Could you be the Indiana Jones of the South Downs?

Volunteers assessing archeological sites at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Hampshire, with the use of Lidar images. SUS-141022-165808001
Volunteers assessing archeological sites at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Hampshire, with the use of Lidar images. SUS-141022-165808001

THE South Downs National Park is looking for budding Indiana Jones’ to help unlock the secrets beneath our feet.

The lost history hidden beneath the National Park’s ancient woodland is about to be unlocked by a crack-team of volunteer archaeologists and historians.

And now land owners and members of the community are being asked to help.

A large part of the park’s central areas lie under forests or woodland, meaning almost nothing is known about their ancient history.

Using the same airborne laser technology that recently uncovered the remains of a huge city at Ankor Watt in Cambodia, the Secrets of the High Woods project has created a 3D map showing all the ‘lumps and bumps’ under the trees.

Archaeologists and community groups from around the Midhurst and Petworth area will now go out to investigate these sites further.

No previous experience is needed as training will be provided and volunteers can choose from hands-on site work, archive research or collecting stories from local people.

Find out how to get involved at a special event at the South Downs Centre, in Midhurst, on November 8 or visit the website www.southdowns.gov.uk/highwoods.

Rebecca Bennett, who manages the Secrets of the High Woods project, said: “This is a unique opportunity to help unlock the secrets underneath these ancient woods. There are a few archive aerial photographs of this area capturing a tantalising glimpse of features revealed by felling during the second world war, but there is so much that we don’t know about the history of the people who lived here over 6,000 years.”

Secrets of the High Woods is led by the South Downs National Park Authority, in partnership with Chichester District Council and supported by West Sussex and Hampshire County Councils.

It has been made possible thanks to a £661,800 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.