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Digital Subscriptions > History Scotland > Jan - Feb 2019 > Sky above, Skye below

Sky above, Skye below

Investigating an archaeological landscape
An aerial photograph of the Kraiknish peninsula, view facing north east

Lidar is an airborne form of surveying similar to laser scanning. A laser beam is pulsed from a sensor many thousands of times per second. The beam is scanned from side to side as the aircraft flies over the survey area, and, as the sensor records the echoes of the beam, a point cloud is formed comprising many millions of points. A digital terrain model can then be created, which can be lit from different angles to highlight topographic changes in height. The new survey data (covering 18 km2 at an impressive sixteen points per m2) allowed archaeologists to identify and map new sites, and test the potential of high-resolution lidar for targeted landscape survey and creative archaeological visualisation.

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About History Scotland

Explore centuries of history and archaeology in the first History Scotland issue of 2019. Inside you’ll find history, archaeology, genealogy and heritage from some of the country’s top experts. Top reasons to read this issue: • Discover the tough reality of life as a Dundee whaler – and why the city’s female population was crucial to the success of the whaling industry • Read about Mary of Guelders – the Stewart queen who used her European connections to succeed in her royal role • See amazing images from the restoration of Monteath Mausoleum • Discover history events around the country during the winter months • Explore a new project to discover what we know – and have yet to discover – about the uses of gold in prehistoric Scotland