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Transactions of the Symposium on Photo Interpretation

ihren Charakter verraten. Somit werden umfangreiche neue Erkentnisse verschiedener Arten
archäologischer Denkmale gesammelt, wie z.B. “Chaussee-Lager”, Cursus und Sakral-stätten
oder “henges” der neolithischen und Beaker-Perioden, Bronzezeit-Hünengräber, Hügel-
Befestigungen und Niederlassung-en der Eisenzeit, Reste militärischer und ziviler Zonen des
römischen Britannien in ihrer grossen Buntheit, sowie die verlassenen Städte und Dörfer,
die Befestigungen und Sakral-bauten des Mittelalters.
Air photographs disclose familiar landscapes from an unfamiliar point of
view. In the bird’s-eye view provided by an aircraft the pattern of a country
side appears spread out like a map, and the dimension of height becomes of less
apparent importance. The pattern includes major natural features, like rivers
and rock-formations, and minor man-made details resulting from land utili
zation and human settlement. Much of the value of air photographs arises
from the fact that they are capable of showing, often in the finest detail, featu
res of a landscape which maps do not record. A good air photograph will show
not only the present state of a landscape, but many stages of its long develop
ment by nature or man. The value of this to geographers and geologists has
long been known, but the value of air photographs for the study of antiquity is
just as great, because many aspects of human history can be explored from the
air more easily than in any other way.
The whole study of antiquity gains from the application of air photography
to its problems. The geographical reasons for the choice of historic sites can be
presented and displayed in air photographs in comprehensive views unobtain
able on the ground, and there is no better way of demonstrating the control
imposed by geography upon human affairs. The growth of towns and villages
as reflected in their plans can be studied in air photographs better than in maps
or ground views. Further, in countries long occupied by man, the structures
representing his earlier activities have become abandoned, or forgotten, or
obliterated in later ages.
When these remains comprise substantial works in earth or stone, such as
medieval castles or abbeys, visible features may leave little doubt of their nature
and purpose: yet the structural character of such buildings and their relation
ship to their surroundings can be demonstrated from the air in a comprehen
sive fashion unattainable at similarly close quarters on the ground. The sites
are known of villages existing in the eleventh century, but now extinct. Some
times they are still plain to see, but the slight mounds and hollows which mark
them are best comprehended from air photographs. In earlier epochs, the
visible earthworks of prehistoric times or of the Roman period and the Dark
Ages are often difficult to interpret. Air photography is capable of affording a
better understanding of these and of discovering others: it can throw unknown
earthworks into visible relationship with other remains and so enable them to
be classified and interpreted.
There are, however, innumerable smaller works of which no surface trace now
remains. Ever since primitive man started to dig foundations for buildings in
timber or stone, to make holes for storage or shelter, and to till fields, he has
left his mark upon the earth’s surface, and continues to do so at an increasing rate.