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Balloon Photography and Archaeological Excavation

  • P. L. O. Guy (a1)

It is a great help to the understanding of a piece of country, a town or a building to get to some high point in the vicinity and look down upon it, and the more nearly vertical one's point of view the more accurate is one's impression. In the ‘nineties, as a boy, I used to spend hours at the top of the spire of Rouen Cathedral gazing down upon the city below, and it was only a step from this to record such a view photographically; but it was some time before I took my first truly vertical photograph.

About 1904, a friend who was engineer on the construction of the Rothesay Dock near Glasgow asked me to photograph for him the concrete foundations of a part of this dock: I could not get a proper view of these from anywhere on the ground, so I asked if I might utilize a great crane which stood nearby. It was probably against all the rules of the Clyde Trust, but I was thereupon swung high in the air over my subject, and plate 1 shows the result obtained with a no. 2 Bullseye Kodak.

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1 While the balloon itself was admitted into Palestine free of duty, under the regulations governing the facilities granted by the Palestine Government to Archaeological Expeditions, I have been officially informed that ‘Exemptions accorded to Archaeological Societies are not held to cover the importation of Hydrogen’. The cost is thus increased considerably, for we have been obliged to pay duty at 12% not only on the gas itself but on the cylinders, and also on the freight and insurance of each consignment.

2 Published as fig. 10 in Oriental Institute Communication no. 9. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1931. $1).

3 This balloon is spherical. Mr Brewer has since suggested that a ‘sausage’ would work just as well, and would require a much smaller shed. I agree.

4 Lamon is trying to get hold of a magneto to replace this : it would never run down, and would enable us to release the shutter merely by turning a handle. About 15 volts would suffice.

5 This must be sparrow-proof and mouse-proof.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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