In an innovative exploration of the cultural heritage site in southwest England, the LoGaCulture project, led by Prof. David Millard, Scientific Coordinator of the project and based at the University of Southampton, has been making significant strides towards understanding visitors’ profound connections with this ancient landscape.

The project’s primary goal is to delve into the depths of what visitors find valuable and significant about the cultural heritage site. Traditional questionnaires, though effective for gathering basic demographic data, fall short when it comes to uncovering the more nuanced aspects of visitors’ experiences. Recognizing this, the LoGaCulture project has taken a unique approach, drawing inspiration from cultural probes to construct a more holistic understanding.

Working in collaboration with Portuguese partners at the Interactive Technologies Institute, the project has developed a set of ten eye-catching postcards that visitors can pick up on-site, fill in, and return via a designated drop box. Not only do these postcards serve as a means of gathering valuable insights, but they also double as keepsakes designed to be visually appealing. Each postcard poses thought-provoking questions such as “If the stones could talk, what would they say?” These questions are carefully crafted to encourage visitors to reflect on their experiences in a more profound manner, tapping into the spiritual and historical dimensions of the site.

Additionally, the LoGaCulture project has introduced a sensory map for visitors to use as they explore the cultural heritage site. This on-site activity prompts individuals to mark notable stopping places on a paper map, jotting down observations about what they see, hear, smell, and touch. The map encourages heightened awareness of the surroundings, prompting visitors to identify the most memorable element of their experience. These tools, the postcards, and the sensory map have been available on-site since September 2023. They will remain accessible to the public until April 2024, providing an extended period for visitors to engage with and contribute to the project.

Preliminary analyses of the collected data reveal a recurring theme – visitors often express a profound connection to the spiritual aspect of the cultural heritage site. Many report that the site facilitates a deep connection to the landscape, encouraging contemplation of the layers of history and the countless generations of people who inhabited the land thousands of years before them.

The LoGaCulture project’s pioneering methods highlight the importance of innovative approaches in understanding the multifaceted dimensions of cultural heritage sites. As the project unfolds, it promises to offer valuable insights beyond the surface, enriching our understanding of the deep connections individuals forge with these ancient landscapes.