To create the 3D map of Fort Anne, Fowler loaded airborne LiDAR data into the Surfer package to generate a ‘bare Earth’ terrain model depicting the topography of the area as it exists today, minus vegetation and buildings. Fowler exaggerated the LiDAR elevation values slightly in Surfer to emphasize relief.
Next, the archaeologist obtained a digitized version of a 1706 military map from France’s National Archives showing the fort and nearby town. He overlaid the digital map on the terrain model in Surfer to create a realistic 3D view of Fort Anne shortly after its construction. Fowler repeated the process using a 1753 map from the Library of Congress to depict the site under British rule.
“The 3D map reveals the original layout of buildings within the ramparts and outside the walls in the little town,” said Fowler. “Interestingly, most of the fort’s buildings no longer exist, but some structures still stand today in [the town of] Annapolis Royal and are among the oldest buildings in Canada.”
Detailed interpretation of the 3D model has just begun, and Fowler believes previously unknown facts about Fort Anne and the surrounding landscape may soon be revealed. For example, the terrain data marks several dirt mounds outside the ramparts that could be man-made siege works and encampments built by attacking forces. There are also many 17th and 18th century Acadian villages trapped underground in the area. As he has in the past, Fowler might use the LiDAR-based 3D surface map as a guide to return with Ground Penetrating Radar and investigate what remains hidden beneath the soil in and around this historic landscape.
For more information on Dr. Fowler’s research at Fort Anne, read his articles on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Canada preserved Fort Anne as its first National Historic Site in 1921. The fort’s full story published by Parks Canada may be found here.