Kids, kites, cameras & archaeology

Tuesday 15th October 2013

Archaeology either holds you in its thrall, or you pass it by. But there is one approach that simply takes you by the throat and shakes you. And that is the amazing aerial photography, that is absolutely riveting and is indeed that unavoidably, immense view, whose details cannot hope to be encompassed, even within the proverbial 'thousand words.'

Look at the detail where even Wikopedia has succumbed to the beauty of a Kite aerial photo of the Drove Road, Armadale, West Lothian.   And it is on the West Lothian Archaeological Trust  that kids, kites and cameras seem to come into their own and where you can wander off into its associate Arcland aka where currently invitations are being issued to submit a presentation on "Archaeology in the Woods: New Technologies, New Perspectives" at the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology - CAA 2014 Conference, being held in springtime 22-25 April Paris, France 2014

Or you could settle down to ready the History of Aerial Photography   But, getting back to the kids, kites and cameras, the West Lothian Archaeological Trust as an impressive group members list and is quite happy to offer you a bit of time travel, taking you back to  Dr Alexander Wilson (1714-1786)  his impressive wig and equally impressive his appointment as Regius Professor of Astronomy at Glasgow University whose pioneering work, in 1749, was on the use of kites as an aerial platform

Its indexes include an Armadale archaeology and fascinating sites like ScARF  Do not miss it’s recent images!! And the Scotland story is now downloadable in Gaelic or English!!

The Armadale members list of course includes the Wells family who are its founders, and if you getcurious about any of the other member, for example Kieran Baxter  BA, MSc PhD student at Dundee and tap his PDF link  here you'll find yourself staring down at St Andrews cathedral (wondering where the hell have the Pends got to?)  and noting the wicked Sorrel quote that "A high viewpoint has much to commend it" as well as the Fox truism about "a hint of voyeurism that is almost always implicit in the aerial view that is made from less than a thousand feet from the ground"

Of course if the Ring of Brodgar and Jarlshof are at all alluring, you are not going to escape from the (left) impish Mr Baxter's PDF at all easily!!

However back here at ComputeScotland you must not forget to look at Aerial techniques for children  because this is where you will find the Scottish National Aerial Photography Scheme SNAPS  in all its glory.

"In 2012, terminally ill Trust and Group co-founder, Rosie Wells,  asked for some ofher money to be set aside for funding a pilot project to investigate and introduce cheap, simple, low-level aerial photography techniques to children and students.

"Therefore, as part of our activities, we donate kite aerial photography starter and standard kits to a range of groups and individuals. This pilot project is partly to establish a reliable system for working with children and to encourage the progression to more interesting techniques, such as working in the near infra-red."

The neatest twist to this tale of course is inevitably in its tail!! And that is that while adults are sometimes quite boringly uninterested in "Flying Their Kites" and tend to push the devices as toys towards their children, the children however are ingenious devices in their own right, and those who take up simple low-level aerial photography, curiously enough then seem to be able to manage to lure their pet adults out into the fresh air, bitter wind in your face, and probably even some snow or certainly rain lurking around.

There's nothing it seems that quite equates to flying your kite and then getting to see what pictures that tiny camera eventually took!

If archaeology does it for you, then all other sites probably are probably already listed in the Armadale catalogue (just discover the Rhynie Environs project "Wow!"  it reads "I am not directing an excavation again without a kite photographer on hand at all times - for cropmark sites this technique is invaluable!! This is an example of the kite pictures our Icelandic trench supervisor Oskar has been taking over the last week")

But just in case they were overlooked and may be worth wandering past are Archaeology WalesSaveock Water Archaeology,  and of course Archaeology Scotland 

Here the Scottish deadline for the next published issue of DES Discover and Excavation by the way is 25th November and, oh yes, you can now, in October, buy Christmas cards, either Gardner's friend or Woodland sunset!! 

Why don't Christmas cards ever seem to have an archaeological slant to them?

Any of the ones here would do brilliantly!! 



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