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Arch in the Park was organised by the Discovery Programme, Arcland, UCD School of Archaeology and Dublin City Council to coincide with the ‘Traces of the Past’ exhibition and the K2U2 conference.  The event was a free archaeological workshop designed to give members of the public an experience of geophysical survey in a well known public landmark, the Phoenix Park.  Permission was sought from and granted by the Office of Public Works to survey a star-shaped fort and magazine fort recorded on the six inch maps, using geophysics (magnetic gradiometry and earth resistance) and aerial kite photography.

On arrival, the groups were addressed by Steve Davis of UCD Archaeology and Franc Myles of Archaeology and Built Heritage, who explored the results of a recent LiDAR survey of the park and the history of the different monuments respectively.  Kevin Barton of LGS then introduced the group to the basics of remote sensing – magnetic susceptibility, magnetic gradiometry and earth resistance.  Ger Dowling and Gary Devlin of The Discovery Programme were on hand to demonstrate the techniques as the weather turned (and continued to twist and turn throughout the day)…

Dr Ger Dowling, the Discovery Programme, demonstrating the "mag". Image courtesy of Susan Curran, DCC.

Dr Ger Dowling, the Discovery Programme, demonstrating the “mag”. Image courtesy of Susan Curran, DCC.

See the gallery below for more images of Ger in the hail.  Luckily when he moved on to the “res”, the sun had popped out again.  A particular treat was the demonstration of Kite Aerial Photography given by John and Cade Wells of the West Lothian Archaeological Trust.  They showed participants how to attach the simple rig for the camera to the kite and use low cost remote sensing equipment, including the capture of infrared aerial images.  Some of the resulting images are included in the gallery below.

John Wells, left and his son, Cade Wells, right of WLAT/Armadale.  Thanks to Susan Curran for the image.

John Wells, left and his son, Cade Wells, right of WLAT/Armadale. Thanks to Susan Curran for the image.

Finally, participants were taken on a guided tour of the archaeological aspects of the Phoenix Park by Dublin archaeologist, Franc MylesNeil Jackman, of Abarta Audio Guides, later commented that he had “really enjoyed the bit of Parkaeology” despite the weather!  Thanks to all, big and small, animal and human, who braved hail, sunshine and wind to join us.  Credit also to all the volunteers, who gave freely of their time to share their skills and enthusiasm for remote sensing.

A longer version of this article appeared in the IAI Summer newsletter.

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