Finds Identification
Flint Identification and Knapping
Finds Illustration
 HLF funding enabled training by professionals for TARG members. Those members who have had such training are able to pass on their skills to new members, but formal training is also ongoing, both during activities, and as the need arises for specific skills.  Mercian Archaeology supervise some of our activities, providing on the job training in excavation, measuring and drawing techniques, finds identification etc.  
The training has meant that members are invited to take part in work with the National Trust and other organisations.

Excavation     'On the job’ training took place during the Ivy Leigh digs (our first ones) by professional archaeologists from Archaeological Project Services,
when we learned excavating techniques and recording and processing finds.
We continue to build on these skills as well as aquiring new ones e.g. drawing, measuring, leveling, ably assisted and guided by Mercian Archaeology.

Finds identification      During Calke Archaeology week some of us attended a Pottery Identification course where we learned to identify different types of pottery.  This included Roman and Anglo Saxon, but also the types found in Ticknall such as Midlands Purple, Midlands Yellow, earthenware types, and Cistercianware.
We also haveTARG members with skills and experience willing to pass on their knowledge to the rest of us.  

Flint Identification and Knapping
Particularly whilst Fieldwalking, we pick up pieces of flint.  The following is a member's account of a 'Flint Day' in Ticknall Village Hall:-

'I have always been fascinated by flint and was very excited to find possibly worked flints on my first field walks. However it soon became clear I needed a lot more information on flint working so the e-mail announcing a flint day was very welcome, with the invitation to "have a go" myself not to be missed.The day did not disappoint.

Bill, the flint knapper, quickly went over the science facts of how flint is produced in nature, how you spot worked pieces of flint and then described the angles needed between the hammer stone and the flint nodule to produce good flakes. He then produced a scraper from scratch in what seemed like a few minutes with no effort at all. A willing volunteer was found who did the same thing but with more effort and lots of help which left us all eager to try it ourselves. Bill seemed pleased with the enthusiasm shown and soon had us all chipping away. It took a while to get started but eventually with guidance my flint started to look worked. I also developed a healthy respect for the skill of our "primitive" ancestors.

After a good lunch we settled down for a talk about flint tools and how they have changed over the years in reaction to changes in diet. This was very informative as all the talks from APS have been. The talk was accompanied by a wonderful display of flint tools with some decorated pottery.

A very enjoyable day and one thing will always stay with me. When everyone was busy at work and not talking there was a lovely musical tapping to be heard. The wonderful sound of flint knappers at work.'

Finds Illustration     We had several days in Ticknall Village Hall with a professional illustrator from Archaeological Project Services where we learned the very precise formats, techniques and standards required for the illustration of archaeological  finds.  Following on from this we have monthly 'Pot Drawing' evenings at Ticknall Village Hall, where knowledge can be passed on to new TARG members, whilst producing illustrations for the TARG Reports.

Field Walking, July 2010   A large field, recently ploughed, 20 volunteers, eager to be trained and a fine sunny day, what more could anyone want? This was the set up for the first of our two fieldwalking training days. APS in the shape of Anne and Alex had come to instruct us into the mysterious art of fieldwalking. None of us had done anything like this before so we listened carefully to the instructions ... measure the field, divide it in half, then the half into quarters, measure out the rope with 10m flags on it, all walk up the field in a line with the rope, getting it straight – not easy, putting canes in when told. However strange it seemed we ended with the field marked out in a grid and were each allotted a lane with four stints in it, also four plastic bags for the finds. We were to look for anything man made – clay pipes, brick, flints (difficult to spot) and the ubiquitus Ticknall pot, everywhere, all over the field. We collected so much of the Ticknall pot that we quickly needed new bags!

Lunch was a very welcome burgers and sausages cooked by Sue Hallifield and we gratefully collapsed onto chairs in the garden and refreshed ourselves. After lunch we took our finds back to Ivy Leigh to wash and discovered that all those pieces of flint (the stone) that we had carefully collected were not what we wanted – flint (the stone), apart from just two small flakes and the tip of a Neolithic flint knife.

The second day we repeated the exercise on the rest of the field with another twenty keen volunteers and again washed the finds at Ivy Leigh, they soon dried in the hot sun and were bagged up again ready for recording at a later date. Our thanks to Anne Irving and Alex Beeby for all their help and patience with helping us.

We continue fieldwalking (weather and ground conditions permitting!), now supervised mainly by our own Sue Brown. We have picked up bags and bags of pot bits and occasionally flint, clay pipes and nails are the most common finds. Once the finds are washed they are dried and bagged up again for a recording evening. Once recorded the more interesting finds are kept, the rest go back to the farmer for hardcore.

Geophysics    Resistivity is a form of geophysical survey, where an electric current is induced in the ground and a mobile set of probes measures the variations in the resistance in the soil.  Soil resistance is affected by a number of factors such as buried features, water content and the underlying geology.  The variations of resistance are then plotted to show the likely positions of the archaeology.

At Peats Close Keith Foster, a professional geologist, instructed TARG members in resistivity surveying.  The field was laid out in four 20m squares and the team walked up and down in lines lm apart.  The resistance was recorded every meter.  Sophisticated software converted the results into patterns of resistance, and likely areas of interest could then be identified precisely on the ground.

Dowsing    We learned to dowse at Standleys Barn Meadow, by walking round a water trough, attempting to find the feed to it.  At least 50% of us found we could do it!

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