We have an ongoing program of workshops and other events, the details of which can be found in the "What's On" page, or through our newsletters sent out through our mailing list, to which you can sign up here.
If you want to get more involved with the Beacons of the Past Project, find more opportunities below.
In the late Spring of this year the Chilterns Conservation Board’s Beacons of the Past Project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, will be launching our LiDAR Web Portal. This will allow members of the public to view the tremendously exciting results of our newly commissioned LiDAR survey of the Chilterns AONB. At 1400 km2 it is the largest survey of its type ever flown in this country for archaeological purposes.
The survey creates an exceptionally precise topographic map of the region, even under tree-cover. From this any man-made lumps and bumps, many of them hundreds if not thousands of years old, can be spotted and interpreted. Our LiDAR Web Portal will offer tutorials in how to ‘read’ the LiDAR data and trace different archaeological feature types, giving you the opportunity to help us identify undiscovered and forgotten archaeological remains, from 20th century World War I Practice trenches back to 5000-year old Neolithic earthworks. Based on similar surveys carried out elsewhere in the UK, we expect to find thousands of new archaeological sites.
We are looking for volunteers to help us delve into the history of the Chilterns. Besides our ongoing program of workshops and walks, conservation activities and talks, there will be three great ways you can get involved in unlocking the Chilterns’ past, both from the comfort of your own home, and out in the Chiltern woodlands.
Citizen Science Spotting – Firstly, after the end of May 2019 our LiDAR Web Portal will be launched! This will allow you to log on, view the LiDAR survey data, complete the online tutorials, and go searching for the tell-tale signs of earlier times, written into the landscape. You will be able to trace over features which you think are of archaeological interest, and your spots will be sent to our central database, where a team of trained volunteers will be checking what everyone is finding.
Ground Truthing – From Autumn 2019 we will be leading groups out into the field (with permission from landowners) to further investigate archaeological sites identified by the survey. We will be looking for volunteers to join us conducting walk-over surveys of landscapes to enrich our records for those new archaeological features spotted in the LiDAR.
Further Research – Also from Autumn 2019, we will be helping individuals and groups take on small-scale, in-depth research projects for new sites discovered by the survey. The nature of this will depend on your particular interests, but might entail, for example, exploring aerial photographic archives, museum archives, historic maps, and antiquarian reports to further build up knowledge of sites and their landscapes; you might want to take a synthetic approach to a particular monument type over a larger area; or you might want to take a localised approach to summarising the archaeology and history of a particular village, common, wood, or parish through time.
Precise details of how to be involved in all aspects of the project will be sent out as-and-when each phase of the project is ready for release. To be the first to hear about opportunities register for our mailing list at the following link: http://bit.ly/ChilfortsNews
We are looking for a volunteer, or volunteers, to assist with the creation of neat, engaging, and perhaps humorous digital art which will be “badges” (like a Scout/Brownie badge) assigned electronically to users for reaching goals in our forthcoming Beacons of the Past LiDAR web app. These badge images will convey visually some element of what they are given for.
Examples might include the “Rookie Researcher” badge given to users who complete the Web App instruction lesson, perhaps showing an infant in a lab coat as a chemistry researcher, or the “Marathon Mapper” badge given to users who have transcribed a total of 26 miles of archaeological features, and which might show a runner breaking the tape, running on a map… These are just a couple of examples and ideas – the precise details would be up to you, and I’m sure you will have better ideas than me!
For a sense of the kind of thing we are aiming at, perhaps have a look at the Sporcle.com quiz website achievement badges, which can be seen here: https://www.sporcle.com/achievements/. One example is the “Click Bait” badge, given to users who play a certain number of “Clicking” quizzes in one day, and which shows an angler fish using a computer mouse as its lure or “bait.” On winning the badge it turns from grey-scale to coloured.
If you think this sounds like something that you would enjoy doing, get in contact with us and we can discuss it further! I can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
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