Aerial Archaeology Examples


Why Use Aerial Archaeology?


Person walking among scattered and somewhat linear stones.

To see what this person cannot see from ground-level, CLICK HERE
(Source: Aerial Archaeology Newsletter website).

With an aerial perspective, it is obvious that these stones were aligned into a large grid, possibly to outline food gardens, and over time, the overall arrangement is still visible. This example clearly shows what can be missed If aerial surveys are not used in archaeological prospecting (Source: Aerial Archaeology Newsletter website).


 


Photo on the left is an example of a Prehistoric pueblo site, seen from ground level. Photo on the right is an aerial view of the same site, which now shows the layout of the pueblo ruins. (Source: Aerial Archaeology Newsletter website, Photo: Tom Baker, 1996).



Example of cropmarks from American Southwest


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Aerial view of a Prehistoric pueblo in the Chama Valley of north-central New Mexico. Although grass, trees and brush are growing all over the site, none is growing over the walls and roomblocks themselves, which creates the strong visual contrast of the pueblo layout. (Source: Aerial Archaeology Newsletter website, Photo: Tom Baker, 1996).



Example of negative cropmarks from Austria


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This photo is from Stroegen, Lower Austria. The concentric rings in the photo are ditches, from the middle Neolithic (Source: Aerial Archive, University of Vienna).



Example of cropmarks from Musov, Moravia

 


Two views from Musov, Moravia. The image on the left shows crops viewed from the surface. The image on the left shows remains of a building complex that was made of wooden walls (arrow pointing to cropmarks). It would be very easy to overlook this site If not for aerial photography (Source: Aerial Archive, University of Vienna).



Example of negative cropmarks from a Gallo-Roman villa, Burgundy, France


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This is a photo of a Gallo-Roman villa that was discovered by aerial survey in 1979, and is located in an area where Gallo-Roman pottery was located, but the nature and extent of the site was not evident from the ground. This is considered to be a large Roman villa, around 100m per side, and the outline of individual rooms can be seen. The walls were constructed of cement and stone, and are currently around 60cm below the current surface. Individual rooms served as workshops, granaries, living quarters, as well as many other uses (Source: GIS and Remote Sensing for Archaeology, Burgundy, France website).

Example of color-infrared photography in the Arenal Region, Costa Rica



This CIR photo shows footpaths used by the Maya in the Arenal Region of Costa Rica. Using dating techniques and excavation, it was determined that there were two time periods of usage for the footpaths, with the earliest usage around 2500 B.P. These faint lines could only be seen in open pasture.


(Click on photo for large view).

Color-infrared photo showing three footpaths which connect a prehistoric cemetery beneath the forest canopy at the top of the photo, with a natural spring beneath the forest canopy at the lower end of the photo (Source: NASA Archeological Remote Sensing website).