The Mute Stones Speak: The Story of Archaeology in Italy

The Mute Stones Speak: The Story of Archaeology in Italy

The Mute Stones Speak: The Story of Archaeology in Italy

The Mute Stones Speak: The Story of Archaeology in Italy

Excerpt

In May of 1945 two young British Army officers, John Bradford and Peter Williams-Hunt, based with the R.A.F. at Foggia in the province of Puglia, near the heel of Italy, found that the World War II armistice left them with time on their hands. Both trained archaeologists, they readily prevailed upon the R.A.F. to combine routine training flights with pushing back the frontiers of science. The result of their air reconnaissance was to change profoundly the archaeological map of Italy.

The value of air-photography for archaeology had long been known; as early as 1909 pictures taken from a balloon had revealed the plan of Ostia, the port of ancient Rome. But the English, especially such pioneers as Major G. W. G. Allen and O. G. S. Crawford, early took the lead in interpreting, on photographs taken usually for military purposes, vegetation-marks showing the presence and plan of ancient sites buried beneath the soil, and invisible to the groundling's eye. Where the subsoil has been disturbed in antiquity by the digging of a ditch, the increased depth of soil will produce more luxuriant crops or weeds; where soil-depth is decreased by the presence of ancient foundations, walls, floors, or roads, the crop will be thin, stunted, lighter in . . .

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