Archeologists are looking deep into the past of Britain's lost coastal history using laser technology. With the help of a revolutionary technique called LiDAR, archeologists have revealed traces of previous human activity on Ramsey Island in Wales, including ancient burial mounds, a prehistoric fort, and a structure that appears to be a lost religious chapel.
It’s known that Ramsey Island, a 1-kilometer (0.62-mile) strip of ragged rock off the western tip of Wales, has been a hive of human activity for centuries, but much of this past has remained a mystery. To dig deep into the island's history, without actually doing any digging, researchers from the CHERISH project have recently taken a helicopter to the island to survey it using LiDAR technology.
LiDAR technology was first developed in the early 1970s to map the surface of the Moon for the Apollo 15 missions, but it’s since proved extremely useful at surveying Earth for archaeological or geographical purposes. In short, the technique beams a laser at a target and analyzes the light that is reflected back. This allows researchers to view beyond the layers of trees or vegetation that would otherwise obscure features from the distant past.
Airborne laser scanning (LiDAR) of Ramsey Island. Crown: CHERISH PROJECT 2017. Produced with EU funds through the Ireland Wales Co-operation Programme 2014-2020