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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Unearthing the past using cutting edge technology

An exhibition showing how new and exciting technology can help reveal how the New Forest landscape has changed will be on display at the New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst.

The New Forest has a fascinating and varied archaeology and history, from the Stone Age, to being designated as a royal forest and hunting ground by William the Conqueror in 1079, and being used in World War II for secret airfield missions, spy schools and prisoner of war camps.

By using a combination of aerial photography and LiDAR (light detection and ranging) which uses a laser beamed from an aircraft to create a profile of the ground, an accurate picture of the New Forest landscape can be built up.

The exhibition explains more about LiDAR and how working with our partners (the Forestry Commission and Verderers) we can learn more about the New Forest’s unique history.

Frank Green, Archaeologist at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘By using LiDAR and traditional mapping we hope to discover new sites and improve what we know about established sites. It will be used for a variety of archaeological work including identifying bomb craters, war-time bunkers, old river courses and locating ancient and veteran trees.

‘We have recently been awarded a £500,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to investigate the significant role the New Forest played in World War II. Part of this project will involve using LiDAR along with a desk-based study to give an indication of the scale and scope of World War II structures.

‘Surprisingly the New Forest is one of the least well surveyed areas of the United Kingdom. It has a long history of woodland and ‘open forest’ management which means it has high archaeological potential.’

The exhibition ‘Laser mapping of the New Forest’ will be on show at the New Forest Centre on Saturday 7 January to Sunday 5 February 2012 from 10am-5pm, with last entry at 4pm. Normal museum entry fee applies.

For more information about LiDAR visit

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