Guest blog by Lisa Keys at Minerva Heritage
Archaeology and heritage professionals use maps in all sorts of ways. We might plot surveys, excavation sites and finds to build up a picture of the past, or we might examine old maps to research sites and buildings as part of the planning application process.
At Minerva Heritage Ltd, one of our specialities is the interpretation of archaeology and heritage for the public. Recently, we have been using OS getamap to help us plan routes for heritage trails. First we undertake research to see what archaeology and heritage sites we have to work with in a particular area. Using OS getamap we are now able to accurately plot our known sites, and then we can identify roads, tracks and footpaths to help us identify and assess possible routes for the heritage trails. Once we have done the preliminary plotting, then we are able to go out to the area to test out our trail route.
What makes OS getamap really great is that it provides a simple facility for us to see the gradient of the route, the suggested length of time it would take to walk the route, and it provides the level of detail we need to investigate all rights of way. While there is no substitute for getting out and seeing the route for ourselves, OS getamap gives us an idea of what we are letting ourselves in for!
With the weather taking a turn for the better, it sometimes feels like a real treat to spend a day working out of the office – much as I love our new building! Yesterday I was invited along to spend some time in the beautiful Dorset countryside working with a team from ITV West Country who were filming the work taking place on the Osmington White Horse.
The 200-year-old Weymouth monument to King George III on horseback is being renovated and returned to its original position and outline. It’s a story that has generated lots of interest among local people and ITV’s Duncan Sleighthome was keen to find out more for a local news programme.
The Osmington White Horse Society has been working on the renovation of the figure for over a year with help from Natural England and local Army and Navy units. However, Ordnance Survey and English Heritage have now been involved to make sure the outline positioning is as true to the original as possible.
The carving which is 280 feet long and 320 feet high originally took three months to complete. Although from a distance it doesn’t look that big, when you actually get up close – it’s huge and I’m not sure the photographs really do it justice! However, the integrity of the monument has been threatened with weed, scrub and weathering – not surprising really given it’s on a really steep hill and the wind blows a gale up there – even on a lovely spring day.