Archaeology from the Air, the photographs of Charles and Anne Lindbergh
October 26, 2015 9:08 PM   Subscribe

In 1929, two years after his historic solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne photographed archaeological sites in the American Southwest and Mayan sites in Central America (Google books preview) as a side-gig while Charles helped set North America air mail routes. Almost 80 years later, Erik Berg re-visited those same Southwestern sites, as seen in the exhibition Oblique Views: Archaeology, Photography, and Time (media bank) and book Oblique Views: Aerial Photography and Southwest Archaeology.

The Lindbergh's explorations were early in the history of "aerial archaeology," when the practice was still in its infancy. It was a few decades after Stonehenge was photographed from the air by balloon, but still decades ahead of the increasing use of aerial photography for archaeology after World War II (Google books preview).

Around 200 of the Lindberghs' photos were archived at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe, largely forgotten until Erik Berg contacted the museum to research the history of Transcontinental Air Transport. Another way to see the changes in the decades since the Lindberghs took their observational flights is to compare their gear, this Graflex Model RB camera (Camerapedia) that they used in both 1929 expeditions with the array of gadgets used by Berg and company to re-capture the same views.
posted by filthy light thief (4 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Bonus link of vintage news coverage: Lindbergh Discovers Additional Ruins of Maya Civilization in Jungles of British Honduras (scan and OCR/transcription of a 1929 Cornell Daily Sun article).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:18 PM on October 26, 2015

Super cool! Amazing how little these have changed. Erosion takes so long to do its thing.
posted by Windopaene at 9:22 PM on October 26, 2015

Atari leap.
posted by Mblue at 9:36 PM on October 26, 2015

Stone Temple Pilots
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:37 AM on October 27, 2015

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