Europe has a rich but seriously under-exploited inheritance of aerial photographs from the last eighty years, documenting the dramatic landscape transformations of recent decades and containing a wealth of information about as yet unknown (and therefore unprotected) landscape features and archaeological sites from the more distant past.
The very existence of these archives, which are scattered throughout large and small institutions across Europe, is often hardly known in the broader heritage field and their potential for landscape and archaeological studies remains largely un-assessed.. The project will compile at least a preliminary guide to the existence and possible heritage value of these archives. It is recognized, however, that the full exploitation of these archives is a task which will stretch far beyond the lifetime of the present project.
A particularly rich resource lies in the millions of air photographs for all parts of Europe, from World War II onwards, that have recently become accessible in Edinburgh through one of the key partners in the ArchaeoLandscapes project. A key objective, both for the curators of this archive and for other members of the project, will be to help this archive to play a more effective role in heritage documentation and conservation across Europe as a whole.
Students and professional, predominantly from eastern and south-eastern Europe, will visit the Edinburgh archive for periods of 1-3 months to carry out initial identification, geo-referencing and assessing the potential of un-catalogued parts of the collection and documenting previously unrecognized heritage sites and landscapes with a view to their better understanding and (hopefully) long-term conservation. The cataloguing work will also enable significant parts of the collection to be added to the archive's growing image database available on the Internet.
The many topics related to the issue of mapping, securing a better accessibility and exploitation of air-photo archives will be discussed during technical meetings, and promoted also during international conferences.
Working Package leader:
Dave Cowley (RCAHMS)