The Hidden Cropmarks of Wales, Revealed by a Drought


These marks reveal the location of a large prehistoric enclosure in the Vale of Glamorgan.
These marks reveal the location of a large prehistoric enclosure in the Vale of Glamorgan.

For farmers in Wales, an ongoing drought has meant stressed water supplies and crops. But for Toby Driver, an aerial investigator for the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, it has meant long hours logged in a plane, capturing images of elusive cropmarks that reveal the sites of long hidden ruins.

From above, these cropmarks stand out starkly from the landscape—unmistakable squares and circles that outline settlements from as far back as the Bronze Age. In the past weeks, Driver has captured cropmarks across the Welsh countryside, including those made by a previously undiscovered medieval cemetery, a rare type of monument in this…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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Sasha Harriet

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