Cheshire Aerial Investigation and Mapping Project

A partitioned manorial centre at Bruera with modern parish boundaries overlaid. © Copyright ARS Ltd 2021.
Lidar showing the Iron Age hillforts of the mid-Cheshire Ridge. © Copyright ARS Ltd 2021.
Roman camps and forts east of Chester along the Chester-Middlewich Roman road. © Copyright ARS Ltd 2021.
Comparison of field systems surrounding the secular manorial centre at Doddleston (left) and lands around the Benedictine monastic grange at Saighton (right), the latter showing evidence of a clearly defined infield-outfield system. © Copyright ARS Ltd 2021.

Archaeological Research Services recently completed the Cheshire Aerial Investigation and Mapping Project which mapped 218 square km of archaeology from LIDAR and aerial photographs around the city of Chester. The project mapped sites dating from the Bronze Age to the Second World War with highlights including the mapping of 21 Roman camps and forts, four of which were newly-identified by the project.

In addition, as a result of the extensive survival of medieval earthworks visible in historic aerial photographs, it was possible to map the medieval landscape. Study of this mapping with reference to the Domesday Book makes it possible to discern the partition of Anglo-Saxon estates following the Norman Conquest, with some evidence that Anglo-Saxon landowners may have pre-emptively granted their lands to the Abbey of St. Werburgh in Chester in order to avoid having it confiscated and being evicted. The project provides a great example of how aerial mapping over wide areas can make a significant contribution to our understanding of how a landscape has developed through time.

Archaeological Research Services Ltd