A project directed by academics at the University of Sheffield has made the archaeology of the world-famous Stonehenge site more accessible than ever before.
Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge is the first application of its kind to transport users around a virtual prehistoric landscape, exploring the magnificent and internationally important monument, Stonehenge.
The application used data gathered from the University of Sheffield´s Stonehenge Riverside Project in conjunction with colleagues from the universities of Manchester, Bristol, Southampton and London. The application was developed by Bournemouth University archaeologists, adding layers of archaeological information to Google Earth to create Google Under-the-Earth.
The unique visual experience lets users interact with the past like never before. Highlights include taking a visit to the Neolithic village of Durrington Walls and a trip inside a prehistoric house. Users also have the opportunity to see reconstructions of Bluestonehenge at the end of the Stonehenge Avenue and the great timber monument called the Southern Circle, as they would have looked more than 4,000 years ago.
The project is funded through Google Research Awards, a program which fosters relationships between Google and the academic world as part of Google’s ambition to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Professor Mike Parker-Pearson from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology said: “Google Under Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge is part of a much wider project led by myself and colleagues at other universities – the Stonehenge Riverside Project – which began in 2003. This new Google application is exciting because it will allow people around the world to explore some of the fascinating discoveries we’ve made in and around Stonehenge over the past few years.”
Archaeological scientist Dr Kate Welham, project leader at Bournemouth University, explained that the project could also be the start of something much bigger:
“It is envisaged that Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge could be the start of a new layer in Google Earth. Many of the world’s great archaeological sites could be added, incorporating details of centuries’ worth of excavations as well as technical data from geophysical and remote sensing surveys in the last 20 years.” she said.
Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archaeologist at Stonehenge said: “The National Trust cares for over 2,000 acres of the Stonehenge Landscape. Seeing Beneath Stonehenge offers exciting and innovative ways for people to explore that landscape. It will allow people across the globe, many of whom may never otherwise have the chance to visit the sites, to share in the thrill of the discoveries made by the Stonehenge Riverside team and to appreciate the remarkable achievements of the people who built and used the monuments.”
You can download the application from the Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge site. The tool is easy to use and requires Google Earth to be installed on your computer.
Notes for Editors:
Google Under-the-Earth: Seeing Beneath Stonehenge was created at Bournemouth University by Dr Kate Welham, Mark Dover, Harry Manley and Lawrence Shaw. It is jointly directed by Dr Kate Welham and Professor Mike Parker Pearson at the University of Sheffield.
To find out more about the University of Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology, visit: Department of Archaeology
The Stonehenge Riverside Project was a joint collaboration between Universities of Bournemouth, Bristol, Manchester, Sheffield and University College London. It was led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson, University of Sheffield, and co-directed by Professor Julian Thomas, University of Manchester, Dr Joshua Pollard, University of Southampton (formally University of Bristol), Dr Colin Richards, University of Manchester, Dr Chris Tilley, University College London and Dr Kate Welham, Bournemouth University.
This project has been supported by: The Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, the Royal Archaeological Institute, the Society of Antiquaries, the Prehistoric Society, the McDonald Institute, Robert Kiln Charitable Trust, Andante Travel, University of Sheffield Enterprise Scheme, the British Academy, the National Geographic Society, with financial support from English Heritage and the National Trust for outreach. The project was awarded the Bob Smith Prize in 2004 and the Current Archaeology Research Project of the Year award for Bluestonehenge in 2010.
Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com
Merln says: The tool is easy to use and requires Google Earth to be installed on your computer.
Melin @ Stonehenge Stone Cirle
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website