(other than normal flights in West Lothian)

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Archaeology Index

Kite aerial photography (KAP) is our initial method of investigating archaeological sites. KAP cannot be scheduled as a limited range of wind speeds are required and some sites need a specific wind direction(s) to avoid tall structures. Also, the quality and angle of incident light is important.  When visits are planned in advance, conditions are rarely optimal and sometimes impossible, eg no wind, too much wind, rain etc.  Most of our outings are at very short notice.

A trip to Dalvorar East and no wind for KAP!  A pole is a useful standby.

August 2010


West Lothian Archaeology News in Brief


1st May 2013: Launch of the The Scottish National Aerial Photography Scheme (SNAPS) - Pilot Project

20th July 2013: First flight with the new Samyang, full-frame, fish-eye lens. Jim and John are now standardising on Sony Nex cameras (two Nex 5s and two Nex 5Rs) fitted with Sony 16mm and Samyang 8mm lenses.


Rosie Wells

1949 - 2013

Our images in print







Set up this Website

The first front page image taken by Rosie on the 24th May 2006.  The rainbow appeared over Hardhill Wood just as Rosie turned to her husband, John, and said 'I think that I should set up a website for Armadale'.






April Rosie and John's first outing to fly a camera on a kite line.
Armadale October Visit Caradale Traditional Brick at  Etna Works, Lower Bathville.



Isle of Bute

December Give a talk about kite aerial photography to the Buteshire Natural History Society at Bute Museum




4 May Visit Caerwent.

West Mulchaich

13 June Inverness / Ross and Cromarty Young Archaeologists Clubs.


5th September Invited to Strachur to take some photos.


19 April Bath and Bristol Young Archaeologists' Club.



17 October  Falkirk Young Archaeologists' Club.




January West Lothian Archaeology Group founded.




August Briefly joined a Young Archaeologists' Club Leader training course.





RCAHMS Edinburgh


21 February Jim, Cade and John attend Canmore user group meeting.


Gormyre Hill


2 March Comparison of Wenner resistive measurements (on 0.5 and 1m grids) with previous twin probe data.


Gormyre Hill


6 March More resistance measurements by Jim.


Torphichen Preceptory

2-3 April Photography of the southern gatehouse and resistivity survey of an unidentified circular feature.


22 - 24 April  Jim, Rosie and John demonstrate KAP (Historic Scotland).

Leeds University


27 April Jim, Rosie and John attended a DART (Detection of Archaeological Residues using remote sensing Techniques) workshop.


  Our West Lothian History Fair display.
Linlithgow Academy


7 May Jim, Rosie and John attended the West Lothian History and Heritage Fair at Linlithgow Academy.




18 May Rosie and John talk to members of the Rotary Club about KAP.


Croy and Dalcross June Vist Balnuaran of Clave (Jim).


June/July Rosie and John visit sites in Gloucestershire.


July Jim visits Rufford Abbey.

Sutherland 17 August Vist Dail Langwell Broch and other sites in the area (Jim).

York University

17-19 August Rosie and John attended the ISPRS Working Group V/2 Conference: Cultural Heritage Data Acquisition and Processing.

John finally meets up with kindred spirit Geert Verhoeven.



3-4 September Jim, Rosie and John demonstrate KAP. Historic Scotland Open Day.


Ardoch 30 September Jim visits Roman Fort.


30 September Rosie flies a modified thermal rig over Cairnpapple.


1 November Jim flies thermal rig at Blackness field with John and Rosie.



14 November RCAHMS Rosie, John and Jim gave lecture: Kite aerial photography in the visible and near infra-red parts of the spectrum: a neglected technique. (included preliminary thermal IR KAP images)


Daer Valley

November First Visit by John and Rosie, in poor weather conditions. When appropriate, we will return with Jim and Bronwen to KAP the Biggar Archaeology excavation site.



Daer Valley

29 January KAP the Biggar Archaeology excavation site and construct a virtual 3D model.



1 February Edinburgh University Archaeology Society: Participate at their Fieldwork Fair.



13 March Edinburgh University Archaeology Society: Rosie, John and Jim give talk on kite aerial photography.

After talk dinner.


19 April Papers are signed to form the West Lothian Archaeological Trust, Scottish Charity SC043118.

Sybil Cavanagh oversees Jim Knowles, John and the late Rosie Wells at the West Lothian Local History Library signing the document which sets up the West Lothian Archaeological Trust that will formally manage the West Lothian Archaeology Group and this website.

12-13 May An activities weekend with visits by the Edinburgh and Stirling YACs, the public and other groups.


20 May to ~October We are working in partnership with Dave Cowley (RCAHMS) to record a plough-levelled site through the year at Lochlands.

Jim with his Longbottom delta sled kite at Lochlands, Falkirk.


18-22 June Thermally image a DART Project site with Anthony Beck and David Stott (Leeds University) and others at Harnhill Manor Farm

Ant to John's (with the hat) left and David to John's right 'bouncing off the walls' after 48 hours of capturing thermal images every 30 minutes from the top of 8m scaffolding!

Arbor Low 8 August  Jim visits Arbor Low Henge and Stone Circle.


23 August Group members Heidi, Rosie, John and James Gentles visit Kieran Baxter's KAP-based MSc display at Dundee University. Excellent!

Two parts of Kieran's display.
Gormyre Hill

25-26 August With the Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society - test pits.


From 13 September Kite aerial photography boards, designed and funded by West Lothian Council, to be displayed in Armadale Library museum space.

Board 1 of 7


16 September Meet up with members of the Armadale Camera Club at Wood Park to demonstrate KAP.....or at least try in gusting high winds.

Donated HQ Power Sled 1.7 kite and Picavet rig.


29 September History and Heritage Day. Armadale Library museum space 10am-1pm.


20 October  Meet up with members of the Edinburgh University Archaeology Society.

Donated two kites, Picavet rig and Pentax compact camera to the Society.

Katie and Anna with EUAS's KAP rig and kites.



10 November Attend Scotland's Community Heritage Conference 2012 with display boards designed by West Lothian Council.



and Armadale


29 November Jeff Sanders, ScARF Project Manager at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, pops over to talk about kite aerial photography and fly a kite on Cairnpapple.





January Jim  travels south again to the Queen's Sconce and Oxdon Hillfort.


30 January  Attend the launch of the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF) at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.



6 February Edinburgh University Archaeology Society: Participate at their Fieldwork and Information Fair.


From home  

12 February Give talk to 'Exposure' camera group in Beverley via Skype.



February - Donated KAP kit and pole to regional archaeologist (DC).



March - Donated a 2m HQ delta kite, 808#16D HD video camera and rig to local historian (RD) for personal use and work with primary school children.




11 March Give talk on kite aerial photography: Clackmannanshire Field Studies Society, Alloa Town Hall, Tommy Downs Room, 7pm for 7.30pm   Cancelled due to the death of Rosie on the 3rd March 2013.




27-28 April Demonstrating kite aerial photography on Cairnpapple.

Donated rigs, kites (Three HQ 2m Deltas, Three HQ 1.7 Power Sleds and a HQ Flow Form 2.0) and cameras (Four 808#16D HD video and one Pentax WG compact) to archaeology groups and individuals, all who work with children, amongst others.



1 May 2013: Officially launch our Scottish National Aerial Photography Scheme (SNAPS) - Pilot Project


Blawhorn Moss  

2 May Kite aerial photography with Toronto Primary School, Livingston.

A near infra-red kite aerial photo of pupils investigating pond life.

A joint outing with fellow kite aerial photographer, Ron Dingwall, Chairman of the History of Armadale Association.





6 May Demonstrated KAP and donated starter kit plus Picavet rig and power sled for archaeological use in South Ayrshire (JE).


9-11 May Give invited talk and KAP workshop at the ARCLAND Conference, Dublin.

Donated KAP equipment (808#16D HD video camera, Pentax WG-1 compact camera with GPS and interval mode (time lapse), 9ft Mylar delta and HQ Power Sled 1.7 kite) to one of the participants (KB), an archaeologist, for personal use and work with school groups (eg Balla Secondary School (2), Co. Mayo, Ireland).

 Kevin and John

John and Cade at a workshop in Pheonix Park


13 May Canmore meeting at the RCAHMS.



~16-17 May A flying visit to the Hidden Heritage Project excavations in Tarbet along with with Northlight Heritage and pupils from Hermitage Academy.

808#16D near IR KAP

Near infra-red video clip

Both groups to receive both starter and standard KAP kits.


25 May   People in the Park III: 11am to 3pm in Almond Park in Craigshill, Livingston, just below the rugby club.


Worcester Uni.  

4 July Give a keynote talk at an RSPSoc workshop: Remote sensing from small UAVs, University of Worcester.


25-26 July


North Berwick


7 August Kite aerial photography - Archaeology event with David Connolly.




9 August Meeting at the Holyrood Park Education Centre (HS).

Howden Park


24 August BBC Summer of Wildlife Event at Howden Park.



Summer?  Aerial Photography for the Pinkie Cleugh Battlefield Group.
Armadale 2 September An outing with Helen Hamilton and the Beavers, to hand over a SNAPS starter kit.


Leeds Uni.


17th September DART Horizon Scanning Workshop (The meeting) 17th September.


Arthur's Seat

18 September Kite aerial photography workshop with the Edinburgh University Archaeology Society


28 October Give talk on kite aerial photography: Clackmannanshire Field Studies Society, Alloa Town Hall, Tommy Downs Room, 7pm for 7.30pm.





12 November Give talk: Stirling Field and Archaeological Society at the Smith Museum in Stirling.



5 February Give talk: Bathgate History Group, The Tryst, St John's Church, 2pm.



11 February Twechar youth Group. Bar Hill Roman Fort


3 March KAPing: Part of Torphichen Primary School's Prehistory Project.

East Renfrewshire


15 March Dig It! 2015. Rouken Glen Park 10.30 to 3.00pm



3-7 April Balla School and Conference.


27 May A Continuing Professional Development Course for West Lothian Teachers.










Beecraigs Geophysical survey
Barbauchlaw Mill Investigation  date to be decided (ref. Joe McIndoe)
Livingston Village Visit (ref. John Minelly)
Castle Greg Area Visit  (ref. Jim Smalls)
Rough Castle & Antonine Wall KAP  (inc. near IR) date to be decided
Carriden Fort and area KAP (inc. near IR) date to be decided.
Manuel Nunnery KAP (inc. near IR) date to be decided  Road and building footprints, especially to the south. (ref. work of Laurie Alexander)
Industrial Sites Make a start KAPing West Lothian's industrial sites. (ref. Robin Chesters)