The hidden landscape of a Roman frontier:A LiDAR survey of the Antonine Wall, World Heritage Site

PhD Thesis

Hannon, N. 2018. The hidden landscape of a Roman frontier:A LiDAR survey of the Antonine Wall, World Heritage Site. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Arts and Humanities
AuthorsHannon, N.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD

The Hidden Landscape of a Roman frontier is a collaborative research project runand jointly funded by Canterbury Christ Church University and Historic EnvironmentScotland. It commenced in October 2015, with the project focusing on the landscape archaeology, history, and heritage management of theAntonine Wall: the Romanfrontier in Scotland and part of the ‘Frontiers of the Roman Empire’ transnationalUNESCO World Heritage Site. The project’s primary dataset is comprised of 0.5mresolution aerial LiDAR covering the World Heritage Site,combined with terrestriallaser scanning coverage. All data wascommissioned under the auspices of theScottish Ten Project,with the aerial data captured in spring 2010 and the terrestrial data in July 2013 and April 2016. The project also draws upon a number of supplemental data sources including the National Monuments Record of Scotland (i.e. the CANMORE database;, geophysical survey data, archive aerial images, colour Infra-Red imagery, and additional LiDAR data from the UK Environment Agency.

This thesis provides a ground breaking, and systematic evaluation of the known elements of the World Heritage Site and analysis of how they appear in the LiDAR data, followed by a comprehensive search for new sites within the survey areas. Then, still using the original dataset, a fresh perspective on the use of LiDAR within archaeology is adopted, not emphasising feature visualisation, but on how LiDAR data can be used to answer existing archaeological questions. Examining the spacings between the known installations, an enhanced fortlet model is developed, predicting the positions of installations missing from the known sequence. A similar approach is also used to suggest the possible original locations for the Wall’s distance slabs. This approach provides an optimised model for the construction process of the frontier building of work of previous researchers to reach a range of new conclusions.

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Publication process dates
Deposited14 May 2019
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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