RECORD / MZ SITEWIDE / Video and Film Clips / VC20
Laerke Recht & Rick Hauser, 2014-
Updated July 2014

Film clip 20
Aerial photography at Urkesh

Date ?
Editor Rick Hauser
Format .MP4
File size 15.3 MB
Duration 2.45 minutes


Aerial Photography at Urkesh

This complex little sequence documents how the excavation team at Urkesh uses a simple parafoil and an abundance of ingenuity to shoot images from high above the site. These photographic images yield two-dimensional plans of the structures and contextual information about layout.

The sequence is the first of two about kite photography. Here we see the intricate dance of staff members as they manoeuvre the kite into position above a precise place on the mound. It requires cooperation and coordination of a great many people to pull it off.

Not to say, a sense of humor.

Part II will explain how the camera is triggered aloft from the ground.


This film is excerpted from "Unwrapping Urkesh", a film commissioned by Radiotelevisione svizerra. Although the production was released in 1998, the film documents themselves date from the earliest days of the excavation, when there was no city, scarcely a sign that one might exist. In 1983, when staff members arrived at the mound, there was nothing - an "empty field", as Barbara Pritzkat, the surveyor, puts it.

It is somewhat remarkable as such films go, for there is no VO (voiceover) narration - staff members speak for themselves, directly to the viewer.

Featuring               Giorgio Buccellati
              Mary-Louise Eagleton
              Federico Buccellati
              Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati
              MZ staff

Links METHODOLOGY > TECHNIQUES > photography > kite