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Lecture Report – Archaeological discoveries using LiDAR

Pictures above show:
– an aerial view taken with a camera
– the same view showing surface features when surveyed with LiDAR


Dr Ed Peveler of the Chilterns Conservation Board spoke to us on 6th April about the contribution of LiDAR to understanding the archaeological landscape of the Chilterns.

LiDAR uses an aircraft-mounted laser to detect very small variations in ground level and thereby to reveal archaeological features such as mounds, banks and ditches. One very important feature of this technique is that it can ‘see through’ tree cover to the ground beneath. This is particularly useful in the Chilterns where 21% of the area is woodland – about twice that for England as a whole. About half the Chilterns woodland is ‘ancient’, or older than 1600; this means that archaeology has been generally undisturbed since the mediaeval period.

Using the technology volunteers have identified many features including a Roman villa, a romano-Celtic temple and WWI training trenches in Berkhamsted golf course, and a previously unknown Iron Age fort in Buckinghamshire (pictured). Closer to Henley, the Iron Age forts of Medmenham and Danesfield are clearly visible, as are the Grim’s Ditch at Mongewell and pre-mediaeval fields in Harpsden Wood.

Everyone is welcome to join in interpreting the LiDAR images from the project. If you would like to help, just register at

Our next full talk will be given on 4th May 2021 at 7.45 pm by HAHG’s Ruth Gibson, on the dendrochronology dating of Henley’s buildings.