Summer heatwave unearths historic past

THE summer heatwave has helped more than 100 early settlements buried underground to be identified, archaeologists said.

Historians taking aerial photographs of buried forts and monuments said the dry and warm summer meant they could be seen more clearly through ripening crops and scorched grass.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) in Edinburgh said it was one of the best aerial surveys done since records began 30 years ago.

Crops that lie directly above buried features ripen at a different rate from the rest of the field when it is warm and dry, producing "crop marks".

Similarly, buildings underneath grass make that area grow a different colour and look more scorched.

So far this year the RCAHMS has discovered around 100 new prehistoric settlements across Scotland. Two major Roman forts have also been photographed in more detail than ever before at Newstead in the Borders and Carpow in Fife.

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