Surface Collection - Video
How do you find artifacts? Under the right conditions, they're literally sitting right there on the ground waiting for you. The plow mixes up the top 8 inches of soil each year and brings up more artifacts. A gentle rain can wash the soil off artifacts, and then they're visible, like you see in this video. Avocational archaeologists have helped professionals report many sites through surface collecting. There are some basic rules:
1) Get permission from the landowner to "walk" a field (and don't collect on public lands or on the river banks-that's illegal).
2) Walk systematically over the ground, scanning for artifacts.
3) Keep track of where the artifacts are found. Often that's on a higher piece of ground. Marking finds on a map printed from Google Earth is a great way to keep track.
4) If you find something, MVAC's Stewardship page has more info on keeping records and reporting your finds to an archaeologist.