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The University of Southampton

New exhibition showcases pioneering Southampton archaeologist

Published: 16 April 2008

The work of Southampton-based archaeologist O.G.S. Crawford, who pioneered the use of aerial photography for archaeologists, is the subject of a new exhibition at the John Hansard Gallery at the University of Southampton from 22 April to 14 June.

Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford (1886 – 1957) was a field archaeologist who pioneered aerial photography following his experiences in aerial reconnaissance in the First World War. He was the first Archaeology Officer at the Ordnance Survey in Southampton, and lived for most of his life in Nursling, where he is buried. He was an influential and visionary figure in the history of archaeology in this country.

This exhibition, ranging from images of archaeological sites, anti-Nazi graffiti in Berlin between the wars, and advertising hoardings, to images of suburban developments in Southampton, is based on Crawford’s extraordinary archive of photographs, mostly taken by himself and never before exhibited publicly.

The photographic archive he created and which provides the basis for the exhibition is held at the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford University.

Stephen Foster, Director of the John Hansard Gallery, comments:

“Crawford's influence on British landscape photography has been enormous, and we hope that this fascinating exhibition will demonstrate his importance to contemporary art. Since the 1960s the process of collecting and archiving images and objects has underpinned the approach of many artists, to which Crawford's photographic archive bears a striking relationship.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, a public lecture on ‘Art and Archaeology’ by Lord Colin Renfrew, one of the world's pre-eminent archaeologists, is being held at 5 - 6pm on Tuesday 22 April in the University of Southampton’s Annex Lecture Theatre. Following the lecture, people can walk to the Gallery to attend the opening and private view of the exhibition.

The lecture and private view are free to attend, but places must be booked by contacting Eloise Rose on 023 8059 8405 or email

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