The Uist Virtual Archaeology Project has launched a new app which aims to show Uist’s many historic sites in all their glory.
Uist Unearthed was created by archaeologists from Lews Castle College at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
Visitors will be able to open the app at seven sites along the Hebridean Way and delve deeper into the history of each one.
By scanning a QR code at the site, users will have access to stunningly realistic visualisations of what the site may have looked 3,500 years ago, 3D models of artefacts, animations, audio and bilingual text content.
A new visitor offering
The project aims to encourage both local communities and tourists to learn more about Uist’s most impressive archaelogical sites.
It is also hoped that this new, more immersive experience will bring a wider range of people to the island.
Councillor Donald Crichton, chairman of the sustainable development committee, said: “Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar is delighted to support the UVAP initiative. The project is innovative in its use of new technologies to allow us greater insight into the past.
“The mixed media experiences that will be developed by UVAP will create a new visitor offering in Uist but will also offer an addition window into the past for local people. I am particularly happy that the project will help to open up the Islands’ archaeological treasures to a wider audience.”
A team effort
Uist Unearthed is the first app that uses augmented reality to show users what the sites could have looked like when they were still in use.
The first site that is available to explore is Bronze Age Cladh Hallan.
Six more sites are soon to be added, from well-preserved Neolithic burial tombs to one of the largest Viking trading posts in the country.
A great amount of local talent came together to create the app and its features.
Project co-ordinator Dr Emily Gal said: “We are thrilled to finally launch our fantastic app, and proud to have had extensive local input throughout the app development and testing process.”
The promotional video was created by UistFilm, the music for which was created by music students at Lews Castle College UHI.
All translations were done by Ceòlas Uibhist, and pupils from of Sgoil Bhaile a’Mhanaich and Sgoil Lionacleit tested the app before its launch.
The app was awarded £271,000 as part of a new £5 million Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund.
It is a Scottish programme of projects which aims to enable visitors to enjoy more natural and cultural heritage assets across the Highlands and Islands, administered by NatureScot.
Eileen Stuart, deputy director of nature & climate change at NatureScot said:
“It’s great news that we can help support such an exciting project through our Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund.
“This new app brilliantly showcases the rich historical sites along the Hebridean Way, giving visitors even more to enjoy and learn about the islands’ unique landscape and culture.”