2003 Fieldwalking on Hadleigh Salvation Army Fields
(This report first appeared on the AGES AHA website at www.ages-aha.co.uk)
In 1939, aerial photographs showed unusual crop markings in a Salvation Army field in Hadleigh. This is presently listed as a Roman Fortlet, however some professional archaeologists have speculated that this might be an Iron Age settlement.
The site is in a field where historic records show that there have been Tudor and Edwardian buildings, a Victorian brickworks, World War II gun emplacements and accommodation. Farm labourers over the years have ploughed up Roman and Chinese artefacts that have been identified by reputable museums. More recently, a park ranger discovered a flint hand axe whilst out walking. Some years ago, parts of the field were sold off for housing development and, before building began, Essex County Archaeology unit found an Iron Age ditch with related finds.
On August Bank Holiday in 2003, for the first time ever, the Salvation Army allowed AGES AHA to do a field walk. All the people that took part had fun but more importantly learnt the techniques of field walking including how to set up a “grid” and align it to map coordinates, following the prescribed requirements of the County Archaeology unit.
Regrettably, the weather whilst good and sunny worked against us. The preceding weeks had been dry with little rain. Thus, on arrival at the field site, the farmer had not been able to newly plough the field (the ground was too hard). We had to work with corn stubble and residue of powder/fertilizer and granite like earth. The completed report for 2003 did not reveal any evidence of what we had hoped to find but we covered less that 15% of the whole field.
AGES Archaeological & Historical Association 2003
A reference to the fieldwalking can also be found via the Essex Historic Environment Register as “PROJECT HADLEIGH” – “Fieldwalking survey recovered two main types of artefact: locally produced red brick/tile and pottery dating from the 18th-19th centuries”.
(Spracklen J W/2003/Project Hadleigh Fieldwalking Report (full report)).