World War One Aerial Photography and Archaeology (2004-2009)

World War One Aerial Photography. An Archaeological Perspective, PhD research Birger Stichelbaut

Anaglyph stereo image of a WWI field fortification based on aerial photographs (use red-green stereo glasses to view)
Anaglyph stereo image of a WWI field fortification based on aerial photographs (use red-green stereo glasses to view)
During World War One, for the first time, aerial photography rapidly developed as an intelligence tool that saw large scale application by all fighting nations. Huge numbers of these photographs have survived in archives all over Europe, the United States and even Australia. These are a remarkable primary record of the progress of World War One, but are also a unique record of the landscape at the beginning of the 20th century and a valuable source of data for archaeologists, landscape historians or cultural resource managers.

This doctoral research by Birger Stichelbaut describes the results of a largescale archival research project that has created a GIS-based index to the geographic coverage of this imagery, supported by a quantification and characterisation of these collections. Beyond the overview of the archives, a methodology is developed how to process the photographs from a contact print in the archive to an analysis of a front sector.

The aerial photographs and the developed methodology are tested in a large case study that illustrates the potential applications of this material for both traditional and conflict archaeology of World War One.

Contact

Dr. Birger Stichelbaut

Prof. dr. Jean Bourgeois