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AERIAL ARCHAELOGY

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Author Topic: AERIAL ARCHAELOGY  (Read 1360 times)
Bianca
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« on: July 10, 2008, 05:35:53 pm »











                                                      Aerial Archaeology








An aerial archaeologist
searches for cropmarks



By Dave MacLeod,
BBC. UK

Imprinted on the wild landscape of Britain is a rich history, visible not just in the buildings but in the shape of the landscape itself. English Heritage's Dave MacLeod explains how aerial archaeology offers a unique insight into past communities and events.

'What's that? The field of ripe barley at two o'clock, two miles, near the L-shaped wood? Those patterns can't be natural ... too regular. Let's have a closer look ... There! A series of rectangles one with a circle inside. We'll have that. ... Opening window! Wing down a bit! ... more... more... that's great!'

Grab the 35mm camera - photograph the target - reach behind you for the 70mm camera - wait - it's clearer from this angle, photograph it again. Log your position on the GPS, mark up the report form on the knee pad and go back to scanning, as you search for a new target.

All this is what aerial archaeology, or at least the photographic reconnaissance part of it, feels like. Many people are now familiar with the concept of remote sensing - epitomised for most by the geophysical survey. Well, this is remote sensing too and, lets face it, you can't get much more remote than 2,000 feet above ground level, travelling at 90 miles an hour, constantly flicking your eyes between the map in your hand and the landscape below.

'Most archaeologists ... do what they do because they relish the thrill of discovery.'
Aerial archaeology sounds - and is - exciting, but there isn't much glamour about it. The inside of a light aircraft is not roomy, especially a two-seater. After three and a half hours you are aching, tired, and in winter pretty cold, but the payback for this discomfort makes it all worthwhile. Most archaeologists do what they do because they relish the thrill of discovery, and that is one thing that aerial archaeologists get more of than most.

To see below you the unmistakable shape of an unknown Roman camp, emerging in outline under rows of sugar beet, or to pick out subtle earthworks highlighted by the play of light and shadow of the low winter sun, can be an unforgettable experience. For now, though, let's get back down to earth, and consider what it is the airborne archaeologist is looking for.



Published: 2002-10-01
« Last Edit: July 10, 2008, 05:39:08 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.


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