Aerial Archaeology in Armenia

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Aerial Archaeology in Armenia
Wings Over Armenia
By Charles Jones

In 2002, ACE and the British Academy funded the launch of Wings over
Armenia. The project aim is to support Armenian science and the
introduction and development of aerial archaeology in Armenia. The
first stage of the project took place in June 2002 when Rog Palmer and
Hayk Hakobyan conducted ground reconnaissance of an area identified
for study from the air. The aerial exploration itself was planned to
take place in late-September and October 2002. At the time, Wings over
Armenia had virtually no equipment to carry out its intended work.
Fortunately the project was discovered by the British Council, an
organization disseminating the United Kingdom’s experience and
creative vision in science, arts and education. The British Council
Office in Yerevan responded generously to a plea for funding and
enabled the scientists to acquire a two-person paramotor (powered
parawing) for aerial exploration.

Wings over Armenia is a pioneering programme within the states of the
former Soviet Union. Its first stage will include systematic aerial
survey and photography of the Kasach gorge area – 400 sq km of
foothills and plains 20 km northwest of Yerevan. The project area
includes known sites dating back as far as the Bronze Age, along with
features such as field systems and road networks that can be
effectively recorded from the air. Another element of the programme
will be field visits to possible sites detected on 1970s satellite
imagery [links to publications in AARGnews and Eurisy], and during the
project’s own aerial survey. Results from Wings over Armenia will thus
add immediately to the knowledge already known to Armenian
archaeologists through field investigation and excavation.
Aerial photographs taken during this first programme of survey will be used to:

supplement knowledge about known sites;

record new archaeological sites and landscapes;

geo-reference and map the recorded features; and

establish the beginnings of an archive of Armenian aerial imagery.