Edzell hill forts feature in award-winning film

Kieran Baxter with colleague Alice Watterson and Jan Dalley.
Kieran Baxter with colleague Alice Watterson and Jan Dalley.

A stunning visualisation of two prehistoric Angus hill forts has won a top award for a Dundee film-maker.

Kieran Baxter recreated the Brown and White Catherthuns, near Edzell, to show how the structures might have looked when they were inhabited 2,000 years ago.

‘The Caterthuns’ project won Kieran, a PHd student at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, the 2016 Arts and Humanities Research Council Research in Film Awards Doctoral Award.

Kieran’s work explored how aerial photography and digital technologies could be used to connect the archaeological interpretation of ancient monuments with the surrounding landscapes.

He said: “The Caterthuns are a powerful and enigmatic prehistoric site. They have a serene majesty that is heightened when seen from the air.

“Through aerial photography and digital media the film aims to capture the emotive power of the site as well as its topographical form.”

Kieran used a combination of kites and flights in light aircraft to collect the photographic material of the sites that he needed for the project.

These were then fed into computer software that allowed them to be reconstructed into striking three dimensional images.

The forts face each other about half a mile apart on adjacent hilltops and are enclosed by a series of earthworks. Archaeologists think it likely that they had multiple functions, both military and ceremonial, which may at one time have formed a single site.

Kieran’s film was one of five which were selected from a shortlist of 25 which covered stories from across the world and addressed a wide range of topical subjects from landscape and environmental change to capital punishment, people trafficking, and poverty.

Jan Dalley, Financial Times art director and judging panel chairman, said: “The AHRC’s Research in Film Awards brought a fantastic range of powerful short documentary films of the highest quality and the judges had a really tough job to make their choices.

“Each of the winning films, which tell such amazing stories so well, beautifully illustrate the power of film-making as a medium to capture the importance and impact of research.”

Kieran’s work on The Caterhuns can be viewed online at https://vimeo.com/147173130