Surveying Sites

Because of the intensity of the agriculture field monuments survive in Strathearn either in the upland margins or in small patches of ground that have escaped cultivation. Many on the sites of prehistoric settlement or agriculture are preserved as inconspicuous humps and bumps, but some of the hillforts have an impressive scale. To discover the minor components of the landscape such, as cultivation remains, we systematically walked over it recording features on maps. A selection of these sites were then surveyed at a larger scale so that the features could be identified and analysed.

Making sense of the most complex field remains, such as those seen around the larger sites like Castle Law Forgandenny, requires considerable expertise to ‘read’ the arcaheological features and technical skills to accurately record monuments in steep ground. On some of the more challenging sites were surveyed by experts from the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. They combining traditional plane table surveying with laser optics and GPS to produce plans which reveal a sequence of construction and abandonment. Elsewhere, as at Castle Craig Broch, we have used low altitude aerial photography to generate a 3D digital terrain model, which reveals changes in the landscape which are too subtle to see from the ground.

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