Maps as indispensable tools (4/15)
As said earlier maps are of fundamental importance to the historian and the treasure hunter alike.
When I am sure that I will search an area thoroughly I need a large scale map. It helps me to know where I am and to mark find spots. The area in question is some 400 x 500 m / 440 x 550 yards in size. The forest and the many hills make it difficult to survey. Usually I search areas where you cannot see beyond 50 m / 55 yards.
1:25000 is the largest scale available for topographical maps in my country. This scale is far to little for relic hunters purposes. I prefer a scale of 1:1000 to 1:2000. Also, since maps are protected by copyright I have to rely on my own maps in this account.
The next picture shows the surface relief of skull hill as shades of grey. The brighter the color the higher the spot. Skull hill comprises a peak in the south east and a double peak in the north west.
To that map I added details such as ways (black line), abandoned ways (dashed black line), forest border (green line), the searched area (purple line) and symbols for houses, dead trees, huts, and seats. The result looked liked this. This map will be the base for the find charts presented in the following.
Ways appear in a zig zag shape because I surveyed them with compass and steps. This low tech method was surprisingly accurate. While I think GPS is a great tool I consider the compass – step method superior under special circumstances such as hilly, very small regions under heavy forest canopy with a big find density.
A word of caution. All maps, including the official ones, contain small errors. Usually they are so small that it does not matter for the average user like hikers or bikers. Hobby archaeologists who need to draw high precision maps need to be aware of this, though.
(C) Thorsten Straub www.metal-detecting.de 2006-2011.