As part of the The Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership (website here) the Big Dig, a community excavation, has been investigating the south slopes of East Lomond hillfort in Fife. A series of hut-circle-like structures, which first showed up in geophysical survey, have been uncovered and appear to form an extensive settlement area annexed to the hillfort.
I was commissioned to demonstrate kite aerial photography (KAP) and to record some aerial views of the site by Dr Oliver O’Grady of OJT Heritage on behalf of the Living Lomonds
Landscape Partnership as part of the Discover the Ancient Lomonds Project (project blog here). The event was supported by Heritage
Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and New Park Educational Trust.
Situated high above the relatively flat Fife, East Lomond offers
fantastic views in all directions from the Bass Rock in East Lothian all
the way to the Grampian Mountains to the north. The excavations themselves were just as captivating with some enigmatic structures and stone settings accompanied by many interesting finds. While I was on site one of the student diggers came across a well preserved spindle whorl, part of a device for producing yarn for fabric, within an Iron Age context.
I used a rotating KAP rig and structure from motion (SFM) photogrammetry to build this topographical model of the area around the dig and the summit of the hillfort. This is a composite of a colour orthophoto and orthographic rendering of the structure data with low-level lighting used to pick up the topography.
As well as site recording I spent the morning delivering talks and workshops to school groups who were keen to learn about how aerial photography is used by archaeologists, but a little more interested in having a go with the kite. This is one of the shots taken by the students as another group works on excavating the trench. Extra KAP kits were very kindly donated by John Wells of the fantastic Scottish National Aerial Photography Scheme (website here).
Many thanks go to the organisers and volunteers who made the Big Dig happen. Events like this are great for raising awareness of the fantastic landscapes which hold the stories of our past, and with any luck we have gone a small way in inspiring the next generation of archaeologists and aerial photographers!
|The two trenches with the distant West Lomond hill behind.|
|A near vertical kite aerial photograph of the main trench.|
|An orthographic view of the east side of East Lomond hill.|
|In high wind those marquees could have almost served as big extra kites!|
|The Big Dig with East Lomond hillfort behind.|