Scotland: A new website has been launched to help people explore an ancient landscape hidden beneath fields and woodland in north-west Caithness.
A Window on Caithness” Past gives details on hundreds of sites, more than 300 of them previously unrecorded.
The remains of 5,000-year-old burial cairns and 3,000-year-old homes were identified using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) laser scanning.
The work was done ahead of the construction of the Baillie Wind Farm.
The 21-turbine project at Baillie Hill, west of Thurso, was granted planning permission subject to a number of conditions.
One requirement was for the scheme to open up better public access to the Hill of Shebster and Cnoc Freicedain scheduled ancient monuments.
The developers – a joint venture between Statkraft and local partners – were also asked to improve the interpretation of the sites, incorporating the results of the LiDAR survey.
AOC Archaeology Group was commissioned to carry out the scanning, which involved mounting equipment on an aircraft and flying over the wind farm site.
Archaeologist Andy Heald said the survey was the first of its kind in the far north of mainland Scotland.
In Caithness, LiDAR revealed fields where medieval and later rig and furrow systems overlie much earlier agricultural use as well as the remains of 3,000-year-old low-walled, thatched roofed houses called hut circles.
LiDAR fires thousands of laser pulses per second at the ground.
Almost a billion “points” were collected during the Baillie survey and this raw data was processed to create high-resolution models showing field boundaries, walls and ancient monuments.