What is LIDAR?

…and why are we using it?

Image copyright of Bradford on Avon Museum. LIDAR image and data kindly supplied by the Environment Agency, who are conducting the LIDAR survey for the Ancient Landscapes project.

LIDAR is still a fairly new surveying technique in the field of archaeology, but it was chosen for the Ancient Landscapes project because a large part of the 12 sq km are is  woodland.  However, although LIDAR has a better success rate in woodland than other surveying techniques, light (as the name suggests) is fundamental to achieving good results.

For the Ancient Landscapes project we decided to have the LIDAR survey conducted in winter when the trees are leafless and field crops are low or not yet sown.

The intervals at which the laser beams are transmitted also makes a difference to the detail of the results.  We opted for intervals of 50cm over the entire 12 sq km area to try to ensure that we get the best results possible.

Our LIDAR flight was carried out on Friday 11th January – a crisp, clear day with good visibility.  The results of the LIDAR survey will take some time to process, although we do have some early data back already.  This will be posted on the blog soon, so please do keep checking back.

To find out more about the Ancient Landscapes project, read our Introduction To The Project.

Find out more about LIDAR and its application in sites of archaeological interest at English Heritage’s website: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications/light-fantastic

Geomatics Group, part of the Environment Agency are undertaking the LIDAR survey for the Ancient Landscapes project.  Find out more about them here: https://www.geomatics-group.co.uk/GeoCMS/Applications/Archaeology.aspx

Get involved!

There are many ways to get involved with the project: looking at aerial photographs, field walking, helping to plot the findings on maps, to name but a few.  For those interested in helping with the project, we will also be running training sessions on reading aerial photographs, identifying earthworks, and other skills.

If you are interested in getting involved with this exciting project, please contact Roy Canham on 01225 866748 or at roycanham@btinternet.com.

If you aren’t able to help, but you want to keep up to date, then please follow our blog.  We’ll be holding public talks and other events later in the year, so look out for announcements here.

     < Back to the previous page