Of all Britain’s ancient monuments, none is better known than Stonehenge so, in June 2013, it was a privilege to be commissioned by English Heritage, through its survey framework agreement, to carry out a new photographic survey of the site and of several outlying features including the 3km long stone cursus.
The main reason for the project was to provide new photographs for publicity rather than technical purposes. The existing visitor centre is soon due to be replaced and English Heritage was keen to obtain a new stock of high quality photos for use on signs, brochures and a variety of other promotional materials. In particular, it wanted images taken from the more unusual aerial perspective where more could be seen of the seldom-seen top sections of the stones. At the same time, SUAVE was asked to shoot photos of the cursus and a series of nearby burial mounds on King Barrow Ridge.
An important challenge was that part of the site required special permission from the Ministry of Defence because the airspace is used by Salisbury Operations and the nearby Boscombe Down aircraft testing site. This was duly achieved, with military operations in that area being suspended for the duration of the survey, and – taking advantage of a gloriously sunny day – the photographs were secured without a hitch.