Thursday, 24 May 2012

Publications: Pioneers above Jordan

David L. Kennedy 2012 'Pioneers above Jordan: revealing a prehistoric landscape', Antiquity 86: 474-491.

Percy Maitland (centre) in Iraq c.1925 (Maitland Family Collection).

Aerial photography is so fundamental an instrument of modern archaeology that we often take it for granted. But its methods are surprisingly specific and its most important experimental theatre was probably the territory of the Levant—and especially the rocky terrain of Jordan. The author, a prominent aerial archaeologist of our own day, takes time off to review the achievements of the pioneers, serving officers who established routes over the desert to deliver mail between Egypt and Iraq. The fabulous ancient landscape they discovered could only be appreciated through the lowlevel window provided by these slow-moving rickety machines and their intrepid pilots. In these days of jet travel, the precious basalt landscape is in danger of slipping off the agenda again—both for researchers and conservers.

Full text: Antiquity.co.uk

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