The keepers of the coastal cliffs at Seaford Head in the south-east of England know that the loss of their archaeologically important site to erosion and sea level rise is a question of when, not if, and therefore, they use drones and other digital technologies to deeply map and model the area. before he’s gone.
Located on the East Sussex coast about 11 miles east of Brighton, Seaford Head sits in the middle of a series of chalk cliffs marking the border of a larger nature reserve behind. The site is home to several remains from distant and more recent historical periods, including a Bronze Age burial mound known as the burial mound, an Iron Age fort, and a reinforced concrete structure dating from World War II . Gradual shoreline erosion has long been a concern, but the local archeology division at the University College of London that oversees the reserve says global warming has accelerated the threat – and ultimate loss – of the precious area.
“Over the past year, there have been significant cliff collapses in the region, which are expected to increase in frequency and severity with the predicted increase in precipitation and storms related to climate change,” the unity. Southeast Archeology, said on a webpage explaining his decision to use a drone and other digital technologies to map and model Seaford Head. “The project aims to assess and record the archeology of Seaford Head before it is lost to coastal erosion.”
To do this, experts were called upon to fly drones equipped with sensors to create 3D maps of Seaford Head. Ground technology is also used to study points that provide visual signs of possible relics buried below. But drones play a central role in the effort to craft an exact data clone of an archaeologically rich area, which experts and interested citizens can access and study once the ocean recovers it.
“A crucial part of this is using a drone to capture the archaeological features exhibited in the cliff face and accurately map the site’s earthworks to create a 3D model of Seaford Head, preserving its complex heritage for future generations,” explains Jon Sygrave, Archeology South-East’s project manager. “Using a combination of non-intrusive archaeological techniques, we assess and record the endangered heritage of Seaford Head. This includes the literature review of historical maps and aerial, topographic and geophysical surveys, and could lead to the discovery of previously unknown heritage assets.
The whole project works on a reported budget of $ 25,000 – a modest sum compared to the historical value of the archaeological assets in the area. Seaford Head’s drone mapping and cloning work will be used in more ways than visual and data cues. Visual and technical data will also be included in multimedia projects on the reserve, and in the development of spoken word and other performances to keep the area alive in people’s minds – and help locals cope with loss. possible from a precious place.
“The project will produce films and podcasts to open discussions on heritage loss and help us understand how the public feels about change and loss of this kind, especially when we may be disconnected from heritage. of our landscape, ”says Anooshka Rawden. , Head of Cultural Heritage at the South Downs National Park Authority. “We have the chance to rediscover lost stories.