Aerial Survey (ARC2513)

StaffDr Ioana Oltean - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.50
NQF Level5
  • ARC1020
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

You will develop basic practical competence in air-photo interpretation and mapping, along with a general appreciation of their specific role in reconstructing and understanding past landscapes.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate basic familiarity with the role of aerial photographs in archaeological work (prospection, monitoring and protection; landscape studies).
  • 2. Make informed judgements over the advantages and disadvantages of various types of imagery (oblique and vertical).
  • 3. Demonstrate competence in: identifying archaeological features on various types of aerial photographs.
  • 4. With minimum guidance use stereoscopes and of specific software (e.g. Google Earth; AirPhoto).
  • 5. Read and use conventional and digital maps.
  • 6. Create site plans based on aerial photographic interpretation.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 7. With limited guidance gain competence in the uses of practical data and their interpretation.
  • 8. Employ adequately subject-specific terminology.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. With limited guidance develop a wide range of analytical and observational skills.
  • 10. Develop logical thinking in problem-solving situations.

Syllabus plan

·        Introduction to course; the history of aerial archaeology; maps.                      

·        Identifying archaeological sites from the air.

·        Morphology and classification.                                      

·        Imagery: types and acquisition; oblique aerial photographs.                                                 

·        Imagery: types and acquisition: vertical aerial photographs and satellite imagery.                                              

·        Manual transcription and mapping.:                                

·        Archaeological identification exercise.

·        Digital processing of aerial photographs; mapping 1

·        Digital processing of aerial photographs; mapping 2

·        Aerial archaeology and landscape research and preservation

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching2211 x 2 hour practical sessions/lectures
Guided independent study128Independent study including reading, research and preparation for practical sessions and assignments.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In class testOne hour1-10Written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written report601500 words1-10Written feedback
Essay401000 words1-10Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written reportWritten report 1500 words1-10Refer/Defer period
EssayEssay 1000 words1-10Refer/Defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Bewley, R.H. and Raczkowski, W. 2002: Aerial Archaeology: Developing Future Practice. IOS Press.

Brophy, K. and Cowley, D. 2005: From the Air: Understanding Aerial Archaeology. Tempus.

Riley, D.N. 1987: Air Photography and Archaeology. Duckworth.

Wilson, D.R. 2000: Air Photo Interpretation for Archaeologists (2nd edition), Tempus.

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Origin date

January 2011

Last revision date

January 2013

Key words search

Archaeology, Survey, Aerial photography