Our Goals

The idea behind this website is to create one place to showcase aerial video and images of archaeological sites in the UK and around the world. This is clearly a massive task and so we are relying on volunteers who have a UAV and some flying skills to contribute the content.

Ancient sites are vulnerable to erosion, farming and deliberate destruction. Due to the widespread popularity of drones (sUAV’s), we now have the opportunity to record these sites in more detail. We hope this information might encourage people to visit these amazing sites and also provide a lasting reference of their current state of preservation. It will also allow people to ‘virtually’ visit sites in countries they are unable to visit in person.

We hope that amateur and professional UAV pilots rise to the challenge and use their expertise to contribute footage for this site.

Where to film?

Any site of historic interest. Initially we are looking at Hill Forts, but we will showcase footage from any site from any region if it has archaeological significance. That includes castles, monuments, stone circles, fortifications, tombs etc. To find locations near you, try searching online. In the UK, there is the Oxford University Hill Forts Atlas here. Other monuments in the UK and Worldwide can be found on the Megalithic website here.

What to film?

We’d like to standardise as much as possible. So we are asking for the following shots:

  1. Fly Over. One continuous shot at a height which includes  all the prominent features. It may be necessary to complete a second fly over perpendicular to the first.
  2. Orbital. One continuous shot around the site with the camera facing inwards. At a height to include all prominent features.
  3. Feature (as appropriate). A panning or travelling shot of any special or unique feature. It’s usually fairly obvious if the site has a special feature e.g. exposed banks on a Hill Fort, or special alignment of standing stones. You’ll know it when you see it.
  4. Plan View. A directly overhead photograph taken pointed straight down. Try to get the whole site in one shot, if not then take a series and we can stitch them together. Be aware of the flying altitude restrictions in the area where you are filming.
  5. Walking Shot (optional). Sometimes a site is too overgrown to be viewed from above. Or, it’s features can only be seen properly at ground level. Or, aerial photography is prohibited. A drone is great for handheld filming because the gimbal stabilises the image as you walk along. Give it a try.

Shooting tips: Happy to receive video shot in 4k but 1080p is fine and the file sizes are much smaller. Fly smoothly (obviously) and make any turns/gimbal movements slowly. During editing we normally speed up the footage by 200-300% – otherwise it can mean a very large file and a somewhat unexciting experience for the viewer. This will tend to exaggerate any jerky movements. We will still welcome your submission so don’t worry if it’s a bit bumpy. Try to include something in the shot for scale, yourself for instance. You will get better reception and have a clearer view of your UAV if you stand out in the open with the added benefit of introducing scale to the shot. If you are shy, then a dog works just as well 🙂

Seasons: This is a year-round activity. In Summer the light is fantastic for photography and everything looks great. In the Winter the weather is not so great but many of the features will be easier to see once the ground plants have died back and the trees have no leaves, especially on Hill Forts which are frequently obscured by trees. We are not going to be too fussy.

And then what?

Once you have material to submit, then please get in touch with David at airchaeology@gmail.com

We optimise your movies for the web and upload to Vimeo. We then embed them on the site page at 1920 x 1080 resolution. Still images can be any size or resolution.

Copyright. We have decided to make all material on this site freely available to anyone to use for any purpose. By submitting content to Airchaeology.org you are agreeing to share your content on the same basis. Everything is entirely voluntary.