th century and one flint flake.