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Flying High with SUMO Aerial-Cam!

Updated: Jan 31

As a pioneer within the Aerial Survey (UAV/Drone) industry, SUMO’s Aerial Survey Director Adam Stanford has had pivotal involvement in several well-known projects over the last 15 years, with his company Aerial-Cam.

Adam joined the SUMO Group in January 2020. This allowed him to expand upon his already successful list of projects and enable him to offer Aerial-Cam clients a more extensive range of services.

SUMO Aerial-Cam

Here’s a look at some of Aerial-Cam’s key projects.

The Stonehenge Riverside Project - 2006 - 2010

Aerial photograph of Stonehenge

Above: Aerial photograph of Stonehenge taken by Aerial-Cam during The Stonehenge Riverside Project.

The Stonehenge Riverside Project was a major Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded archaeological study of the Stonehenge landscape in Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain. Among the discoveries were a previously unknown stone circle now called Bluestonehenge and several Neolithic Houses at Durrington Walls. The project concluded that Stonehenge was built to unify the people of the period from diverse parts of the UK.

This is the project that really kicked off Aerial-Cam. It was the first significant project to employ many new techniques such as low-level aerial photography and photogrammetry. A book, Stonehenge: Making Sense of a Prehistoric Mystery, is illustrated with many of Adam’s images from his time on the project.

The Stones of Stonehenge Project (2011 - 2023)

Aerial Photograph of Bluestonehenge Quarry

Above: Aerial Photograph of Bluestonehenge Quarry captured by Aerial-Cam in 2014.

Following on from the previous project, Adam has been working on The Stones of Stonehenge Project since 2011. This focuses on the quarry sites in Wales where the bluestones used at Stonehenge originated. Combining many different disciplines including geology, archaeology, geophysics, aerial survey and lots of scientific analysis, the projects aims to work out where the quarried stones were used prior to being transported to the Stonehenge landscape. The team are about to publish an article in Antiquity about Bluestonehenge and the discovery of a large stone circle in the Preseli Hills, which was dismantled, for the construction of Stonehenge. The field work is ongoing with Adam providing aerial survey so that geophysics and excavation can be targeted on possible evidence, as well as recording the findings.

Rapa Nui Landscapes of Construction (2009 - 2015)

Photograph taken during the Rapa Nui Landscapes

Above: Photograph taken during the Rapa Nui Landscapes of Construction project by Aerial-Cam.

This was a multi-University project led by UCL looking at Rapa Nui (Easter Island) one of the most remote inhabited places on the planet. Famous for its Moai stone statues, the new Rapa Nui Landscapes of Construction Project took a holistic approach in placing the statues and associated monumental structures in the context of the wider landscape of settlement and cultivation. It also concentrated on the processes of construction, with an emphasis on quarries. Adam did five field seasons here, conducting Photogrammetry of the Landscape, Moai quarries and the monuments they were transported to and erected upon.

Aerial Survey data collected on Rapa Nui

Above: Aerial Survey data collected on Rapa Nui by Aerial-Cam

Further work

Adam has also recorded archaeology and heritage sites on Orkney with National Geographic and in Tunisia and Qatar with the National Museum Services. More overseas projects are in the pipeline. Day to day in the UK, he is concentrating on landscape surveys for development/infrastructure projects. This includes historic building recording for organisations such as the National Trust.

Aerial-Cam’s data and imagery are consistently published in Current Archaeology, Current World Archaeology, British Archaeology and many academic papers magazines, newspapers and books. The February 2020 edition of Current Archaeology contains Adam’s imagery supporting two separate articles on a Neolithic burial monument in Anglesey and an Anglo-Saxon site in South Yorkshire.

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