100 year old aerial photographs of Stonehenge to be displayed

100 year old aerial photographs of Stonehenge to be displayed


12 July 2006: Stonehenge aerial views of Stonehenge taken 100 years ago are among dozens of historic and modern aerial photos and illustrations that are on display at Stonehenge next month.

It explores the world of aerial photography in Victorian, Edwardian and wartime Britain, and looks specifically at the contribution that the last 100 years of aerial photography has made to our understanding of 6,000 years of British history and pre-history.

The events have been organised to commemorate the first aerial photographs of Stonehenge and indeed of a British archaeological site taken in 1906 by Lieutenant Philip Henry Sharpe of the Royal Engineers’ Balloon Section, who was based in the Sappers’ Balloon Section located only a mile from Stonehenge. This was where military ballooning and then fixed wing aviation developed, prior to the formation of the Royal Flying Corps in 1912. Six years later, the RAF was formed.

The exhibition, entitled “100 Years of Discovery” is from August 1 to 7 and tells the story of those first photographs. The 1906 photos demonstrated the clarity with which even slight earthworks could be picked out from above and more easily understood.

Dave Batchelor, chief Stonehenge archaeologist at English Heritage, said: “Aerial photography is most useful in helping us understand the human use and development of the landscape around Stonehenge. This detailed understanding is used daily in our management of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and contributes to the enjoyment of the many thousands of visitors every year.”