Here is an example of Lidar revealing archaeological sites as in this rectangular (enclosure?) on the western edge of Rooley Moor.
If you explore around this area you can see many ditches and other features I have mentioned earlier: they are clearly highlighted by the Lidar image.
Lidar used to be exotic and expensive, but no longer! Cutting edge, archaeological aerial survey techniques are now free for us to use.
Here is an example
Here is a standard aerial view.
Lidar image bank
Get your Lidar images here
The link example directs to OS grid reference SD 81, which covers most of west Rochdale.
The Ordnance Survey National Grid Reference System
See more about the OS grid reference system here.
Selecting an OS grid square
Select a grid reference by entering the OS grid or move the map with your mouse or by touch.
Enter SD81 to select the grid that covers west Rochdale.
Download and process your Lidar images
- Select the grid you are interested in (SD81 in our example).
- Create a directory on your pc, or other device for the group on files you download, example SD81
- Select a group of files to download from the bottom of the display
(the different file types and what they mean are explained here)
- Select DSM (in this example) at 1m resolution for SD81.
- The files are a zip archive of 180.3MB!
- Select the green download icon to download the zip archive.
- Download the zip files to your directory (SD81 for example)
- Unzip the files with a compatible program (I used the free Pea zip, there are many others)
- You directory, with the unzipped files should look like these names, they are ASC file format.
- These ASC files have to be converted into images you can view, use a GIS system if you have access to one (lucky you!), if not…go to step 11.
- To decode ASC files without a GIS system download the Relief Visualization Toolbox (RVT) for your operating system (currently supports Windows and Linux 64 ) from the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
- Download the RVT (for example rvt_1.1_win64 for Windows 7) and then unzip the files to a directory.
- Install the software, you should then see this
- Select click to continue and then you will see
- Select add the ASC files in your directory (SD81 in our example).
- Your directory should look like this:
- Load all the files and use the default settings for now and then select “Start”.
- This will take time depending on the speed of your computer.
- When the process is complete your directory should now have graphic files (TIFF format) created alongside the .ASC files.
- View these files with any program that can read and display the TIFF images, I used a free program called IrfanView.
- Here is a selection from one of the images, know what is in the centre? send me a message if you do please! -:) it’s old and it is north of Bury!
Want to install your own GIS system?
LandSerf is a free GIS system which runs on any platform that supports the Java Runtime Environment (Windows, MacOSX, Unix, Linux etc.)
Too much work?
Try this site, just zoom in to explore your region (some areas do not have Lidar coverage). Note you do not have the choice of surface or terrain Lidar images.
Special thanks to Marcus Jecock of Historic England for telling me about the Lidar source files and the software to decode the ASC files.
The software to decode the Lidar source files is from Slovenia’s Institute of Anthropological and Spatial Studies and is funded by the EU, see more details here.
James Moran-Zietek for telling me about LandSerf.
Even the name is mystery, “Man Road Ditch”. The ditch is of unknown date and unknown purpose and runs from the foot of Knowl Hill in a NNW direction.
The earliest reference found so far, is in the first series 6″ OS map (1851) of the area.
See the aerial view of the ditch here. Note select “satellite” to see an aerial photograph of the ditch.
Here is a Lidar view
Man Road Ditch
The feature that crosses it at the bottom of the image is the turbine access road!
There were three castle place-names mentioned in the 1626 Rochdale Manor Survey, but I found the site before I knew of the reference to it.
We commissioned a geophysical survey and Al Oswald of English Heritage identified a strip lynchet on one of the site’s steep slopes (west facing).
It was not actually in Rochdale, it is in what was the old parish of….Middleton, in Ashworth township.
Copped Hill (facing North)
See the map/aerial view
Select “Satellite” to see an aerial view instead of the map.
“Have looked at data we have on Copped Hill. I’m vaguely remember the
location. I’m pretty sure I never went to the top of the hill. Maps I
did at the time show it has melt water channels on western and southern
sides. The hill is capped by sand and gravel which would have provided
a better drained/dryer site if it was chosen as settlement location.”
Dick Crofts – British Geological Survey 2008/12/03
Introduction – Under Construction…
This post will briefly cover the historical background to the area, (including the Forest of Rossendale) to better understand the context of the many archaeological sites in and around Scout Moor.
There are some exciting newly discovered sites to reveal. As in the case of the adjacent Rooley Moor, the area has never had a thorough archaeological survey, perhaps that is an understatement.
See for Yourself (from the comfort of your browser)
Select one of the links below to see sites of Farmsteads Fecit Lane and Coal Road: (centered on SD 81852 17717).
To the North of these on Higher Hill (This site is not on any OS maps as far as I know).
The feature is best viewed with Microsoft Bing Maps birds eye view.
See the sites in Fecit Lane and Coal Rd. as they were in 1851 (surveyed 1844 to 1848) on and old OS map of Lancashire LXXX.
Wind farm road cuts ancient ditch called Man Road Ditch, of unknown date or purpose.
Before the wind farm
Medieval and other documentation for this area
The extensive body of medieval documentation for the area has been largely ignored by archaeological surveys of the area. This has been covered here.
Some of the sites archaeological surveys of the adjacent areas have missed include:
- A ruined medieval manor house (Naden Head) complete with earthworks and early wall
- Several prehistoric burial sites, including a prominent site on Hunger Hill (see the picture at the beginning of this blog.)
- Prehistoric Fields on Rooley Moor
- Several early farmsteads, such as Birchen Holts
There was a vaccary (medieval cattle ranch) somewhere in Cowpe, location not yet verified.
Scout Moor lies mostly in what was the NW of Spotland, a township in the parish of Rochdale, and in what was Bury Parish.
These are the historical areas (which were all in Lancashire), modern boundaries are very different; with the area now divided between Greater Manchester and Lancashire (Rossendale district).
Lancashire Forests and the Forest of Rossendale
HER (Historic Environment Record)
Researching the geological context for your archaeological survey is essential.
- What processes (glaciation fault lines) led to the landscape you are exploring, how did this influence settlement patterns?
- Were mineral deposits (such as coal or iron ore) or quarry stone used in the area/period you are researching?
- How did soil formation effect (light soils sandy soils easier to plough ) land use?
- How drainage/hydrology effect farming/fishing and transport routes.
- Will the surface geology effect geophysical survey surveys?
A ‘game changer’, we are going to use a quadcopter to photograph existing, and reveal new medieval and earlier archaeological sites!
Jeff will be our pilot! He has already delivered outstanding views that show sites in a whole new light!
Where to start?
- Get a base map of 1st series OS maps, National Library of Scotland have a fine site for this purpose.
- Check the drift geology of the area (Geological Suvey)
- See existing aerial photographs of areas of interest
- Check for any old sites that are recorded but never photographed.
- Use previously published criteria to locate special areas of interest.
- Lidar photos may be available, check them is possible (English Heritage have some available)
Often called “quadcopters” if they have four motors, the most common format for affordable flying.
I will add to this list from time to time:
- TBS Discovery used by guess who?!
- DJI Phatom – a popular quadcopter for taking aerial photos
- Quadcopters shop in UK – I have no connection with them, so for information only!
Thanks to Jeff we have made significant discoveries, more soon!
Aerial Survey – English Heritage
Aerial Archaeology – BBC
National Library of Scotland
Great site for old OS(Ordnance Survey) maps of the UK, including detailed maps of Lancashire, here.
The most useful for archaeological work, which contain sites omitted from current maps are:
- County Series 25 inch / 1:2,500 – 1841-1952
- County Series 6 inch / 1:10,560 – 1842-1952.