Archaeological Air Photography

Ref: C2343657

Archaeological Air Photography is a powerful tool in the archaeologists arsenal in terms of site discovery and imaging. We shall look at the development of the process, why we can see the remains of archaeological sites and how the information is used. The process of flying sorties, capturing images on different media and using natural light and time to enhance data capture.The course will contain many air photographs to illustrate the points being made across chronological and geographical boundaries. Students will also be encouraged to look at "Google Earth" and look for archaeological sites in areas they know.

Course aim

This course will introduce the technique of Archaeological Aerial Photography to students. We will look at what it is, why it works and what it can show. We will examine the development of the process and examine it's uses today.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: and
  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Outline the development of Air photography, what fueled it's development?
  • Describe what processes are involved in the development of crop-marks.
  • Show what other processes contribute to the development of non-crop archaeological marks.
  • Explain how air photographic data is used.
  • List other forms of flying vehicles which capture air imagery.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit:

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will be able to keep a record of your progress and achievement using photos, audio, text or documents uploaded into the WEA’s digital learning platform, WEA Canvas.
  • Your tutor will provide written, text and audio feedback recorded in WEA Canvas, WEA’s digital learning platform.

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit:
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • You will have access to course resources and links to wider learning through the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas:
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Martyn Barber, A History of Aerial Photography and Archaeology, 2011, English Heritage Swindon. David Wilson, Air Photo Interpretation for Archaeologists, 2000, Tempus Gloucester. S S Frere & JKS St Joseph, Roman Britain from the Air,1983, Cambridge University Press.

What can I do next?

  • Next steps might include accessing air photographs of students local areas, looking on "Google Earth" to find local archaeological sites as well as looking for well-known sites overseas.

Download full course information sheet

Archaeological Air Photography


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2020
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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