Aiding Archæology from the Air

O.G.S. Crawford (Mr. Crawford is Archaeology Officer of the Ordnance Survey and Editor of “Antiquity.”)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Publication date: 1 May 1929


FOR some years now air‐photography has been acknowledged as a most valuable accession to archaeological research. It has often been said, and with justice, that for the excavation of an ancient site an air‐photograph is practically a necessity. The reason for this is that, when seen from above, the plan of an archaeological site is revealed in a way which is impossible for an observer on the ground. The actual process differs according to the character of the ground itself. Ancient ruins consist either of earthworks, such as banks and ditches, or of foundations of masonry. In either case, the plan appears to a ground observer as a confused jumble that, when seen from above, is revealed for what it really is. Archaeologists have not many opportunities for flying themselves, at any rate in England, where this new branch of study originated and where it has been developed to a far greater extent than abroad. The pilot naturally has other things to think about when he is flying, and it has been suggested that a few words of explanation might be of interest to readers of Aircraft Engineering. There is a fine field here for the owner of a light aeroplane who might welcome some excuse for cross‐country flying, other than the obvious ones. Old England seen from the air is a book that has as yet only been half‐opened; there are still immense possibilities. In order to bring out some of the ways in which air‐photography works, I have described in this article a few typical air‐photographs of sites in Sussex.


Crawford, O. (1929), "Aiding Archæology from the Air", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 1 No. 5, pp. 166-168.

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Copyright © 1929, MCB UP Limited

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