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The Past From Above: Aerial Photographs of Archaeological Sites 1st Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0892368174
ISBN-10: 0892368179
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Editorial Reviews

Review

It is from above, usually with the aid of evening light, long shadows and snowfalls, that the past seems to leap into life ... the result is a glorious book ... George Gerster's photographs are both revelations of the past and works of beauty in themselves -- Simon Jenkins Sunday Times ... extraordinary album of views ... all the proudest works of man lie spread out before the reader Independent If Kubla Khan had a library in Xanadu, he'd have kept this book on permanent display -- Andrew Motion Guardian --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author


In addition to his work as an aerial photographer, Georg Gerster is a journalist who has contributed to many books and scientific magazines.

Charlotte Tr:umpler is the head of the Archaeological Collection of the Ruhrlandmuseum Essen.
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Product Details

  • Series: Getty Trust Publications: J. Paul Getty Museum
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892368179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892368174
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 1.5 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,697,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By I. W. Gittleman on June 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is more than a 'coffee table' book.

It consists of 249 photographs from around the world -- all archeological (and many world heritage) sites.

It's uniqueness is this: There are large sharp color photographs as well as duplicate small color photographs.

Appended to the smaller photographs is a signed discussion and description which, while succinct, is comprehensive and satisfactory.

I have not seen a book like this one. Both the photographs, the worldwide areas covered, and the text are very fine.

Strongly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Exceeded expectations. The views were unexpectedly revealing, and the written descriptions of each view were also unexpectedly revealing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to review the wonder of human kind's imprint on the earth, enjoy this book. If you want to wonder at the uses of the earth's treasures to show creativity and genius spend time with this book. That these architectural remains can be seen from the air in entirety is made possible by Georg Gerster's incredible artistry.
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Format: Paperback
Aerial photographs began being taken in the mid-19th century, from tethered hot-air balloons, but it was a very iffy business. Among other things, the balloon gondola had to include a darkroom because the glass plates of the time couldn't wait the photographer to return to earth. The invention of the airplane in the early 20th century made things much simpler in a technical sense, but more complicated when it came to politics and borders. Most of the earliest aerial photos of archaeological sites were a byproduct of World War I reconnaissance flights, and some of the first locations surveyed no longer exist at all, or not in their earlier form. You'll find all the details of this early history in an introductory chapter, along with Gerster's reminiscences of his own often hair-brained aeronautical adventures with a camera. (No, he never acquired a pilot's license.)

The main section of this large, heavy, glossy book is organized into ten topical chapters covering settlement types, royal residences, fortifications, battlefield, cemeteries and gravesites, sacred sites, monumental carvings in the land itself, and natural resources, with two more chapters on the scourge of looting and on sites later lost to dams and such, or saved at practically the last minute. There's a final chapter on the rescue of the statues at Aswan, which Gerster documented for the National Geographic Society. Altogether, there are some 250 large-format color photos of subjects ranging from famous places like the Athenian Acropolis, the Great Wall of China, Avebury, and Temple Mount in Jerusalem, to much less well-known ones like the prehistoric settlement of Yoshinogari on Kyushu, the Sigiriya palace in Sri Lanka, the Blythe Giant in southeast California, and the ancient Tell Brak in Syria.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a Western European I have a standard set of Icons from the past: Notre Dame, the Forum in Rome, the Acropolis, Stonehenge, Chartres, and so on. What this book does is throw open a door to the multitude of treasures, so many outside Europe, which in my experience do not feature in the standard view of the past. The planet is riddled with magnificent creations and this book goes some way towards illuminating them.
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Format: Hardcover
The pictures are spectacular, giving you another perspective on nearly every major monument throughout the world. Also is provided a brief history of the monument and what archaeologists believe was the main purpose of it. Great book - highly recommend it to anyone
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is in every way a splendid book. The photographs are superb, and present a well-chosen selection of the world's great archeological sites. The one-column authoritative descriptions are a bonus. Don't ignore the historical introduction or the hilarious jottings from the photographer, Georg Gerster. It all brings back so many memories.
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