: The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
During late 2003 MoLAS Geomatics and Plowman Craven Associates carried out a metric survey of a Neolithic burial mound at Prissé-la-Charrière in central France, which was being excavated by the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, a privately funded research organisation based in Cambridge.
During 2004 we returned to record the passage grave situated within the centre of the mound. The burial chamber used corbelled limestone blocks held in place by a large capstone roof, within which could be seen several pieces of human bone and one complete ceramic vessel. The rear wall of this chamber had partially collapsed, rendering it potentially very unsafe, and laser scanning was selected as being a both safe and efficient technique to use.
Laser scanning is a relatively recent survey technique hitherto under-used within the heritage industry. It is able to provide an accurate three-dimensional point in time record of complex surfaces very quickly and without disturbing the object/structure to be recorded. MoLAS have a partnering arrangement with Plowman Craven Associates (PCA), an internationally renowned survey company, and the most experienced in the UK in the use of this technique. The exercise was successfully completed over three days in March of this year. MoLAS/PCA have subsequently been requested to carry out similar scans in passage graves within the tumuli of Barnenez and of St Michel, both in Brittany.