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How Lidar will change Archaeology


In the profound tapestry of human history, the emergence of Lidar archaeology technology stands as a beacon, illuminating hidden chapters and rewriting the narrative of our past. As we traverse the landscapes of antiquity, a remarkable revelation comes to light through the lens of Lidar – the Linear Earthworks that crisscross our ancient terrains. Driven by laser precision, this technological marvel exposes a new dimension in historical understanding that challenges conventional wisdom and prompts us to reconsider the nature of these enigmatic earthworks. (How Lidar will change Archaeology).

How Lidar will change Archaeology
Lost Myan Structues found by LiDAR Archaeology

Linear Earthworks in Britain, etched upon the canvas of time, have long been subjects of speculation and inquiry among archaeologists. Traditionally, their identification and interpretation relied on ground surveys and manual exploration, a process fraught with limitations. Enter Lidar, a technological alchemist who transforms the landscape into a digital tapestry, revealing intricate patterns and hitherto concealed features.

As we apply Lidar’s gaze to Linear Earthworks, a paradigm shift in our perspective of history unfolds. These ancient structures, once seen merely as embankments and ditches, take on a new character when viewed through the precision of Lidar. The revelation is not merely in their existence but in their potential function – a function that suggests an intimate connection with water.

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Offa’s Dyke nr Chepstow – shows not only is it not (as reported by Cecil Fox) a defensive against the Welsh but a Cross-Dyke

The linear features, now easily identified through Lidar, appear to have been, in their prime, conduits of water. An unprecedented clarity emerges, suggesting that these earthworks were not mere fortifications or territorial markers but rather sophisticated water management systems. The notion challenges the conventional interpretation of Linear Earthworks and redirects our gaze to a landscape where the flow of water plays a pivotal role in shaping human activities.

Dr. Jacob Bronowski, in his inimitable style, would have found profound meaning in this transformative revelation. The linear patterns etched into the earth, visible through Lidar’s lens, speak to a profound understanding of hydrology among ancient societies. It prompts contemplation on the symbiotic relationship between humanity and water, a relationship that extends beyond the utilitarian to the realms of cultural, agricultural, and perhaps even ritualistic significance.

Antonie wall
The Antonine Wall was originally a Dyke

As we venture into the realm of speculative archaeology guided by Lidar’s revelations, the Linear Earthworks become channels of connectivity, linking human communities with the ebb and flow of water. Dr. Bronowski, ever the advocate for interdisciplinary inquiry, would likely encourage us to explore the intersections of archaeology, hydrology, and environmental science. What tales do these water-filled earthworks tell us about ancient civilizations adapting to the rhythmic cadence of nature?

The linear motifs, now woven into the fabric of Lidar-generated landscapes, beckon us to reconsider historical timelines. The prevailing narrative, often anchored in assumptions of linear progression, encounters a twist in the labyrinth of Lidar-enhanced understanding. The Linear Earthworks, once markers of territorial boundaries, transform into conduits of innovation and adaptation, guiding us to an era where humanity’s mastery of water held the key to prosperity.

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The gaps in Wansdyke proves its not a defensive feature but once held water

In the spirit of Dr. Bronowski’s commitment to the unity of knowledge, Lidar’s revelation of water-filled Linear Earthworks invites collaboration between disciplines. It challenges archaeologists, hydrologists, and historians to engage in a dialogue transcending their respective fields’ boundaries. What emerges is a revised perspective on Linear Earthworks and a profound understanding of the interconnectedness of human societies and the natural world.

In the grand theatre of history, where the stage is set by the contours of the earth, Lidar takes centre stage, illuminating Linear Earthworks as aquatic conduits that shaped the destinies of ancient civilizations. Dr. Bronowski’s legacy, rooted in the synthesis of knowledge, would undoubtedly find resonance in this marriage of technology, archaeology, and hydrology, as we navigate the waters of discovery with Lidar as our guide.

Further Reading

For information about British Prehistory, visit for the most extensive archaeology blogs and investigations collection, including modern LiDAR reports.  This site also includes extracts and articles from the Robert John Langdon Trilogy about Britain in the Prehistoric period, including titles such as The Stonehenge EnigmaDawn of the Lost Civilisation and the ultimate proof of Post Glacial Flooding and the landscape we see today.

Robert John Langdon has also created a YouTube web channel with over 100 investigations and video documentaries to support his classic trilogy (Prehistoric Britain). He has also released a collection of strange coincidences that he calls ‘13 Things that Don’t Make Sense in History’ and his recent discovery of a lost Stone Avenue at Avebury in Wiltshire called ‘Silbury Avenue – the Lost Stone Avenue’.

Langdon has also produced a series of ‘shorts’, which are extracts from his main body of books:

The Ancient Mariners

Stonehenge Built 8300 BCE

Old Sarum

Prehistoric Rivers

Dykes ditches and Earthworks

Echoes of Atlantis

Homo Superior

For active discussions on the findings of the TRILOGY and recent LiDAR investigations that are published on our WEBSITE, you can join our and leave a message or join the debate on our Facebook Group.

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