Archaeology from Historical Aerial and Satellite Archives, 1st Edition

  • William S. Hanson
  • Ioana A. Oltean
  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 1461445051
  • ISBN-13: 9781461445050
  • DDC: 930.1028
  • Grade Level Range: College Freshman - College Senior
  • 341 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2013 | Published/Released November 2014
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2013

  • Price:  Sign in for price



Historical archives of vertical photographs and satellite images acquired for other purposes (mainly declassified military reconnaissance) offer considerable potential for archaeological and historical landscape research. They provide a unique insight into the character of the landscape as it was over half a century ago, before the destructive impact of later 20th century development and intensive land use. They provide a high quality photographic record not merely of the landscape at that time, but offer the prospect of the better survival of remains reflecting its earlier history, whether manifest as earthworks, cropmarks or soilmarks. These various sources of imagery also provide an opportunity to examine from the air areas of Europe and beyond whose skies are still not open to traditional archaeological aerial reconnaissance. Tens of millions of such images are held in archives around the world, but their research potential goes very largely untapped.


A primary aim of this volume is to draw to wider attention the existence, scope and potential access to historical archival aerial and satellite photographs, in order to encourage their use in a range of archaeological and landscape research. By drawing attention to this massive archival resource, providing examples of its successful application to archaeological/landscape questions, and offering advice how to access and utilise the resource, the volume seeks to bring this material to wider attention, demonstrate its huge potential for archaeology, encourage its further use and stimulate a new approach to archaeological survey and the study of landscape evolution internationally.​

Table of Contents

Front Cover.
Half Title Page.
Title Page.
Copyright Page.
List of Figures.
List of Tables.
1: Introduction.
2: A Spy in the Sky: The Potential of Historical Aerial and Satellite Photography for Archaeological Research.
3: Opening Doors: Aerial and Satellite Archives.
4: The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives: A Global Aerial Photographic Collection.
5: Blitzing the Bunkers: Finding Aids – Past, Present and Future.
6: Declassified Intelligence Satellite Photographs.
7: Historical Aerial and Satellite Photographs in Archaeological Research.
8: First World War Aerial Photography and Medieval Landscapes: Moated Sites in Flanders.
9: The Use of First World War Aerial Photographs by Archaeologists: A Case Study from Fromelles, Northern France.
10: Historic Vertical Photography and Cornwall’s National Mapping Programme.
11: The Use of Historical Aerial Photographs in Italy: Some Case Studies.
12: A Lost Archaeological Landscape on the Lower Danube Roman Limes: The Contribution of Second World War Aerial Photographs.
13: The Value and Significance of Historical Air Photographs for Archaeological Research: Some Examples from Central and Eastern Europe.
14: Archaeology from Aerial Archives in Spain and Portugal: Two Examples from the Atlantic Seaboard.
15: Soviet Period Air Photography and Archaeology of the Bronze Age in the Southern Urals of Russia.
16: Historical Aerial Imagery in Jordan and the Wider Middle East.
17: “Down Under in the Marshes”: Investigating Settlement Patterns of the Early Formative Mound-Building Cultures of South-Eastern Uruguay Through Historic Aerial Photography.
18: The Archaeological Exploitation of Declassified Satellite Photography in Semi-Arid Environments.
19: Uses of Declassified CORONA Photographs for Archaeological Survey in Armenia.
20: Pixels, Ponds and People: Mapping Archaeological Landscapes in Cambodia Using Historical Aerial and Satellite Imagery.
21: Integrating Aerial and Satellite Imagery: Discovering Roman Imperial Landscapes in Southern Dobrogea (Romania).