CBA Occasional Papers

Council for British Archaeology, 2000 (updated 2013)

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Field survey in British archaeology. Papers given at a CBA conference, 1971.

Elizabeth Fowler (Editor)

CBA Occasional Papers No. 3 (1972)


Title page of report 3

The Council for British Archaeology organised a three-day conference on Field Survey and Archaeology in September 1971 at Southampton University. The purpose of the conference was to re-emphasize the importance, in both the long and short term, of non-excavational archaeological fieldwork. The papers given have been collected here, re-arranged, and in some cases heavily edited. They reflect some past and present attitudes to the organisation of fieldwork, and provide some examples of results, local applications and interpretations. In making the papers, and in particular their illustrations, more widely available, however, we are not claiming that the resultant volume is in any way comprehensive, though we hope it is representative of current views and practice.

Both the first and last papers intentionally lay stress on the urgency demanded by a situation in which the raw material of field archaeology is literally disappearing for ever. There is a crisis of destruction in both towns (documented in The Erosion of History, CBA, 1972) and countryside, and it was clear during and after the Conference that fieldwork in advance of destruction is one, if not the only, way of rescuing cultural evidence. The need for active field survey teams and for the type of work which such teams, full- and part-time, can do is illustrated by a number of the contributions, not least the Appendix tersely summarising the vital role played by the State in archaeological fieldwork. The conference emphasized, and most of the papers demonstrate, the totality of fieldwork. It consists of more than the study of one period, the collection of data, the compilation of card indices and the construction of distribution maps: ultimately its purpose is the recon-struction and interpretation of evolving landscapes, settlement patterns, and populations.


  • Prelims (pp 3-5)
  • Introduction: Why field survey? A C Thomas (pp 6-9)
  • Section 1 Organisation and methods
    • The individual fieldworker L V Grinsell (pp 10-13)
    • A County Society: the Cornwall checklists Peter Sheppard (pp 13-16)
    • A Museum: Oxfordshire Don Benson (pp 16-21)
    • A University Department of Archaeology Barry Cunliffe (pp 22-23)
    • A University: Department of Adult Education: Northumbria George Jobey (pp 23-25)
  • Section 2 Analysis and interpretation
    • Flint collecting and the distribution of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic sites J J Wymer (pp 26-28)
    • Field archaeology on the M5 motorway 1969-71: some provisional results, analyses and implications PJ Fowler (pp 28-38)
    • Air photography: some implications in the south of England H C Bowen (pp 38-49)
    • Maps, Documents and Fieldwork C C Taylor (pp 50-59)
    • The demographic implications of fieldwork R J C Atkinson (pp 60-66)
  • Conclusion: Aspects of field archaeology - a summary with suggestions P J Fowler (pp 66-68)
  • Appendix: The Government organization of field archaeology in Britain A H A Hogg (pp 68-71)
  • Bibliography (pp 72-74)
  • Index (pp 75-76)

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Field survey in British archaeology. Papers given at a CBA conference, 1971. (CBA Occassional Papers 3) PDF 5 Mb

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