LiDAR survey uncovers Skokholm island settlements

LiDAR survey uncovers Skokholm island settlements

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UK: The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales said a new laser survey from the air uncovered new clues to the history of a Pembrokeshire island. LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technique was used to draw a detailed model of the island”s surface.

Dr Oliver Davis from the research team said is showed detail not visible on the ground or even from normal aerial photography.

“The laser scans can identify features that vegetation might hide, as little as a few centimetres high,” he said, adding, “It has shown us unprecedented detail.”

The new discoveries include the remains of enclosures and fields underlying the field pattern of the island”s 19th Century farm.

Some of the discoveries show similar but less complex activity to that on the neighbouring island of Skomer.

“There are at least three phases of occupation – we have known about prehistoric settlement because of scattered flints,” said Dr Davis.

“But we can now see later Iron Age developments and also medieval earthworks near the 19th Century farm buildings.

“It”s almost certainly a deserted medieval settlement, probably around the 15th Century.

“It”s not as complex as Skomer – it might not have lasted as long, or was only seasonally occupied during the summer.”

Dr Davis said the next step would be a visit to the island in 2013 to see if there was any evidence on the ground to add to the new discoveries from aerial scans.

Source: BBC