Digital Design Team to Help Bring Uist Archaeological Sites to Life.

Lews Castle College UHI and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are delighted to announce the appointment of Peel Interactive to the Uist Virtual Archaeology Project. Peel Interactive will create a digital App containing Augmented Reality reconstructions, and mixed-media exhibitions which will showcase seven archaeological sites along the Hebridean Way in Uist and Benbecula.

see full size image

Peel Interactive bring with them a wealth of experience in the development of immersive digital experiences for the heritage and tourism sector, many of which have focused on remote and rural locations. Recent projects include the Wales Coast Path App and the Flow Country ‘Flows to the Future’ project.

The teams will work together with schools and other community groups to create realistic and immersive reconstructions, which will be informed by archaeological data gathered during various excavations. The first site to be reconstructed and animated in 3D will be the Bronze Age roundhouses and mummified remains at Cladh Hallan, South Uist which date to around 1500BC. The reconstructions will allow visitors to explore these sites, peel back layers and gain valuable interpretive insight that has never been possible before. This method of interpreting the landscape is really ground-breaking as visitors to the area will be able to see these reconstructions, through AR, sat  within the landscape which will bring new context and meaning.

The project is led by Dr Emily Gal and Dr Rebecca Rennell, Lews Castle College UHI Archaeological staff, in collaboration with the CnES Heritage Service and community stakeholders. Project Coordinator Dr Emily Gal said, “We are really excited to work with such an innovative and enthusiastic team, who will work with the project team and community stakeholders to bring Uist’s internationally-significant sites to life.” 

The Uist Virtual Archaeology Project is supported by the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund, a new programme of projects which will invest almost £9 million in the Highlands and Islands to provide more and better-quality opportunities for visitors to enjoy natural and cultural heritage assets. The Fund is led by NatureScot and is part funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The aim is to encourage people to visit some of the more remote and rural areas and create and sustain jobs, businesses and services in local communities. The purpose of the fund is to promote and develop the outstanding natural and cultural heritage of the Highlands and islands in a way that conserves and protects them.

Alongside the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund, the Uist Virtual Archaeology Project has also received funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Crown Estate Ward Funds, Stòras Uibhist and Lews Castle College UHI giving the project a total value of over £400,000.


Jessica Wright, Managing Director, Peel Interactive commented, “The whole team at Peel Interactive couldn’t be more delighted to have been selected to work on this fascinating project. The potential of digital and Augmented Reality technologies to interpret landscapes and archaeological sites in a method that’s accessible for a wide range of visitors is still relatively untapped. We are looking forward to working with the passionate team at Lews Castle College tocreate something truly ground-breaking. Our first visit to Uist is planned before the end of the year and can’t wait to fully immerse ourselves in the history of this incredible landscape”

Kevin Murphy, CnES Archaeologist said, “The Comhairle Archaeology Service welcomes the appointment of Peel Interactive to this project by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Lews Castle College UHI.   It looks forward  to further supporting this innovative endeavour with its mixture of archaeological research and cutting-edge technology that will present both local communities and visitors alike with a fantastic experience.”

For more information on the Uist Virtual Archaeology Project and archaeology courses available at Lews Castle College UHI, join Dr Emily Gal for a live Q&A as part of our Online Open week on Tuesday 24th November at 10am. Email for booking information.