The Aerial Survey and Investigation Team undertake and provide support for projects across the whole of England. Some of our projects cover large areas and are mainly undertaken through the National Mapping Programme. More detailed investigation is targeted in smaller areas where work is needed to highlight important new discoveries, support research or inform specific management issues, often working with other teams from the English Heritage Research Department.
Aerial survey and excavations
Examination of aerial photographs will normally be a part of desk based assessments prior to an excavation, helping to provide accurate interpretative maps as a guide to the placement of trenches. Combining evidence with that from geophysical survey will often provide the most complete picture of buried remains as at Scotland Lodge, near Winterbourne Stoke.
Interpretation and mapping from aerial photographs will also allow excavated sites to be seen in their wider context, a good example being the studies undertaken at Flint Farm as part of the Danebury Environs Project.
Aerial survey to inform landscape management
Sometimes aerial survey can be targeted to sites and landscapes with a specific management issues identified by English Heritage or one of our partner organisations. All available photography is examined and the mapping is usually at a scale of 1:2500 or larger. Stereo photogrammetry or lidar can be used where detailed and accurate plans are required of earthwork sites, as at Cawthorn Camps.
Aerial photography and preliminary mapping can often be part of a first response to unexpected events like the wild fire that devastated 2.4 square kilometres of moorland surrounding many scheduled monuments on Fylingdales Moor. The information can then be used to help target more detailed aerial or ground survey where it is most needed.