Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz al Saud

Jordan's airborne monuments men discover, protect sites

The helicopter door opens and Robert Bewley leans out hundreds of feet above the Hisban Roman ruins outside Amman, Jordan. Feet on the struts, the Oxford University archaeologist begins snapping photos as the chopper circles the ancient stones.

Sheep flock far below amid marble columns from 1,700 years ago. After a few minutes, Bewley squawks directions into a radio headset, and the helicopter banks towards another site sitting on a cliff above a major highway.

"To discover sites if we were just out on the ground would be really difficult," Bewley said. "In an hour's flying we can record between 10-20 sites and once they're recorded through digital...