Lasers Help To Rewrite Human History

Medieval roundhouse identified using laser scans of the Isle of Arran. (Historic Environment Scotland)

Lasers Help Scientists Spot 900 New Archaeological Sites on Scotland’s Isle of Arran

by Jason Daley

The Isle of Arran located off Scotland’s west coast is one of the most archaeologically rich sites in all of Great Britain. The island is home to some of the British Isles’ most impressive prehistoric sites, featuring Neolithic stone circles and standing stones, ancient burial grounds and cairns, and the remains of Stone Age and Bronze Age homes.

Now, a recent airborne laser scan of the area has found 900 previously unknown archaeological sites on Arran, promising to rewrite the 6,000-year human history of the island, the BBC reports.

Some of the newly spotted sites include medieval farmsteads, prehistoric settlements and a rare cursus monument, which is a ceremonial ditch with parallel earthworks on either side that is not normally found on Scotland’s west coast, according to a project description from Historic Environment Scotland, the agency that conducted the survey.

“This survey has shown us that there are double the number of ancient monuments on Arran than we previously knew about,” Dave Cowley, rapid archaeological mapping manager at Historic Environment Scotland, tells the BBC.

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