What is an Open Field System?; Winchester 1873 Rifle; Troy.

What is an Open Field System?

Open field system were used in the Medieval period. They were areas of land within a Manor (that was owned by a Lord), and it was set aside for use by the local people for growing crops and keeping animals.

Plan of a Medieval Manor Public Domain
Plan of a Medieval Manor
Public Domain

The strips of land, which were located within large fields, were grouped into what was called ‘Furlongs’. They were unfenced and each tenant would have a number of them located at different areas throughout the manor.

Medieval Ridge and Furrow above Wood Stanway ©Phillip Halling.
Medieval Ridge and Furrow above Wood Stanway
©Phillip Halling.

Crops grown included legumes, oats, barley, wheat and rye, and these were planted on a crop rotation basis – resting certain furlongs from growing crops. When a furlong was rested, the tenant would graze animals on them. The animals owned by tenants included sheep, cattle, oxon, horses, pigs and poultry.

There is debate about the effectiveness of the open field system, but it served it purpose for the time in history it was used. Evidence of open field systems can be seen throughout Britain, as in the above photo, which shows the ridge and farrow used when turning the soil to plant crops.



Archaeology Wow!! – Winchester Model 1873 Rifle

In November 2014 archaeologists and volunteers were searching for evidence of Native Americans in the Great Basin National Park, Nevada, USA. What they discovered was something quite unusual!

Winchester Model 1873 as it was found ©www.washingtontimes.com
Winchester Model 1873 as it was found

Spotted and identified by an archaeologist, the rifle was seen propped up against a tree. The archaeologist was able to spot it due to his keen eyesight and training in looking for things that others might not recognize.

The rifle was found in a remote area of the park that had very few visitors, and that previously, at the time of the rifle, had been used for cattle, mining and hunting. What is fascinating about this is why was the rifle left there, when they were the gun of its time and also known as ‘the gun that won the West’.

Winchester Model 1873 ©popular-archaeology.com
Winchester Model 1873

The Winchester Model 1873 repeating rifle was manufactured between 1873-1916, when a total of 720,610 were made. Each rifle had a serial number, and by looking up the number found on the gun, archaeologists have determined the date it was made – 1882 – however, there is no record as to who bought it and where.

Conservators are working on the rifle to ensure it is kept in a good condition and will be available soon for the public to see.

What an amazing and unusual find this was. Just goes to show you need to keep your eyes open and be alert at all times when out in the wilderness as you never know what you may stumble upon!




Archaeological Site Guide – Troy

Troy is a city wrapped in myth and legend, and is possibly the most widely known of all the ancient Greek sites that features in the Greek Classics – The Iliad and The Odyssey. Most people will relate to it for stories about the Trojan Wars and its most famous resident, Helen of Troy – but are these myths and fables correct?

Apollo and Poseidon Punishing Troy Public Domain
Apollo and Poseidon Punishing Troy
Public Domain

Troy is located in the ancient area of Anatolia, Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey.  It was of strategic importance as it guarded the maritime trade routes between the Mediterranean and the Aegean and Black Seas.

The city is beleived to date back to the third millennium BC, in the Bronze Age, when it controlled the area of the Dardanelles and adjoining shipping channels. The Trojan War is placed at the site at around 3,000 BC. Alexander the Great visited the city in 334 BC and made several sacrifices to Gods at some of the tombs he found there, and the city was eventually abandoned in AD 500.

Troy (Ilion) © Carole Raddato
Troy (Ilion)
© Carole Raddato

There are several archaeological stages in the rebuilding of the city over time and these are represented in the summery below

  • Troy I 3000–2600 BC (Western Anatolian EB 1)
  • Troy II 2600–2250 BC (Western Anatolian EB 2)
  • Troy III 2250–2100 BC (Western Anatolian EB 3 [early])
  • Troy IV 2100–1950 BC (Western Anatolian EB 3 [middle])
  • Troy V: 20th–18th centuries BC (Western Anatolian EB 3 [late])
  • Troy VI: 17th–15th centuries BC
  • Troy VIh: late Bronze Age, 14th century BC
  • Troy VIIa: c. 1300–1190 BC, most likely setting for Homer’s story
  • Troy VIIb1: 12th century BC
  • Troy VIIb2: 11th century BC
  • Troy VIIb3: until c. 950 BC
  • Troy VIII: c. 700–85 BC
  • Troy IX: 85 BC–c. AD 500.

(Wood 1985)

Map of Troy ©Ancient Wisdom
Map of Troy
©Ancient Wisdom

The archaeological explorations of the site began in 1865 when British archaeologist Frank Calvert undertook some trial excavations. However, proper excavations did not happen until 1868. Here is an outline of the work carried out so far,

  • 1865                     Trial excavation by British archaeologist Frank Calvert
  • 1868                     Excavated by German archaeologist Heinrich                                                 Schliemann
  • 1871-1873            Excavated by Heinrich Schliemann
  • 1893-1984           Excavated by Wilhelm Dörpfeld
  • 1932-1938           Excavated by Carl Blegan
  • 1988                     Excavated by Professor Manfred Korfmann and                                             Professor Brian Rose,  University of Tübingen
  • 1993                     Surveyed and excavated by Professor Manfred                                               Korfmann
  • 2006                    Excavated by Ernst Pernicka
  • 2013                    An international team was assembled to undertake                                      excavations but their permit was cancelled at the last                                  minute so no excavations took place
  • 2014                    Excavated by Çanakkale Oneskiz Mart University.

In 1995 a Luwwain biconvex seal was discovered at the site of Troy III and it has sparked debates as to the language of the city at the time.

Troy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered to be one of the major archaeological sites in the world due to its legendary status amongst the Classics. Well worth a visit and definitely on my bucket list!!

Walls of Troy Public Domain
Walls of Troy
Public Domain



  •  Allen. S. H. 1999. Finding the Walls of Troy: Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann at Hisarlik. California: University of California Press.
  • Rubalcaba, J., & Cline. E. H. 2011. Digging for Troy: From Homer to Hisarlik. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing.
  • Schliemann. H. 2010. Troy and Its Remains: A Narrative of Researches and Discoveries Made on the Site of Ilium, and in the Trojan Plain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Wood. M. 1985. In Search of the Trojan War. London: BBC Books.
  • Apollo and Poseidon Punishing Troy – Paolo Fiammingo – Apollo and Poseidon Punishing Troy – WGA07877″ by Pauwels Franck (circa 1540–1596) – Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paolo_Fiammingo_-_Apollo_and_Poseidon_Punishing_Troy_-_WGA07877.jpg#/media/File:Paolo_Fiammingo_-_Apollo_and_Poseidon_Punishing_Troy_-_WGA07877.jpg.
  • Walls of Troy – “Troja 2809141353” by Atriplex82 – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Troja_2809141353.jpg#/media/File:Troja_2809141353.jpg.
  • Troy (Ilion) – , Turkey (7446572740)” by Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany – Troy (Ilion), TurkeyUploaded by Marcus Cyron. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Troy_(Ilion),_Turkey_(7446572740).jpg#/media/File:Troy_(Ilion),_Turkey_(7446572740).jpg


Great Books to Read…….




Great Web Pages to Look At…….


Activity – word-search-20 March-2015-docx

One Comment on “What is an Open Field System?; Winchester 1873 Rifle; Troy.

  1. Pingback: What is Ridge and Furrow? – Roman Eagle Statue, London – Cuello Archaeological Site, Belize | The Young Archaeologist

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