Accepted Paper:

Conservation and camouflage of the White Horse of Kilburn, North Yorkshire  


Tara-Jane Sutcliffe (Archaeological Research Services Ltd)

Paper short abstract:

Historic Aerial Photography has the potential to access hidden, transient and destroyed aspects of the past. One oblique photograph of the White Horse of Kilburn, taken in August 1940, reveals a captivating story of conservation and camouflage of this prominent landmark in the North York Moors.

Paper long abstract:

Created as a folly in 1857 by a local businessman to emulate a prehistoric hill figure, the White Horse of Kilburn is cut into the south face of an Iron Age promontory fort at Roulston Scar. Over time the monument has been ravaged by storms, neglected, and defaced by protestors; camouflaged in order to impede enemy navigation during the Second World War; and repeatedly repaired. As a result the form has gradually modified from a white horse into a grey mare. The site is a case in point for conservation and management of the historic environment, demonstrating the value of historic aerial photography. For the air photo interpreter a picture is certainly worth a thousand words!

Panel S39
EXHIBITION - A picture is worth a thousand words: images of archaeological practice, past and present