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US News Technology uncovers hundreds of ancient sites on Scottish island

08:00  10 october  2019
08:00  10 october  2019 Source:   msn.com

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a view of a mountain: Aerial view of Arran taken by the Historic Environment Scotland project team (HES/PA) © Provided by The Press Association Aerial view of Arran taken by the Historic Environment Scotland project team (HES/PA)

Airborne laser scanning has revealed around 1,000 previously unknown archaeological sites on a Scottish island.

The survey of Arran – which recorded the surface of the island in 3D – is the largest of its type so far in Scotland and has detected the remains of ancient monuments which researchers said may otherwise never have been found.

a close up of a rock: The scans showed the remains of medieval shepherds’ huts in the remote Glen Iorsa (HES/PA) © Provided by The Press Association The scans showed the remains of medieval shepherds’ huts in the remote Glen Iorsa (HES/PA)

Among the new sites discovered is a Neolithic cursus monument, prehistoric settlements and medieval farmsteads.

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Archaeologists at Historic Environment Scotland (HES) carried out the project using airborne laser scanning, also known as lidar.

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Dave Cowley, HES rapid archaeological mapping manager, said: “This survey has shown us that there are double the number of ancient monuments on Arran than we previously knew about.

“This new 3D technology has allowed us to undertake a rapid archaeological survey, over weeks rather than months or years, and allowed us to discover sites that might even have been impossible to find otherwise.”

a close up of a rock: The imprint of a round house near Dougarie on the island’s west coast (HES/PA) © Provided by The Press Association The imprint of a round house near Dougarie on the island’s west coast (HES/PA)

Mr Cowley added: “We have been able to see how densely settled parts of Arran were, and the medieval and post-medieval shieling sites that were discovered have told us how upland areas were used by shepherds.”

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He said the Arran project is “just a first step”, adding: “As this technology become more widely available, we expect to find tens of thousands more ancient sites across the rest of Scotland – working at a pace that was unimaginable a few years ago.”

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