Archaeological Survey Using Airborne Lidar


Archaeological survey using airborne lidar is an important technique to be added to the toolbox of the archaeological surveyor, and when used in the appropriate circumstances it can reveal archaeological remains in exceptional detail. This course, which combines a mixture of classroom teaching with practical exercises and hands-on applications, informs historic environment professionals of the potential and practical use of lidar data and lidar derived imagery for research and heritage management.

Although lidar data has been available for some years now and is recognized as a useful technique to be added to the toolbox of the archaeological surveyor, it is not always fully understood. This course will help you to understand the most efficient applications, where it can reveal archaeological remains in exceptional detail, whilst also exploring possible pitfalls relating to data capture and interpretation.

This course aims to provide participants with the skills and confidence to identify and understand archaeological features in lidar data and the imagery derived from it. It introduces the main applications of lidar for heritage management (including the strengths and limitations of this source of information) and discusses how to use the different types of lidar data that can be provided to best effect. The ways in which archaeology shows in lidar-derived imagery and problems of interpretation caused by non-archaeological processes are investigated. Practical guidance also will be given on how to produce a map of archaeological features recorded by lidar.

Programme details

9.30am- Registration and coffee / tea

10.00am- Introduction

10.15am- Technique and underlying principles of lidar– including practical session on viewing point clouds

11.00am- Coffee / tea

11.30am- Using lidar derived imagery to reveal archaeological remains – including practical sessions comparing point clouds and surfaces, and comparing digital surface models (DSMs) and digital terrain models (DTMs)

12.45pm- Discussion

1.00pm- Lunch

2.00pm- Data manipulation to enhance interpretation of archaeological features – including practical session working with controlled lighting

2.30pm- Recognising artefacts and other features of non-archaeological origin

3.00pm- Tea / coffee

3.30pm- Mapping from lidar derived imagery – including practical exercise in mapping and interpretation from lidar data

4.20pm- Specific applications of lidar in particular archaeological landscapes: uplands, lowlands and woodland

5.00pm- Discussion and course disperses


Description Costs
In-person tuition £305.00
Hot Lunch- 3 Courses £19.25


Payment of fees must be made in full at the time of booking.

Please note that businesses and organisations can be invoiced on provision of a Purchase Order and completed application form. These can be emailed to the CWHE Programme Administrator, email:


Mr Simon Crutchley

Course Director

Simon is a landscape archaeologist and air photo interpreter at Historic England, with over 30 years’ experience of mapping and interpreting features of archaeological and historical interest visible on aerial photographs and other aerial imagery. He has worked in many areas of England including the World Heritage Sites of Avebury and Stonehenge. He has a special interest in “new” technology such as lidar and satellite imagery and its application to archaeological research and investigation.

Mr Peter Crow


The need to identify and map archaeological features under woodland canopies led Peter to help pioneer this use of lidar to map forest floors in high detail. Peter has previously worked on more than 30 lidar surveys of wooded landscapes across Britan. He has acted as a consultant to others considering lidar surveys, published and refereed scientific papers and given lectures on his research and experience.


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.


Accommodation is available for this course at Rewley House.

Please enquire at the time of booking for availability and prices with Continuing Education Residential Centre, please do quote the course name as a reference at the time of booking. 

All bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.