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Hebrides News


Cutting edge technology is being used in the search for hidden archaeological treasures around the Callanish area in Lewis.


A major survey sees the University of St Andrews creating 3D scans of the Callanish stone circles and mapping buried features associated with the site.


This will create a digital interactive experience of how the megaliths looked at various stages throughout times while bringing them to life.


The digital remote sensing techniques will also provide information for the reconstruction of the entire landscapes surrounding the stones and place them in their original context.


Beyond the main complex of standing stones a number of other stone circles dot the wider Callanish landscape and archaeologists suspect much of the area’s prehistoric treasures lie buried by peat or undiscovered under the sea in Loch Roag.


The site dates from between 2900 and 2600 BC, earlier than Stonehenge, and there is evidence for around two thousand years of ritual activity at the site.


The Calanais Visitor Centre is using a £25,000 HIE grant to commission St Andrews University for the 3D modelling.


Lead researcher Dr Richard Bates said: “We are bringing together a team of geophysical, archaeological and landscape reconstruction experts to investigate Calanais in an attempt to understand more about the people who lived there and erected the stone circles.


“The concentration of stone circles around Calanais is remarkable, but it is also intriguing that there is the lack of other sites that could tell us about the people who lived there.


“By reconstructing the Neolithic landscape we hope to be able to find further evidence of the people and so ultimately to better understand the stone circles themselves.”


Victoria Harvey, project development officer at Calanais, said: “Visitor numbers have grown rapidly at the famous Callanish Stones and here at the visitor centre.


“This has given us an opportunity to not only redevelop it but, to boost the heritage focus by sharing the story of the stones through modern technology.”


Major new survey seeks ancient buried megaliths at Callanish

3 January 2018