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Tony Grist

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More Archaeology [Mar. 30th, 2017|10:48 am]
Tony Grist
One thing the detectorists couldn't settle was the nature of the circular features that show up all over our land- some of them visible on the ground, others only on aerial photographs. All we've learned is that there's no metal in them. Still curiosity has been roused and the detectorists have contacts with people with academic qualifications who may be persuaded to take an interest...

Here's something I learned yesterday:

It was common in the past for farmers to buy up old clothes by the cartload and plough them into their land as fertiliser. Inevitably quite a few of the garments still had buttons attached- which is why detectorists find so many.

And of course some of the old clothes would have had things in their pockets- like coins. It occurs to me that our two musket balls might have reached us in the deep pockets of a discarded military greatcoat.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: tagryn
2017-03-31 01:20 am (UTC)
Using clothes as fertilizer surprised me, but I guess it makes sense: clothes then would have had very high "natural" content (wool, cotton, etc.) so putting it back into the soil would just be using the source material in much the same way as other organic material. Modern clothing, with synthetics like polyester put in, probably wouldn't be usable in the same way.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-03-31 09:15 am (UTC)
You're right. Clothes made of natural fibres would break down quickly. It probably helped that the soil round here is quite acidic.
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[User Picture]From: faunhaert
2017-03-31 06:01 am (UTC)
clothes weren't needed for paper making any more
but I think it would be important to take the buttons off first
depending on the time period they might have been
afraid of the clothes -not knowing who they came from.
I mostly find rocks. its my best crop.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-03-31 09:18 am (UTC)
Buttons would have been reusable so I imagine they'd have mostly removed them but- being human and fallible- they'd have let some slip through the net.

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