Hayk Hakobyan is a graduate of Yerevan State University who was awarded his Ph.D. in History at the Institute of Archaeology, Academy of Sciences, Moscow, in 1986. His theme ‘Armenia and Rome: economic and cultural relations (1st BC - 4th AD)’ indicates a very small section of his knowledge and interests. Hayk is a kind of reference database not only for archaeology, but also for cultural theory, ethnography and history. This helps him to have impressive view of the development of ancient civilizations. He was the Scientific Secretary of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia in 1995-2001 and is currently Professor of Archaeology at Yerevan State University, and the Acharyan University in Yerevan. Hayk is a calm, placid and sober-minded person - a feature that helps to balance the genetic impulsiveness of the rest of the Armenian participants on the project.
Rog Palmer first visited Armenia in October 2000 after answering Hayk Hakobyan’s plea for help to establish aerial survey there. His reply, “Please can I come and see?” was the first step in what has become a productive collaboration between Armenian and British archaeologists. Rog discovered his interest in archaeology while studying engineering in the 1960s. A move to London (with hopes of becoming a jazz musician) led to employment in the newly created Air Photo Unit in the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. In the five years Rog worked there he was involved in developing methods for transforming and mapping air photos. This interest was later pursued at Cambridge where he took a degree in archaeology and continued as a research student. October 2002 is Rog’s fourth visit to Armenia and he is delighted to have the chance to be involved in the pioneering of archaeological air survey so soon after the initial contact was made. Away from Armenia, Rog now runs his own business, Air Photo Services, in Cambridge to provide maps of archaeological features interpreted from air photos. He is a member of the AARG Committee and editor of the group’s newsletter. It was the AARG home page that enabled Hayk Hakobyan to make the contacts that led eventually to Wings over Armenia. In his spare time Rog makes (and drinks) his own beer and photographs local dancers.
Chris Musson, on his first visit to Armenia in October 2002, comes from Wales, the mountainous country west of England that now enjoys a degree of self-government within the United Kingdom. Originally an architect and then a rescue archaeologist, he turned to aerial archaeology in 1986 as the first Investigator in Aerial Photography at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. By then Chris had for many years been taking air photographs along the borderland between Wales and England. A former chairman of AARG, Chris officially retired in 1997. He says, however, that he has become busier than ever, with golf administration, archaeological politics and the promotion of aerial archaeology in Britain, on mainland Europe (Hungary, Lithuania and Italy) and now in Armenia. He also operates a small photo-processing laboratory as Aber Photo Services Ltd.
Tigran Hovhannisyan is another graduate of archaeology from Yerevan State University. Tigran has worked with the Department of Classical Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology and even after changing his job has not lost his connection with the excavations that he adores. His military skills lend persistence and optimism (sometimes groundless but constructive) to the endeavours in Armenia initially through the Armenian Federation of UNESCO Clubs and Associations (AFUCA) and now with Wings over Armenia. He is a jazz fan and adherent of mountain trekking.
Vardan Hovhannisyan is director of Bars Media documentary film studio in Yerevan and has wide experience of filming work with such partners as CBS News, Christian Science Monitor Television, World Television News, ARD (Germany) and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. More importantly, he has been a skydiver since 1984 and a light-aircraft pilot since 1986. He uses any opportunity to get into the air. Vardan is a kind of ‘wings’ of the project and his energy helps much in implementing the research programme.
Lilit Vanyan recently graduated from the Yerevan State University with an MA in programming. Lilit performs the important tasks of mapping and programming.
She’s also OK with a piano keyboard and paintbrush.
Karen Martirosyan is one of the most experienced parawing pilots in Armenia and the paramotor pilot of the project. Modest and smiling, Karen is a professional skydiving instructor (over 1200 jumps) and a person one can definitely rely on.
His hobbies are mountain climbing and driving fast cars (currently drives an Alpha Romeo).
Antje Gillich (who was Antje Faustmann before getting married) is a German archaeologist who kept in contact with aerial photography when she was studying archaeology and medieval history in Berlin.
Because she never lost contact with Rog Palmer and is a sportive woman (in her spare time she is enjoying windsurfing and hiking) he remembered her and asked her to participate in the aerial archaeological project in Armenia. In April 2003 she came with him to Armenia to fly and take aerial photos and is now part of the international team.
At present she lives in Karlsruhe. She is working at the State office of archaeology but is a bit far from aerial archaeology at the moment. Armenia is deep in her heart, and she says that one day she will definitely come back.
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