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AERIAL ARCHAELOGY

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Author Topic: AERIAL ARCHAELOGY  (Read 1264 times)
Bianca
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« on: July 10, 2008, 06:01:50 pm »



An aerial photograph of the Yorkshire Wolds
showing a funnel arrangment










Photographic interpretation



But aerial archaeology is about much more than just flying about taking photographs - in some ways that is the easy part. There would be no point taking pictures if they were just catalogued, filed and forgotten. To really understand what they contain, the photographs have to be studied and interpreted to extract as much archaeological information as possible. This is where experience, archaeological knowledge and often common sense come into play. Like field archaeologists, aerial photograph interpreters need a broad general knowledge of the processes, natural and human, that shape the landscape.

' Thousands of Iron Age square barrows (burial sites), hundreds of farmsteads and settlements, droveways, tracks and field systems were among the sites mapped.'

Of course it doesn't end there. The real advantage of aerial archaeology is in the overview that can rapidly be achieved by mapping the archaeology interpreted from the photographs. Mile after mile of previously hidden landscapes can be revealed by careful interpretation and mapping. A terrific example of this is the work done on the Yorkshire Wolds by the former Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Today this rolling chalk upland is covered in arable fields, and apart from a few medieval village remains and a scattering of prehistoric earthworks, it is hard to see anything much of archaeological interest.




Excavating in the Yorkshire Wolds


Only when it was mapped from tens of thousands of aerial photographs in the 1980s could we see the incredible extent of the late prehistoric and Roman remains that lay buried beneath all those cereal crops. Thousands of Iron Age square barrows (burial sites), hundreds of farmsteads and settlements, droveways, tracks and field systems were among the sites mapped. The worth of this and subsequent mapping projects has been shown many times over, and first-level mapping is now being carried out for all of England, county by county, as part of the National Mapping Programme of English Heritage.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2008, 06:07:11 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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


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