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Advice when Contacting Landowners

 

Advice when Contacting Landowners

If this is the first time that you have approached a landowner for the purposes of archaeology, you are strongly advised to read Christopher Taylor’s comments here.

“However other contacts must be made before we begin work. The most important of these is to establish exactly who owns or leases the land over which the archaeologists must go. This is important for two reasons. First out of politeness and for the sake of both present and future workers in the area, the landowner’s and tenant’s permission must be obtained. It will help fieldwork a great deal if the areas of individual farms or properties can be fixed and perhaps put on maps so that the actual land ownership of all the region under examination can be ascertained.

Secondly farmers particularly often know their land better than archaeologists ever will. And they can give details of earthworks, stone scatters and finds which might otherwise never be noted. This is especially true of land which has once been ploughed and then returned to pasture. The details of old ditches, now filled in, hedges removed and water and other pipelines laid, can often help the field archaeologist to pinpoint sites or reject likely crop or soil marks. Even details of cultivation techniques used on particular fields are useful, for deep ploughing can produce soil marks and even ‘earthworks’ which last for years.”

(Taylor, C., (1974) “Fieldwork in Medieval Archaeology”, Batsford, p.21)

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