British Collection Highlights:

O.G.S. Crawford's Flight Log

The Ashmolean Museum's British collections contain a curious item which once belonged to O.G.S. Crawford; a miniature drawing board with brass fittings, engraved with various scales and incorporating a magnetic compass. The paper roll on this drawing board contains the flight logs for three consecutive flights undertaken to record archaeolgoical monuments in the field on 27 and 28 May 1924.

The first flight lasted about 20 minutes with only 4 photographs being taken. The next morning, the second flight lasted 84 minutes and then that same evening Crawford flew for another 30 minutes. In all 26 aerial photographs were taken of various sites, including:

  • Quarley Hill hillfort
  • Durrington Walls henge monument
  • Ebsbury
  • Grovely Castle hillfort
  • Amesbury Down
  • The Stonehenge Avenue
  • Overton Down

The flights recorded in this log were amongst the first undertaken by Crawford, in partnership with Alexander Keiller, flying in an Avro trainer aeroplane which was piloted by Captain Gaskell. For these flights they flew out of Old Sarum in Wiltshire, recording archaeological sites in the surrounding area. This flight log records some of the first flights undertaken for the purpose of archaeological aerial photography.

The drawing board itself is interesting since the design appears to have originated from cavalry sketching boards which were designed to be used by the army on horseback during the late nineteenth century.

Click to enlarge

One of Crawford's Manuscript Rolls (Ashmolean Museum Collections)

Crawford's Manuscript Roll (Ashmolean Museum Collections)

Further Information

MacGregor, A. 'An aerial relic of O.G.S. Crawford', Antiquity, 74, 283 (2000), 87-100.

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Christine Edbury
January 2012