Sources: Air-Photography

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


Aerial Archaeology is more than a century old. The first photograph from the air of an archaeological site, Stonehenge, was taken from a balloon in 1906. The First World War gave an enormous impetus to reconnaissance, photography, and air-photo interpretation which was carried over into peacetime by archaeologists who had seen its potential. The subsequent pioneering scientific development between the First and Second World Wars took place in Britain and in the Near East. Work in the latter largely ceased after 1945; there are examples of valuable work though mainly on old survey photographs, but access to these is severely and often entirely restricted almost everywhere. The sole examples of significant activity are in Israel and Jordan, the latter the only country throughout the entire Middle East with an active program of Aerial Archaeology. Fortunately, scholars have increasingly been able to make use of alternative sources of remotely sensed data through the availability of millions of de-classified satellite images of the1960s–1980s and now the increasingly high-resolution imagery on virtual globes such as Google Earth. Sadly, the early promise of a century ago for Aerial Archaeology in the Near East has not been adequately realized and access both to flying and to archives remains unlikely for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the impact of the technique has been demonstrably important.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to the Hellenistic and Roman Near East
EditorsTed Kaizer
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9781119037354
ISBN (Print)9781444339826
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2021

Publication series

NameBlackwell Companions to the Ancient World


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