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Papers of James Sloan Bone, landscape historian, Inverness, Highland, Scotland

551 212

Description Papers of James Sloan Bone, landscape historian, Inverness, Highland, Scotland

Date 1961 to 2017

Collection Papers of James Sloan Bone, landscape historian, Inverness, Highland, Scotland

Catalogue Number 551 212

Category All Other

Archive History Shortly before his death in May 2018, J S Bone gifted both his photo archive and the copyright to it to the North of Scotland Archaeological Society (NOSAS) of which he had been a founder member 20 years previously. The archive consisted of digital images, slides, negatives, and prints. On JS Bone’s home computer there were approximately 34,000 digital images, in mixed folders, dating from 2006, when he first acquired a digital camera, to 2017. There were also numerous boxes of slides, envelopes and albums of prints, and other envelopes of negatives, most of which preceded the digital images in time. Over the next nine months two key personnel in NOSAS worked through this material to sort, reduce, and record it. Many of the digital images were duplicated, often multiple times, in different folders on JS Bone’s computer. There were also many family and personal images in these folders that were discarded, as well as those images that turned out not to be aerial photos. The original 34,000 images were thereby reduced to 2,989 unique aerial photographic digital images, allocated to dates, presumably flight paths. The slides, prints and negatives were sorted according to date, where known, and location (ie which photo album, numbered slide box, etc they were in). Where there was obvious correlation of negative and print, the negative was saved and the corresponding print kept separate, thereby ensuring that primary images were prioritised over secondary images (prints). This sorting resulted in 675 slides, 882 prints without corresponding negatives, and 1085 negative images. Lastly, Highland Council had 624 slides that JS Bone had taken, resulting from commissioned flights that he had undertaken between 1998 and 2002. The ownership and copyright of these slides remains with Highland Council, although they were sorted and catalogued by NOSAS. From late 1999 to February 2021, a small team of NOSAS personnel systematically worked through these images (in excess of 6,000), to geo-reference them, identify any known archaeology seen on the images, and then place the images in a geographical and historical context. This information was recorded on spreadsheets which were then shared with Historic Environment Scotland and Highland Council. Copies of the digital images were gifted to Historic Environment Scotland. The physical slides, negatives and prints were scanned by Historic Environment Scotland, with the original photographic images being returned to NOSAS. Historic Environment Scotland then gifted a set of the scanned images to NOSAS.

System of Arrangement The collection comprises two principal components: firstly, photographic prints gifted directly by JS Bone to RCAHMS, which are arranged by year, and secondly, copies of material lent or donated by NOSAS. The latter comprises photographic prints, arranged by year, slides, arranged by year, negatives, arranged by sortie, and digital photographs, arranged by sortie.

Related Material JS Bone also gifted a digital copy of his flight book to NOSAS. The original paper flight book was retained by his family. The digital flight book is in the form of 71 images which are photographs taken by a NOSAS member of each double-page in the book. The first recorded flight in this book is 4th March 1984, the last 15th October 2014. However, as he is known to have flown and taken aerial photographs at least five times since October 2014, the assumption is that he was then a passenger. These digital images and corresponding spreadsheet form a record of the last 30 years of his flying career.

Administrative History James S Bone (1935-2018). Brought up in Argyll, JS Bone was a lecturer in agriculture by profession. He had three additional passions, though – flying, photography and archaeology - that coalesced to produce a unique collection of aerial photographs from the north of Scotland. Shortly before he died he wrote an account of his relationship with flying and archaeology in a blog that is recorded on the NOSAS blogsite: and included as a pdf in this archive. JS Bone’s first flight was age fifteen, as a passenger in an aged Anson. He used the opportunities that his school and then university (Glasgow, GUAS) gave him to experience more flying before he learned to fly himself with the RAF Volunteer Reserve during 1953-7. The next 15 years saw him move around the UK on various jobs, before he came back up to Scotland in the late 1970’s. He records a particularly poignant meeting in 1972 with Barri Jones, Professor of Archaeology at Manchester, who was interested in finding Roman sites in southern Britain from the air. Thus was born his interest in archaeology as he flew several flights over Herefordshire for Professor Jones as well as the Herefordshire County Archaeologist. During the late 1980’s there were regular flights over both Moray and Inverness-shire driven both by the Moray Aerial Survey Project and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS). The archaeologists taking the photographs needed used local pilots to fly them around, and Jim was keen to oblige. His interest in archaeology grew, such that when Aberdeen University started a distance learning programme in Field Archaeology in 1998, Jim signed up. That class of 1998 contained many interested people who wanted to continue their learning and field experience. They formed the North of Scotland Archaeological Society in 1998 as a vehicle for their interest. Apart from being a founder member of NOSAS, Jim continued to support the organisation, serving on its committee for several years. He was generous with his photos, giving copies freely to anyone who was writing a paper, or giving a talk, or just out interested in a site. It therefore seems fitting that these images are now being made available online to everyone with an interest. May they prove useful as a series of historical snapshots revealing many wonderful sites not seen from the air before and charting change in towns and villages. After a protracted illness Jim Bone died in June 2018, aged 83. Description written by Roland Spencer Jones, 20 January 2021. Edited I Fraser (HES), 7 April 2021.

Accruals No accruals are anticipated.


Collection Hierarchy - Collection Level

Collection Level (551 212) Papers of James Sloan Bone, landscape historian, Inverness, Highland, Scotland

Preview Category Catalogue Number Title Date Level
All Other 551 212/1 Aerial photographs: 1988 - 2000 1988 Group Level
All Other 551 212/2 Aerial photographs lent by North of Scotland Archaeological Society (NOSAS) for copying. 1988 Group Level
Manuscripts MS 713/01 This manuscript contains information regarding the work of sponsored flier, James S. Bone, consisting of- -Correspondence with James Bone -Catalogue of aerial photography from 25 August 1998. Item Level

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