Pathways through the Avebury landscape

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A study of spatial relationships associated with the Beckhampton Avenue, Avebury, Wilts. …

A study of spatial relationships associated with the Beckhampton Avenue, Avebury, Wilts.

The results of my MSc dissertation presented whilst I was working for English Heritage

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  • 1. Pathways through the Avebury landscape A study of spatial relationships associated with the Beckhampton Avenue, Avebury, Wilts Paul Cripps, English Heritage Centre for Archaeology
  • 2. Introduction - the Avebury landscape
    • Monumental complex developed by Later Neolithic.
    • Many monuments in the landscape: the Henge, Silbury Hill, the West Kennet and Beckhampton Avenues, the Sanctuary to name but a few.
    • The multiple entrance henge and avenues may be related to movement…?
  • 3. Introduction - The Beckhampton Avenue
    • The focus for the investigation.
    • Rediscovered in 2000 (Gillings et al.)
    • The Longstones shown to be part of a Cove (ibid.)
    • Also an earlier enclosure.
  • 4. Dynamic and static spatial relationships
    • Dynamic relationships are those constantly formed and broken as an observer moves around the landscape.
    • Static relationships are those inherent in the landscape.
    • These will be investigated using the concept of visibility.
  • 5. Introduction - the right tools for the job
    • The analytical viewshed capabilities of GIS.
    • Visualisations using three-dimensional reconstruction.
    • Analysis and presentation using dynamic media.
  • 6. Technical part I
    • Enhanced contour data used to produce DEM in GRASS.
    • Viewsheds calculated using customized Avenue script in ArcView.
    • Viewshed parameters output to text file and converted to VRML camera parameters.
    Building the GIS
  • 7. Technical part II
    • GRASS DEM output as ASCII raster.
    • Converted to VRML TIN.
    • Validated, cleaned & split using Chisel.
    • Decimated using 3DS Max and exported as dxf.
    • Georeferenced in three-dimensions using AutoCad.
    Building the reconstruction: the land-surface
  • 8. Technical part III
    • Sources included CAD files of archaeological features, modern and historic OS maps, excavation plans, modern and antiquarian written references.
    • Wireframe megaliths.
    • Solid barrows and earthworks.
    • Assembled using 3DS Max: megaliths placed onto land-surface, solids conformed to land-surface.
    Building the reconstruction: the archaeology
  • 9. Aerial view of the reconstruction
  • 10. Technical part IV
    • Aim: a dynamic two-way link.
    • Java program used to take input from GIS and control camera nodes in VRML world and vice versa.
    • Result: a manual one-way link.
    • Output from GIS converted and used to set up cameras manually.
    • Unfortunately, being the lowest priority, this aspect of the project was not completed.
    Linking the two applications
  • 11. Moving and experiencing I
    • Viewsheds calculated along hypothesised paths.
    • Views generated using the same parameters, passed between applications.
  • 12. Moving and experiencing II
    • Cumulative viewshed analysis along hypothesised paths.
    • Areas of high frequency are particularly visible from hypothesised path.
  • 13. Other observations from improbable angles
    • Alignment of the Cove with Silbury Hill, observed in CAD plan, elucidated using the reconstruction.
  • 14. Future work
    • Improved data sources: higher resolution DTM (from LiDAR?)
    • Environmental data
    • Enhanced visibility analysis: three-dimensional raycasting and/or probablistic approaches.
    • Tighter integration between applications.
    • Investigate other prehistoric landscapes.
  • 15. For more information, please see: Thanks to Dave Alexander, Alistair Carty, Graeme Earl, Mark Gillings, Pete Glastonbury , Tom Goskar, Becky Poole, Anton Prowse, and Dave Wheatley.Thanks also to NERC, the funding body for my MSc, and English Heritage, my current employer.