The CGDT team make discoveries on the Solstice

Aside

Very fittingly the first ACCORD project took place last weekend (21st and 22nd June), on the solstice. This marks the true beginning of our phase of fieldwork which will see us through to the next equinox!

Stuart and I traveled up on the Friday to Colintraive to work with the CGDT (Colintraive and Glendaruel Development Trust) History and Archaeology Group. Since 2013 the community of Colintraive and Glendaruel have been passionate owners of the Stronofian Forest, and from this purchase the archaeology and history group formed. We had previously met everyone back in April (blog post on 11th of April 2014) – this time we arrived back to finalise the co-design and carry out the co-production phase of the project.

The team at work in the Colintraive Village Hall!

The team at work in the Colintraive Village Hall!

Thank you to all who took part over the two weekends; Anne, Cathy, Charles, Danuta, Gordon, Mark, Ros, Susan, Tod (and Gareth!).  All results will be uploaded to the ADS in the very near future, but here is a brief summary. Together we recorded three monuments; a chambered cairn, a WW1 memorial and Neolithic rock-art. Not bad for one weekend’s work!

Our Cairn:

A chambered cairn was proclaimed by the group to be the archaeological jewel in the community owned Stronofian Forest. This cairn, over 4,000 years old, is a prominent visible feature in the landscape, despite likely having been robbed out over time to make dykes and shelters on the hillside. More details can be found here on Canmore.

Another view of the cairn- merging in with the landscape.

A view of the cairn in the ColGlen community owned Stronofian Forest- merging in with the landscape.

 

Alastair Rawlinson creating a 3D model of the cairn using the latest laser scanning technology.

A cheerful Alastair Rawlinson creating a 3D model of the cairn using the latest laser scanning technology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like how it probably once functioned in the past, today this place has special significance and is a hub for the CGDT history and archaeology group’s activities. Therefore, it was unanimously felt that it was important to model. However, as the monument was obscured under vegetation, it was agreed that using our normal suite of techniques would be a challenge.

And so, in order to do this successfully, Alastair Rawlinson (Head of Data Acquisition at the DDS, GSA) came up especially with his laser scanning machine. We wait with baited breath- the results are still being processed and will be uploaded here shortly.

Visualising the Hidden:

Tod’s local knowledge took us to the site of a World War 1 memorial, 2 minutes’ walk down an overgrown path, just off the main road into Colintraive. It took everyone by surprise that this monument was here! Despite only moving to the area last September, Tod was the only person to know of its existence. First thing on Saturday, the team immediately set about recording the memorial using photogrammetry, partly with the aim to communicate to others its poignant presence. Tod is conducting a piece of independent research, so more on this to come.

Charles Dixon-Spain at the re-discovered WW1 memorial.

Charles Dixon-Spain at the re-discovered WW1 memorial.

X-marks the spot?

Local knowledge alluded to rock-art within the Stronofian Woodland, but no-one was quite sure where it lurked and again no one had recollections of seeing it. It was even missing off the latest OS map.

Ordnance Survey. (2002). Sheet 55, Lochgilphead and Loch Awe, Ed. C1. 1:50 000. OS Landranger map. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey. (2002). Sheet 55, Lochgilphead and Loch Awe, Ed. C1. 1:50 000. OS Landranger map. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Stuart’s enthusiasm for finding and recording the rock-art, contemporaneous in date with the cairn, was infectious- if we could find it hidden amongst the bracken and under carpets of moss! So on Friday, with Eamon (the new CGDT woodland officer), we set off in the midst of a cloud of midges to find this needle in a haystack. Bingo! Eamon found what looked like a cup and ring marked slab, lying just off the proposed new desire line up to the cairn.

In order to know for sure RTI (reflectance transformation imaging) would be the perfect analytical technique.

“It’s like magic!” (Cathy)

On Sunday we set up what looked like a CSI tent for RTI and this is what we produced!

Read Left to Right: stills from the RTI of the Lethinkill Rock-Art. I count 9 cups with key; in the middle of the image are two deliberately carved grooves which make up the 'key'.

Stills from the RTI (generated using RTIbuilder, free download available here) of the Lethinkill Rock-Art. Read Left to Right; in each image the light shines on the surface at a different angle. I count 9 cups with key; in both the images on the right there are clearly 2 deliberately carved grooves which make up the ‘key’. What do you see?

The team hard at work at our make-shift RTI tent, in the ColGlen community woodland by Lethinkill!

The team hard at work at our make-shift RTI tent, in the ColGlen community woodland by Lethinkill!

As Charles writes in his blog, the carvings pop out using this technique. To the naked eye in its natural surroundings, it is very hard  to make out any patterns on the slab’s surface (as Cathy’s photogrammetric survey shows).

Everyone in the CGDT group, having never seen this monument before, were thrilled to rediscover a monument which had probably not been seen in over 25 years (since the last archaeological survey was conducted in the area). Cathy has since discovered more references to rock-art in the area, so we hope to see more!

Cathy doing a photogrammteric survey of the rock-art by Lethinkill in the ColGlen community woodland.

Cathy carrying out a photogrammteric survey of the rock-art by Lethinkill in the ColGlen community woodland.

Photogrammetric model of the lethinkill rock-art made by Cathy and Mhairi.

Photogrammetric model of the lethinkill rock-art, other view.

Photogrammetric model of the Lethinkill rock-art in the ColGlen community woodland, made by Cathy and Mhairi and generated using Agisoft photoscan.

Photogrammetric model of the Lethinkill rock-art, solid texture. Generated using Agisoft Photoscan.

 

 

 

 

Was it a coincidence all this came to light in on the Solstice weekend?!

 

 

Castlemilk 3D challenge!

Last Saturday (7th of June) the ACCORD team took part in the Heritage Weekend at Castlemilk. We set ourselves quite the challenge! …To make a 3D virtual model of a 19th Century ornate fireplace hewn out of oak.

The following info on the biography of this fireplace came from talking with Mark Roberts Community Heritage Manager at Glasgow Museums, Richard Bolton the Community Woodland Officer for Castlemilk, and local historian Susan Casey. Thank you! The Castlemilk History Facebook page is very richly researched, a mine of information. Also the site record for Castlemilk House on Canmore (RCAHMS); http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/44894/details/glasgow+castlemilk+house/ 

This 19th Century masterpiece once belonged to the grand Manor House of the Stuarts.

This 19th Century masterpiece once belonged to the grand Manor House of the Stuarts.

This baronial style fireplace was once part of a grand manor house which stood in the heart of Castlemilk. The house saw heavy renovations in the 18th and 19th Centuries, but  had been the seat of the Stuart family since the 15th Century. The estate remained in the Stuart family, who claimed lineage to Mary Queen of Scots, up until it was sold to the City in 1936. The house then became a children’s home before finally in 1969 it was almost totally demolished to help provide for the housing shortage in Glasgow. The Castlemilk History Group campaigned to save this oak ‘treasure’ and now it takes pride of place in the surviving refurbished stables.

The spectacular scene here depicts the 1429 Siege of Orleans, and the Stuart’s family claims to royalty. Two members of the Castlemilk Stuarts died in this battle; Sir William Stuart and Sir John Stuart. This was Joan of Arc’s decisive victory over the English- that may be her depicted at the bottom of the central panel with helmet off and wavy wild hair about to whallop the fallen knight on horseback. On closer inspection you’ll also notice that the sword blades are missing- there are memories of naughty kids who lived in the house during the 40s and 50s clambering up the fireplace to steal props for games of swords and daggers!

In an amazing state of preservation- the carving looks as though it were done yesterday- the dynamic 3-dimensional scenes made this an ideal challenge for us to record virtually in 3D. With the help of some willing volunteers and our Magic Pole onto which we can safely attach a camera to get up high, overlapping photographs of the fireplace were taken at varied angles. These were then stitched together in a clever programme called Agisoft photoscan…Phew. Success. Click here CMilk fireplace to open a 3D pdf file of the model (make sure you have the latest Adobe pdf Reader installed). Select and spin it around!

In fact altogether, this took only 28 photos to capture this scene and less than half an hour to process! Easy peasy.

Model made with photographs taken on a Nikon D5300 and generated using Agisoft Photoscan.

Model made with photographs taken on a Nikon D5300 and generated using Agisoft Photoscan.

There are regular heritage and woodland activities and events in Castlemilk- check out the Friends of Castlemilk Park Facebook page for more information. If getting muddy and dirty is also your bag, keep an eye out for opportunities here to get digging in the estate grounds!