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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The North-South Colonnaded Street with, on the left, the sixth-century A.D. stairway toward the Lower Agora and, on the right, the part of the street excavated this summer
The last picture of the crash site (the shrine of the Divine Hadrian and of Antoninus Pius)

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Marc Waelkens

Aerial Photography: August 7-11, 2005

As in previous years, this week we made some attempts to document the site of Sagalassos from the air. Aerial photography by kite is far from being new. The first aerial photograph by kite was taken more than a century ago, in 1888. Although the equipment used nowadays has evolved greatly, the principle remains the same. The equipment we use at Sagalassos consists of a Delta type of kite, with a digital camera in a metal frame attached to the Kevlar rope. By means of a remote control, one can take pictures from the ground. As favorable winds generally occur early in the morning, the kite operators have to leave to the site as early as 6:30 a.m. A first attempt last Wednesday yielded only few good aerial pictures. Moreover, while getting the kite back to earth, the Kevlar rope suddenly went off its cylinder. One of our workmen, Seref Bastug, tried to stop it by putting his right foot on it. Fortunately for him, the rope cut right through his shoe obliquely, stopping a few millimeters before it reached his flesh. A second attempt on Thursday in perfect wind conditions was more successful. Our aerial photography team (including Tijl Vereenooghe, Johan Claeys, Roel Bylemans, and experienced kite-flyer Ahmet Satilmis) managed to take good aerial pictures at the Domestic Area, the Roman Baths, the Lower Agora, the North South Colonnaded Street, and finally at the Sanctuary of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius. However, just as we were to finish our work, disaster struck. While we were trying to get the kite back to earth, the rod connecting the rope with the camera cradle suddenly broke (metal fatigue?). The frame and camera crashed in the middle of the Shrine of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, as if both divine emperors did not appreciate modern intruders. Both frame and camera were damaged to such an extent that any further kiting is impossible this summer.

[image]Left, our kite with the camera below it (indicated by the white arrow) minutes before its final crash. Right, poor Seref's torn and cut shoe after the first attempt to fly the kite. [image]
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