Introducing Monument Monitor, a citizen heritage science project

Bringing our series of blogs for BSW2019 to a close, is Rosie Brigham who describes a new ‘citizen science’ research project taking place as a collaboration between Historic Environment Scotland and University College London.

Author: Rosie Brigham

Research partners: Institute of Sustainable Heritage (UCL), Historic Environment Scotland

This spring marks the start of a new collaborative research project between Historic Environment Scotland and University College London. Entitled “Monument Monitor”, the aim of the project is to assess how to what extent visitors’ photographs can be used for remote condition monitoring. Visitors to selected properties will find signs prompting them to take photographs of specific aspects of the site and then email/message/tweet or instagram their image with the hashtag #MonumentMonitor.

Trailed last year on Machrie Moor and Holyrood House Palace this crowdsourcing project has already brought in some interesting results. Images of the famous stone circles on Arran were submitted over the period of a year, which enabled conservators to better visualise groundwater levels of the site alert them to an incident of vandalism. Previous work has ascertained that, with enough submissions, photographs from modern camera phones can accurately measure colour. With this in mind, we hope to ascertain to what extent we can use this method to measure biofilm growth, erosion and soiling at other sites.

One of the signs placed at Achnabreck, a Neolithic Rock Art site in west Scotland

Over the next few months the project will be rolled out across a number of HES properties including, Kilmartin Glen, Lochranza Castle, Rothesay Castle, Drumtrodden and Ness of Burgi to name but a few. If you are in the area and fancy trying your hand at citizen science, grab your camera, take a snap and tag it with #monumentmonitor!

Anyone can be a scientist armed with a phone

Follow the progress of the experiment on instagram @monumentmonitor or through updates on the website,


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