Alumni Festival 2019 - Britain from the air: 1945-2000

Alumni Festival 2019 - Britain from the air: 1945-2000

Britain From The Air - Professor Tom Spencer, Professor Martin Millett, Huw Jones by UoC Alumni Festival

Discover the University’s remarkable Collection of Aerial Photography, recording lost archaeological sites and industrial and post-industrial landscapes of Britain.

Cambridge University’s Collection of Aerial Photography (CUCAP) represents a unique, long and proud tradition of aerial survey in the British Isles and Europe from 1943 to 2009, started by the pioneering Roman archaeologist JK St Joseph. The imagery is remarkable, recording lost archaeological sites and industrial and post-industrial landscapes of Britain.

Slides for this lecture can be found here.


Professor Tom Spencer is Professor of Coastal Dynamics, Director of the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit and Director of Research, Department of Geography. He is author (with HA Viles) of: Coastal Problems - Geomorphology, Ecology and Society at the Coast; (with O Slaymaker) Physical Geography and Global Environmental Change; and (with CA Fletcher) Flooding and Environmental Challenges for Venice and its Lagoon. In 2004 he was awarded the Royal Geographical Society’s Murchison Award ‘in recognition of a body of publications on coastal geomorphology’. Inspired by the wonderful images of environmental change - both natural and human-made - in the University’s Collection of Aerial Photography, he has been working over the last 10 years to champion the long-term survival of the Collection. Alumni information: Magdalene 1973

Professor Martin Millett FBA is the Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College and a Fellow of the British Academy. His research focuses on the social and economic archaeology of the Roman world and the application of survey methods in archaeology, and has involved fieldwork in the UK, Spain, Portugal and Italy. He has been a user of aerial photographic data for many years, and has been keen to help develop a sustainable system of access to the Cambridge collection of images which for a fantastic research resource. Alumni information: Fellow of Fitzwilliam College

Huw Jones is Head of the Digital Library Unit and Digital Humanities Coordinator at Cambridge University Library, working with researchers, curators, and technical staff to make special collections accessible online. Cambridge Digital Library is our main platform for the digital humanities, freely accessible to anyone with an internet connection. It contains more than 35,000 items, ranging from the papers of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, to manuscript and photograph collections representing the global scope of the Cambridge's physical collections.

Dr Robert Bewley was educated at Manchester University before coming to Cambridge to complete an MPhil and PhD in archaeology. He is Director of the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa project at the University of Oxford and Honorary Visiting Professor at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. He has been the Co-Director of the Aerial Archaeology in Jordan project since 1998, and has recently set up the Aerial Archaeology in Oman project.

He has held several positions at English Heritage (now Historic England), including Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Air Survey Officer in the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, and Head of Aerial Survey and Head of Survey. He was Regional Director for the South-West (2004–07), and Director of Operations for the Heritage Lottery Fund until 2014.

Dr Bewley is a Trustee of the Mary Rose Museum, the International Association for the Study of Arabia and the Anglo-Jordanian Society. He has been a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries since 1984. The author of six books, he has worked in Britain, Europe and the Middle East and North Africa on aerial and field surveys, excavations and aerial archaeology training workshops. Alumni information: St John's 1979 and Girton 1984