Lligwy

Digital Archaeology from the Air

Hi, I’m Helen. I’m actually a computer scientist rather than an archaeologist, working on a project called `HeritageTogether’, which is all about creating 3D models of prehistoric sites in Wales. The project is run jointly between archaeologists and computer scientists at Bangor, Aberystwyth and Manchester Metropolitan Universities – I work as a researcher in Aber.

We are making the models using photographs of the site and a process called photogrammetry which matches up the features in photographs and can automatically create the model. While the project is mainly based on photographs contributed by the general public, we sometimes go out to survey some sites ourselves.

To help with our surveying, we have an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) – a remotely controlled flying vehicle that carries a camera; a hexacopter (it has six rotors) to be specific.

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Today we were visiting two sites on Anglesey in North Wales – the Lligwy burial chamber and Din Lligwy settlement near Moelfre.

Lligwy burial chamber was the first site we visited. It is a Neolithic tomb made up of eight upright stones supporting a huge capstone which is estimated to weigh at least 25 tonnes.

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We flew the hexacopter above the burial chamber, getting a number of photos of the top of the capstone. Once we had done some aerial photography, we landed and photographed the site on foot.

After we had finished photographing the burial chamber we went a little further down the road to reach the Din Lligwy settlement. The settlement is a group of circular and rectangular building from the Romano-British period, enclosed in a large outer wall. We flew above the site, first taking photographs then also capturing a video, which you’ll be able to see on our website soon!

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The models will take a short while to process, but we will have them up in our gallery for you to have a look at soon. Thanks for reading!

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