North West Wales

Laser images used to reveal Snowdonia's ancient history

Bwlch y Groes upland pass, Snowdonia National Park Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bwlch y Groes upland pass, Snowdonia National Park

Laser radar technology is being used to carry out the biggest ever archaeological survey of Snowdonia.

The Snowdonia National Park Authority is using the images to better understand prehistoric and Roman field boundaries and settlements.

Academics are surveying an area of 193 sq miles (500 sq km).

They will look at manmade structures built between 800BC to 500AD, including 900 roundhouses and ancient dry-stone walls.

The project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will explore how and why the uplands of Snowdonia were first enclosed and what the evidence says about social and economic change.

Emily La Trobe-Bateman of Sheffield University's archaeology department, who is leading the three-and-a-half year project, said this was the first time Snowdonia had been studied in this way.

"We are trying to understand how and where the land has been enclosed by unpicking the data. It is a wonderful opportunity to study it on a big scale," she said.

She added she would be looking at the images with a "critical eye".

Ms La Trobe-Bateman said the survey would complement a £2m project to help manage the "at-risk" natural and cultural heritage of the Carneddau area.

She said she hoped the research would feed into "modern decision-making about how the landscape is managed".

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