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The J S Bone Collection

Jim Bone was a founder member of NOSAS in 1998, a keen archaeologist, an agricultural adviser, a pilot and a calm, quiet man. Bringing all those together produced a unique collection of aerial photographs of the North of Scotland that he took spanning 55 years. 

Just before his death in June 2018 he gifted his entire archive collection of photographs to NOSAS. These were in the form of slides, prints, negatives and the digital images on his computer. Some of the prints were in albums, some of the negatives had corresponding prints, many of the digital images were duplicated in a complicated folder structure on his computer. Sorting this mass of material into some order was undertaken by Jonathan Wordsworth and Roland Spencer-Jones of NOSAS. 

Once the images were sorted, duplicate copies eliminated, prints temporarily removed from albums and a parallel set of images in the care of Highland Council similarly assimilated, the next stage was to provide a digital copy of each image. The scanning involved was taken on by Canmore in Historic Environment Scotland. The scanned images (for the negatives, slides and prints) were returned to NOSAS in Spring 2020. 

A team of NOSAS volunteers started working through each image, providing a data set for each one on a spreadsheet. This information included:

  • a grid reference for the centre of each image
  • Canmore and Highland Council HER site references for any known archaeology visible in the image
  • a title
  • a text description providing further information about what the image showed.

The final images were analysed in March 2021, enabling one composite searchable spreadsheet for the total of 6149 images, which can be found on this spreadsheet.

Jim described his love of flying, planes and aerial photography in a blog he wrote just before he died. Another blog by Jonathan Wordsworth describes the challenge of interpreting what the images show. Lastly, a fuller biography of Jim Bone and a description of the project can be found here

Jim was always open with his images, willingly giving them to anyone who expressed an interest or needed an image of a specific site. In a similar vein, we in NOSAS who have inherited these images want them to be used and useful. If you would like a decent copy of one of these images, please contact Roland Spencer-Jones 

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