Page last updated at 14:06 GMT, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 15:06 UK
Laser beam technology uncovers history of Wyre Forest
LiDAR image of the Wyre Forest
The ancient settlements show up once the trees are digitally removed

The hidden history of the Wyre Forest has been revealed using the latest laser beam technology.

LiDAR (Light, Detection & Ranging) uses pulses of harmless laser energy beamed down from aircraft flying about 1000 metres (3300 feet) up.

These have revealed ancient settlements and traces of the early industry in the area, that were hidden by trees.

The results are on show at Bewdley Museum's Wyre Forest Gallery, until Saturday 15th August.

Elizabeth Cowley, Bewdley Museum's Collections Officer said:

"The LiDAR survey is one of 18 projects that will facilitate the restoration of ancient forest landscapes and woodland habitats, many of which have been lost over the last century.

"Fascinating sites can be seen from the surveys, which tell us a lot about the historic past of the area."

The exhibition features aerial images, along with rock samples relating to the Wyre Forest.


LiDAR image of the Wyre Forest
The same image shown above, with the trees present

The new laser technology can uncover ancient settlements, fortifications, farms and any other signs of human activity which, especially in woodland, are often difficult to detect from the ground, or the air with the naked eye.

LiDAR works by 'bouncing' laser energy off the land, in much the same way as radar bounces radio waves off solid objects

It measures the time it takes for the pulses to be reflected back to recording instruments in the aircraft.

This produces data, in the form of millions of three-dimensional co-ordinates, which are processed by computers, and turned into images of the ground as it would look if the trees had been stripped away.


The survey was commissioned as part of the Grow with Wyre Landscape Partnerships Scheme in conjunction with Worcestershire Archaeological Survey.

The Wyre Forest LiDAR project is part of the 'Understanding the Past and Informing the Future' initiative.

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