Aerial Archaeology
GreatArchaeology» Aerial archaeology

Aerial archaeology is the study of archaeological leftovers by examining them from elevation. It is one of the oldest prospecting methods. It is very productive and cheap, Aerial archaeology is frequent opinion that an aerial archaeologist is sitting in an aircraft, trying to discover archaeological sites and to take a few good photographs of them.

To perform aerial archaeology you can also use:

  • Satellite images
  • Thermal images
  • Airborne radar images

The madvantages of gaining a good aerial vision of the ground had been long appreciated by archaeologists as a high viewpoint permits a enhanced appreciation of excellent details and their relationships within the wider site context. During early periods investigators attempted to gain birds eye views of sites by:

  • Hot air balloons
  • Scaffolds
  • Cameras attached to kites

Aerial Archaeology

Following the invention of the aircraft and Aerial photography archaeologists were able to effectively use the technique to find out and record archaeological sites.

Normally the photographs are taken perpendicularly that is, from directly overhead, or obliquely, meaning that they are taken at an angle. In order to provide a three-dimensional effect, an additional, slightly offset, photo may be taken to provide two images with can be viewed stereoscopically. Aerial archaeology helps to choose a more distinct viewpoint, the structures become clearer to you and the pattern becomes comprehensible.

Large sites could for the first time be viewed exactly, in their overall and within their landscape. This aided the production of drawn plans and also stimulated archaeologists to look away from the discrete monument and to appreciate a site's role within its setting. Photos are taken vertically for the purposes of planning and spatial analysis and indirectly to emphasis certain features or give perception. Through the process of Photogrammetry, vertical photos can be converted into scaled plans.

You can also see other methods of archaeology: