Laser scanning technology used by geologists is being employed by Atlantic Productions for its upcoming Nat Geo archaeological series Time Scanners.

The production company used Lidar scanning equipment developed by Leica Geosystems to build accurate models of ancient sites including Machu Picchu in Peru and Petra in Jordan.

“It’s the next stage for archaeology programmes,” said Atlantic Productions chief executive Anthony Geffen.

“We are not speculating anymore; this technology allows us to see every little mark that can’t be seen by the naked eye.

“It is so accurate that we can answer questions from experts on site.”

Geffen said Atlantic was keen to continue using the technology in other “modern world” settings, and said the data would lend itself to 3D productions.

Atlantic Productions worked with its computer animation and visual effects subsidiary Zoo, which developed software to read the “extraordinary” point cloud data produced by the Lidar system.