| 8 April 2007
Aerial images to discover ancient sites of Exmoor
Archaeologists are hoping to unlock the secrets of Exmoor's ancestors by using a bird's eye view of ancient sites and monuments. British prehistory experts Cain Hegarty and Katherine Toms are about to undertake one of the biggest challenges of their careers by examining more than 15,000 aerial images of the breathtaking National Park. The aim of the project is to build up a detailed picture of the area's archaeology by picking out changes in the landscape such as ditch marks, henges, barrows and field boundaries - features which can escape even an expert eye unless viewed from the air.
Cain estimates the research could reveal hundreds of previously unknown sites - doubling the number of finds logged on the Sites and Monuments Record. He said: "This is a really exciting project personally for us and also in terms of what we will find out about the heritage of Exmoor and what we can share with visitors.
The survey has been set up by English Heritage and will use photographs from local archives and a Cambridge University collection - with some images dating back to the 1940s. Exmoor is steeped in history, with evidence of human activity stretching back to the Neolithic period. The 809sq km covered by the survey could even yield spectacular monuments such as Cow Castle, an Iron Age hillfort in the Barle valley: The 2,000-year-old fortress is the subject of an series of aerial photographs but the evocative monument is not the only evidence of prehistoric activity. Deep scarring can be seen in the field, suggesting iron mining took place.
Source: Western Daily Press (6 April 2007)
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