Existing vertical mapping aerial photographs are very useful for this type of regional analysis. They represent differene dates and times of year, cover a very large area, and can be analyzed using stereoscopes to both magnify and also to show the area in three dimensions so that subtle changes in topography are seen. Vertical aerial mapping photos in France are available from the IGN (Institute Geographique National), and there are various dates available. We have purchased several sets of these for analysis.
In seeking the oldest aerial photo coverage of the region, we acquired a complete set of U.S. Army Air Corps aerial reconnaissance photos of the region dating from August/September 1944. These were acquired from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency using a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA). These photos were acquired at the time of the Allied push into the region near the end of the war. Over 200, 9 by 9 inch, black and white, vertical aerial photos of a scale of approximately 1:40,000 were acquired and have been manually and digitally analyzed to search for archaeological sites, roads, etc. These wartime photos do have numerous clouds, but have proven to be extremely useful. A variety of features have been located and mapped, including road segments, hillfort ramparts, and individual sites. All features located were recorded on paper forms and marked on a 1:100,000 map collage. Field work has been undertaken using GPS and these aerial photos to locate and document features identified on the photographs. This work is continuing.
1944 Army Air Corps recon photo-old road
1944 Army Air Corps recon photo-hilltop rampart
1944 aerial photo of Mt. Dardon hillfort with ramparts visible
Enlargement of Dardon with ramparts
1983 1:25,000 topo map of Mt. Dardon (c IGN)
Road segment located near Toulon. Look here for more information.