An Archaeological Remote Sensing Module at Balla Secondary School, Co Mayo, Ireland.
Kevin Barton and Teresa Walsh
The ArcLand Project seeks to promote the use of remote sensing techniques across Europe by engaging both with ordinary citizens and with specialists in various aspects of heritage exploration, management and presentation.
The project's long-term legacy will be better appreciation of the landscape and archaeological heritage of Europe, closer contact between heritage professionals and the general public, more effective conservation of the shared cultural heritage, the international sharing of skills and employment opportunities, better public and professional education, the wider use of archive resources and modern survey techniques, and higher professional standards in landscape exploration and conservation.
Education in remote sensing
Education is an important component of the ArcLand Project and there is an active programme of training schools and workshops. The Project so far has concentrated on programmes for undergraduates, post-graduates and professionals. The module at Balla Secondary School (BSS) involves pre-third level education Transition Year (TY) Students in the age range 15 to 16 years. Further information on TY can be found in the BSS Pen Picture. During TY students take some time out from exams to gain some experience and maturity and think about careers and associated further education.
The remote sensing module, from the perspective of the teaching activity at BSS, provides input to the overall objectives of the TY programme. In addition it provides an opportunity to integrate elements of a number of subjects in the syllabus; in particular, history, geography, physics, ICT (information and Communications Technology) and art. From an ArcLand perspective the Module introduces the application of remote sensing to a younger audience who may find it offers ideas on future careers and education.
The Archaeological Remote Sensing Module
A colour contoured topographic image of a visible moated site; image made using open source software. (image : Kevin Barton)
The module has been designed to investigate a moated site at the edge of the town of Balla. There is no surface expression of the site although there may be some relevant soil marks seen in legacy aerial photographs. The site is likely to date from the Medieval period.
The Module is being delivered over 12 weeks and involves collaboration with Balla No Name Club (BNNC) who are providing resources to assist with field work and presentation of the results to the local community. Further information on No Name Club can be found in the BNNC Pen Picture.
The programme comprises:
1) Introduction to remote sensing – technology with case histories
2) Literature, aerial photography and map review
3) Field trip to see a visible moated site
4) Planning the remote sensing field survey
5) The field survey– metal detecting, magnetic susceptibility, magnetic gradiometry, earth resistance and electrical resistivity tomography
6) Data processing – using open source software
7) Interpretation and discussion of results
8) Presentation of the results in the school and to the local community – reports, PowerPoint, blog, website, posters, seminar etc
The 2012/2013 Transition Year Students at Balla Secondary School
(photo: Teresa Walsh)
Kevin Barton, Landscape & Geophysical Services, Claremorris, Co Mayo.
Teresa Walsh, Transition Year Co-ordinator, Balla Secondary School, Balla, Co Mayo.