| 4 September 2005
Balloons help spot ancient sites
Archaeologists are to take to the skies above north Wales in hot air balloons in an attempt to spot long-lost ancient sites. Balloonists preparing for the Llangollen Balloon Festival will take archaeologists up in their craft to allow them to take aerial photographs. Many ancient sites can only be spotted from the air with slow-flying balloons ideal for landscape photography.
Llangollen Balloon Festival organiser Christine Leggatt-Baggs said hot air balloons were ideal for helping archaeologists spot signs of old walls, roadways and settlements buried in the countryside. She said: "Apparently there are sites that can only be seen from the air and as balloons are slow-flying, it's quite a good way to see the sites underneath. It might be sites are under the ground and you can only see the outline while you are flying. It's perfect because aircraft go past too quickly."
Top of the airborne archaeologists' list to photograph is Dinas Bran Castle in Llangollen and the string of Iron Age hill forts that stretch along the Clwydian Range. Fiona Gale, an archaeologist with Denbighshire Council's countryside services department, said the balloon trips would allow them to discover more about the county's heritage. She added: "The hot dry weather helps expose the lines of old walls, roadways and settlement under the countryside and many new discoveries have been made using this technique. The high cost of these photographic surveys makes them financially unattractive, leaving many potentially important discoveries waiting to be explored.
Source: BBC News (31 August 2005)
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