A smartphone app to allow visitors to experience some of the Western Isles’ most significant archaeological sites as never before was launched on Monday.
The Uist Unearthed app is part of the three-year Uist Virtual Archaeology project, led by the University of the Highland and Islands Archaeology Institute’s Dr Emily Gal and Dr Rebecca Rennell.
The app features augmented reality reconstructions of archaeological sites along the Hebridean Way in Uist. Each reconstruction is triggered once a site is reached, encouraging users to explore sites in their landscape settings after scanning a QR code.
The first site available is Bronze Age Cladh Hallan, located in South Uist.
As well as stunningly realistic visualisations of the site as it may have looked 3,500 years ago, the app includes 3D models of artefacts, animations, audio, and bilingual text content. The app and reconstructions have been created by Peel Interactive, who specialise in the development of immersive digital experiences for the heritage and tourism sector.
Dr Emily Gal, one of their project co-ordinators, 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, with bespoke music created by Lews Castle College UHI music students. The app was tested by numerous community stakeholders including the pupils of Sgoil Bhaile a’Mhanaich and Sgoil Lionacleit, with app content translations provided by Ceòlas Uibhist”.
To download the free app, search for “Uist Unearthed” in the app stores now.
The project was awarded £271,000 as part of a new £5 million Scottish programme of projects to invest in the Highlands and Islands to provide more high-quality opportunities for visitors to enjoy natural and cultural heritage assets. The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund is administered by NatureScot and is part funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The project is also supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Crown Estate Ward Funds and Stòras Uibhist.