Hill forts


What this doesn’t prevent, of course, is a detailed video that can be provided for the purposes of @Airchaeology, and then the same footage used as part of a more personal take on the same (or perhaps several) monument(s). :+1:


Yes. Good point.


No one said it was a competition but if we submit something that has been asked for then why change it if @Airchaeology was happy with it.
I only posted the above because I had already taken them previously.
The suggestion for using the original YT link was only to save it being chopped about.


@Airchaeology hi David
Is there a way of filtering out the National Trust and Heritage trust sites on the database.
An excel spreadsheet would suffice for reference.



I was just thinking about that myself. I’ll get back to you on that one.


Thought I’d chip in with my 5p worth. I’ve been working as part of Historic Assynt in the NW Highlands to produce 3D models/maps of archaeological sites - see

Not exactly hill forts but brochs are certainly fortifications. If you can get stable weather to fly (which is not the case at the moment !) then there are a number of apps which provide a fairly straight forward way to plan and execute a mission to take a large number of photos and then create a 3D model. I have been using DroneDeploy but a recent price hike may make it sensible to look elsewhere - they do still have a free version but it has some limitations. I’ll certainly be looking at PrecisionMapper as an alternative.

I spend half my time in Yorkshire so I’ll be trying to be the first to send in a 3D Hill Fort map, if someone hasn’t already beaten me to it.


Wow! That 3D map is incredibly detailed. Did you create that using DroneDeply? Did you do this yourself or part of a team? Broch’s are fascinating and deserve their own section on the website. Would this model be available for us to use on airchaeology.org? Would love to know your process/timescales/tech used for this project.

Sorry, so many questions! The members on this forum have already given this project a huge boost and it’s looking really exciting. If airchaeology.org can collect aerial video, stills, 3D models and knowledge of these important sites in the UK and abroad all in one place, it would be a massive achievement. Even more so since the contributions come from a group of people who’s hobby is constantly under attack.

Looking forward to your reply! :slightly_smiling_face:


Welcome to Grey Arrows @jmt146 - and what a fantastic first post :smiley:


Oh cripes!! That 3D model is totally brilliant!

Other than …image … going to have to get something if these 3Ds are going to start popping up all over. This is the first time I’ve felt I’m seriously missing something not having!

And, welcome to GADC!!


Just a quick follow up question:

This is a photo of Hembury Fort, probably the largest Hill Fort in Devon and 90% obscured by trees.

There are three banks of ramparts and ditches up to 15m high but you can only see them from ground level!

Do you know if there is a way to create a 3D model of this site? Perhaps using photography taken from a hand held or low flying drone?


Not that I know a thing about this topic …. but there was a program on Ch4 recently where they’d mapped old Myan towns in the jungle and electronically stripped all the vegetation.
That used LIDAR …. so ££££££ … but if you’ve not seen the prog it could give you ideas.


Good lead. Anyone got one of these?: https://enterprise.dji.com/news/detail/how-lidar-is-revolutionizing-mapping-and-geospatial-data :flushed:


I daren’t even contemplate the price.

//Buys extra Euromillions ticket for tomorrow.//

Will £120m be enough for the starter kit? :wink:


That’s about £45k right there.


Yes, it was created using DroneDeploy. I did it myself - using Dronedeploy is straightforward and once you have created the flight plan and set things like altitude, all you have to do is press the start button and it flies the grid and takes the photos autonomously. You can certainly have the model for airchaeology.org and I think it’s downloadable from the Sketchfab link I gave.

It takes an hour or two to suss out the detail of of how DroneDeploy works and about as long again to create a flight plan. Once on site the flight usually takes 10-15 minutes. Unless you have high speed broadband, it can take 6 or more hours to upload the several hundred photos. DroneDeploy then process the images, create the model and send you a download link. This can take half a day or more. It’s useful to have a Sketchfab or other 3D photosite account to host the model.

There is a learning curve and the first attempt is inevitably a bit of an experiment but after that it’s pretty quick. Main thing is to set the mission altitude above the height of the highest topographic feature, unless you fancy a walk.


Yes, LIDAR is the only way to get beneath the tree cover. Price is coming down and it’s on my list but like high res thermal, it’ll be a while before my budget would ever cover it. If there’s anybody working on Hembury or nearby forts you might be able to convince them to get one done…


The detail on that 3D picture when you zoom in, is unreal !!
you can see the exact shape of the stones, and the fissures in the rock strata !


Yes, the flight altitude was 20m above take-off point at the base. That and the quality of the dji cameras make for a resolution of 1 pixel per cm, according to DroneDeploy’s mission summary.

After I made the model in Spring 2017 they did a big dig to remove the rubble in the centre of the Broch,

I’m hoping to do another model tomorrow which will show exactly which rocks have moved !.


You’ll be able to put them back in exactly the correct position. :wink:


I have a lost bit of video somewhere showing some of the moving - all a bit too much like hard work. Remember the old films where they’re building the pyramids, but in reverse.