Aerial Archaeology Bursaries

Location: Italy | Armenia | Romania | Jordan | Poland | Hungary | Romania | Scotland

Subject: Archaeology

Dates: 1995 – 2011

Related ACE Cultural Tours: Archaeology Tours


The AARG exists to make Aerial Archaeology possible and useful in Europe. It is primarily concerned with training students and professionals in the field as to the uses of the method. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information for all those actively involved in aerial photography, photo interpretation, field archaeology and landscape history. This also includes the use of aerial photography in defining preservation policies for archaeological sites and landscapes.

Project History

The once-British but now pan-European Aerial Archaeology Research Group (AARG) members have developed a number of different schools, their first located in Hungary. This school brought together tutors, pilots and students from countries across Europe for a first experience of active aerial survey, photo-interpretation and mapping. Many of the students have since become leaders in the growing “network” of aerial archaeologists across Europe.

Further schools and workshops were instated and students all over Europe were able to enjoy aerial experience and instruction in the ground-based processes which enable aerial exploration to make its special contribution to archaeological research, education and conservation.

One of the schools was in Siena and in 2001 its work was linked to a Culture 2000 project of the European Union. This prompted the writing of the first Italian-language manual on exploratory air survey, a vital step in a country where a change in the law had only recently freed archaeologists to start using this most effective of exploratory techniques in their study of the ancient sites and landscapes of Italy.

Another initiative in 1997, led over the years to a series of aerial archaeology expeditions to Jordan by Robert Bewley from the UK and David Kennedy from Australia. In 2006 this culminated in the publication of a splendid book on Ancient Jordan from the Air (Kennedy and Bewley, British Academy, London). In 2007 this continuing programme saw the first of a series of workshops that in the coming years will foster aerial survey by archaeologists from Jordan and the surrounding countries.

The Poznań workshop is one of the final events in a £600,000 programme of aerial survey, research and events made possible by a Culture 2000 project of the European Union under the title of European Landscapes: Past, Present and Future.

Since its foundation in 1980, AARG has actively encouraged such exchange through its annual conference, specialist meetings, and more recently, through its biannal publication of its newsletter, AARG news.

Project & ACE

With such a strong archaeological history ACE was very keen on the AARG projects and ACE’s financial aid has been invaluable to AARG’s work. The list below is of specific projects ACE has supported over the years.

• Training – Hungary – 1995 – Aerial Surveys

• Training – Hungary – 1995-1996 – Aerial Surveys

• Training – Poland – 1997 – Training School

• Training in Sienna – Italy – 2000 – Prep Study and Training school

• Training – Jordan – 2000 – Travel

• Training – Armenia – 2001 – 2002 – Training School in Armenia and Trainers

• Training in Foggia – Italy – 2002 – Aerial Archaeology

• Book Publishing – Italy – 2002 – Printing of colour book

• Research Group Programme Italy – 2003, 2004, 2005 – Aerial Archaeology Training

• Manual of Aerial Survey for Italy – Italy – 2004 – Publication of handbook: Flights into the Past: air photography and mapping for archaeology), by Chris Musson, Rog Palmer and Stefano Campana (Insegna del Giglio, Firenze)

• Wings over Armenia – Armenia – 2005 – Research

• Survey and Training – Romania – 2007 – First Aerial Surveys

• Bursaries for Students and Young Researchers – Scotland – 2007, 2008, 2009 – Bursaries to attend conferences and workshops

• From Archives to Applications – Worldwide – 2010 – Publication on uses of Historic Aerial Photographs for archaeology, landscape history and related disciplines comparing European, North American, African and Middle Eastern perspectives on aerial archaeology.

• Manual of Aerial Survey, Internet Publication – Italy – 2011 – .

• Ughtasar Rock Art Project -Armenia – 2011 – .