AERIAL SURVEY - A DISCIPLINE FOR HERITAGE MANAGEMENT?
Aerial survey is seen by the author as a new approach to archaeology, emerging from the site-based, excavation-orientated methods which have dominated twentieth century archaeology. Its methods and approaches, which are extensive, aiming at breadth, are inclusive of all site types and periods, and are complementary to the developing sub-discipline, of landscape archaeology.
How then do the products of this approach assist in the management (conservation, presentation etc) of the historic environment? Aerial survey produces results (photographs, maps and interpretations) at a variety of scales and levels of intensity; this adaptability allows for each county, state, region or individual researcher to tailor their specific requirements. In England, and generally in Britain, the organisation of archaeological heritage bodies is such that a common sale, and common approach to aerial survey is possible. This paper will explore this approach and the ways in which it might be developed elsewhere, especially as a result of the rapid development of information technology.
RECENT PROJECTS AND COOPERATION IN AERIAL ARCHAEOLOGY: CENTRAL EUROPE
In the post-Cold War period hardly any branch of European archaeology has become so much involved in the international cooperation between single scholars and institutes like the discipline of aerial archaeology. Since the beginning of the 1990's until today the exchange of ideas, experiences and know-how has been regularly practised among specialists from all parts of Europe. Results of different international meetings, conferences, training courses, exhibitions, etc which took place during the last few years, show the raising awareness among archaeologists of the importance of the inclusion of aerial survey and air-photographic documentation into the protection and study of past landscapes. This awareness emerged especially in the countries of the former Soviet bloc in Central Europe as a consequence of two most important factors emerging after the decline of the Iron Curtain:
1 the abolition of the strict ban on air survey and air photography for any purpose, which had existed due to military secret regulations;
2 an extensive boom in building and construction activities after the introduction of unlimited possibilities for free enterprise and market economy, bringing a destruction of quantity of archaeological sites and monuments of various kinds.
Apart from a survey of the most important international activities (including a pilot project supported by the Raphael programme of the European Commission of EU) and their importance of European archaeology the paper will bring ideas on how new projects in Central Europe (especially in Bohemia) have been contributing to the appearance of new quality of archaeological data which, from some point of view, may change our understanding of landscape patterns on the level of local, regional, national and even larger spatial units.
MICROTOPOGRAPHY IN THE INTERPRETATION OF CROPMARKS
In the interpretation of cropmarks, field techniques have tended to focus on the systematic collection of artefacts and on geophysical survey. The surviving surface traces of earthworks, the form of the ground within the site and the exact position - the microtopography - have been comparatively neglected.
Field inspection and analysis of plough-levelled sites provides additional information and increases understanding, especially when integrated with cartographic transcription. It is particularly useful in thematic studies when the conscious choice of position is a significant factor. In England it has been used recently in studies of Roman camps neolithic enclosures, long barrows and flint mines. On the Roman camps it explained the presence or absence of cropmarks, variations in design, and apparent errors in layout. In non-thematic and more extensive studies of geographical areas this analysis can assist in the further definition of newly identified morphological categories, providing increased confidence in classification.
Once the microtopography (site-specific or recurrent) is sufficiently understood in relation to the cultivation it also provides an assessment of condition, particularly as to the likelihood of the preservation of significant stratigraphy. This, in turn, will be a factor in the selection of representative plough-levelled sites for protection and in regimes of mitigation.
AIR SURVEY FROM THE BALTIC TO RIVER THEISS - FIRST RESULTS AND FUTURE PROSPECTS
Recently detected sites in countries of the former 'Eastern Bloc', where archaeological air survey widely was hampered or impossible for almost 50 years, are shown to demonstrate the capability, which this method can have on uncovering archaeological landscapes. Without aerial archaeology being properly installed and employed in states of Central and Eastern Europe and with its results being published and made accessible quickly through modern means, the image of Europe's archaeological past will continue to be considerably out of balance.
THE ROLE OF AERIAL SURVEY IN THE DOCUMENTATION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE SCOTTISH HERITAGE
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland is responsible for the compilation and maintenance of the National Monuments Record for Scotland, an ORACLE-based archive, linked to a nation-wide GIS, covering both the archaeological and architectural aspects of the man-made environment. From the inception of the national aerial survey programme in 1976, its discoveries have formed an integral part of the NMRS, influencing the way in which it has developed. Both as an archive resource and as a prospective tool, aerial survey, as a matter of course, forms part of heritage planning and conservation, encapsulating the interdependence of the landscape and man's impact on it, and forming a particularly valuable link between different agencies.
PIT ALIGNMENTS AND OTHER DITCH SYSTEMS IN WESTERN SAXONY IN EASTERN GERMANY
HARALD STÄUBLE, LANDESAMT FÜR ARCHÄOLOGIE SACHSEN
Some examples regarding pit alignments and other prehistoric ditch systems from the region around Leipzig show the necessary association between aerial archaeology and archaeological excavation. Interpreting archaeological structures from the air by means of their form and in relation to, and as part of, a larger context is as important as to examine these results with the help of excavations.
A good opportunity to cross-check the information gained by aerial archaeology is given in Saxony in the way small and large scale rescue excavations are practised: the complete investigation of selected projects. Excavations on pipelines just give a narrow view into the ground but on long distances up to a hundred kilometres. They are complemented by intensive excavations of large areas made necessary by the opencast coal mining in the region south of Leipzig.
By combining the "non-destructive" aerial archaeology with "destructive" but necessary rescue excavations new understanding is gained. These insights are very helpful to the interpretation of archaeological features as uncovered by excavation. On the other hand the overwhelming number of archaeological structures recognised from the air during the last decade can thus be dated and understood in the larger context of the landscape.
AERIAL ARCHAEOLOGY IN SWEDEN
Today the interpretation of aerial photographs is used for a number of purposes. In the field of archaeology aerial photographs has a long tradition in the UK and Continental Europe. In Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia however, aerial survey and aerial photography are marginal phenomena, in spite of the fat that many parts of Scandinavia are well suited for this technique. A number of successful attempts at applying aerial archaeology in Sweden has been executed in the western and southern of the country. Also projects relying on existing aerial photographs, from the Land Survey archives, have been carried out, for instance in the area of Storsjön in Jämtland.
My presentation will focus on the potential of aerial archaeology in Sweden in the light of some of the projects mentioned and its potential in rescue archaeology.
AERIAL SURVEY IN WALES : MONITORING AND MAPPING WELSH HERITAGE FROM THE AIR
This paper summarises two aspects of Aerial Survey work in Wales, aerial photography of Scheduled Ancient Monuments and air photo mapping of archaeological landscapes, both of which have an important part to play in the management of the Welsh archaeological heritage. Aerial reconnaissance undertaken by the Welsh Royal Commission is organised around the monitoring of Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs), protected sites designated by Cadw, Welsh Historic Monuments, as being of national importance. A single three-hour flight can provide up-to-date information on the form, condition and current landuse of upwards of 40 sites, however remote or inaccessible they may be. This has proven itself to be a powerful and cost-effective management tool. In an annual flying programme of around 70 hours, some 40 hours will be dedicated to SAM photography, with remaining time in the air given to exploratory work and the photography of non-SAM sites.
The paper goes on to explain the increased part that air photo mapping and record creation has to play in the better management and protection of certain upland and plough-levelled lowland archaeological landscapes in Wales. Since its inception in 1995, this computer-based programme of rapid survey has been developed both through in-house work at the Royal Commission, and through regional funding to the Welsh Archaeological Trusts. With examples from recent projects, it will be shown how the comprehensive analysis, interpretation and mapping of features seen on historic vertical and more recent oblique air photographs can better inform future aerial reconnaissance, ground based field work and ongoing development-control work.
THE USE OF AERIAL SURVEY FOR MONUMENT EVALUATION IN ENGLAND
GRAHAM FAIRCLOUGH, ENGLISH HERITAGE
English Heritage's Monuments Protection Programme is engaged in a 15 year review of the English archaeological resource in order to identify appropriate management and conservation regimes, including statutory designation, for the most important and representative examples of each site type.
Much of this work has been carried out from available evidence contained in local government Sites and Monuments Records, using the MPP Monument Class Description (www.eng-h.gov.uk/mpp/mcd) or specially commissioned thematic studies.
Against this background, aerial survey, and its products, are used by MPP in a number of ways which will be discussed in the paper at Goteborg:
- conventional archaeological air-photographs and transcriptions (derived from RCHME's National Mapping Programme) are used to evaluate areas of cropmark archaeology;
- air photos, whether archaeological or commercial, are used for rapid reconnaissance of the survival rates of known distribution of visible sites (for example 1939-45 wartime defence sites) in order to target field work on the best examples;
- comprehensive vertical air photo coverage is one of the principal sources for historic landscape characterisation projects;
- condition/land use monitoring of protected sites as an aid to management, through specially commissioned aerial survey; the EH Monuments at Risk Survey (MARS) has used historic air photos in a similar way to assess rates of decay.